The People on the Bus

By Alyssa Huff

A bus trip a couple of weekends ago transported me back to 6th grade when I had just moved to a new school (read: only had one friend) and had plenty of time to observe the dynamics of the bus.  Specifically, I learned how to stereotype kids based on how they rode.  Fortunately,  in Guatemala you too can make snap judgments about total strangers that you can share with your friends—just note some slight modifications for the adult world and, being the camionetas, a lot less space.

Here are the three most common characters that I’ve found in my travels:

Much like Daniel , the kid who always fell asleep within five minutes of the class trip beginning you have your SLEEPERS. Inevitably the heaviest rider will fall asleep—and find a home on your shoulder for the rest of the veering ride.  To ward off the sleeper make sure to wear your spiked shoulder pads or razor-sharp hoop earrings.

Invariably also aboard is the MUSICALLY INCLINED—as in the chick that was constantly singing along to the song you least wanted to hear. In 6th grade it was Britney’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. In 2010 it is still Britney’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, however, the singer is now thirty-plus years old, sporting a questionable moustache and leering about with a lazy eye.  Fortunately the ubiquitous beeping song (really, what’s the point of looking up the name on Google? I’d rather avoid giving unnecessary hits to whoever composed this pager gone berzerk) only has the musically inclined “singing along” on the one-two-three-four part.

Finally, there is the NUDGER, the person who slowly nudges you more and more so that you have less and less space. Typically the nudger will start out in a seemingly innocent fashion: adjusting after a bump or curve on the road. As the knee inches outward you find yourself asking the question “Is this a nudger?” Usually, by the time you answer the question it is already too late. The nudger has taken the last inch between you and the wall and you are forced to stick your torso out the window for personal space.

How to handle this situation? If you time it right you can get a nudger to bump a musically inclined person.  If the leer happens just at the right time then nudger and musician will fight, knocking over the sleeper and doubling your leg room.  Best of luck.

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