Character Sketches: The passengers of Bus 94B

photo by publicenergy

For the entirety of September, I was sans car and spent an hour every day bussing it to St. Paul and back. And despite my sulking, it was been an excellent opportunity to engage in minor anthropological studies. A look at my favorite bus characters …
  • The Tiny Italian. His bus-riding paraphernalia includes: a tiny water bottle, a walker, and a hugely overloaded backpack. His preternaturally black hair in complimented by a rosary tattooed around his right wrist and a bowling shirt with gold embroidery, boasting the name “Tony.”
  • The Petite Sophisticate. She possesses The World’s Greatest Bob and somehow manages to look pulled together standing at the bus stop everyday at 6:45 a.m. Despite being at least 55, her knowledge of Ipod navigation far exceeds mine.
  • The Whisper Singer. The Whisper Singer totes around a Discman and a leather cd-case that houses at least 25 cds at any given time. Judging by the songs he’s whispered in my vicinity, I’d judge his musical taste falls under the heading of ‘hair metal.’ There is something to be said for having ‘November Rain’ being whispered in your ear after a long day at the office.
  • The Sass. The Sass apparently reserves all of her phone conversations for the bus. I personally enjoy this, as eavesdropping is probably my third favorite pastime. Thus far I’ve discovered that 1) her parenting M.O. is “as much work as I have to do and no more, mmm’kay?” 2) Her romantic partner is both “fiiine” and “good at what he do” 3) Her job is making her “lose her damn mind.”
  • The Kenyan Lawyer. I’m not sure that he is actually either Kenyan or a lawyer, but he look delicious enough to be both. Yummmm.

Who are your favorite public transportation characters?


The Dutchess of Kickball

My public transportation is limited to the train from Poughkeepsie to NYC a few times a year. It is an extremely scenic ride and always has the mother and father, bringing their kids down to the city for one of the first times and pointing out every single thing along the ride. It makes me rather nostalgic and every once in a while they point out something I’ve never noticed.


My favorite all-time bus riding companion (after 6 years on the buses)was a man who repeatedly offered to be my pimp. Once he tried to woo me by inviting me over to watch Conan O’Brien. Then one day he swore he’d seen me at a slutty street corner the night before. He also told me that if I was his ho I would never have to worry about having a baby because he wouldn’t give me one, that I could have my own bank account to keep my money in, and that I would make enough money to put myself through school. Oh! And he didn’t want me to do crack, unless I really really wanted to, because that would take up all my school money.

He was a nutcase. One time a complete stranger got in a fight with him, because the sweet stranger was trying to protect me from the crazy pimp wannabe. I just got off the bus at the next stop and walked the rest of the way to school.

But to be perfectly honest, I kind of missed him once he gave up on me and started working on some other girl who took our bus.


hehe, they all sound adorable 🙂 i don’t use public transport much because where i live it’s pretty shit and usually not on time, but you’re making me want to use it more.

Sarah Von Bargen

Gem, I wish I liked it more! When The Mister and I decided that we’d try to be car-free for a month I totally broke down in tears!

Because I’m a whiny baby and a wiener.


OMG, I think I know your Kenyan Lawyer. I used to sit next to him when I got on the bus late and had to sit in the sideways-seats in the front of the bus.

I’d say my favorite bus people are either the overzealous Mormon college student in Seattle over summer break, or the grizzled old bike man with PERFECT PEARLY WHITE TEETH who gives a creepy smile to everyone who boards. Also, always talks about gas prices.


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