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Driving the Bus

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I used to have a co-worker who, on the odd day, would come in to the classroom and state that he was “riding the hate bus.”  That usually meant a pretty bad day for his students but a decent one for us, as he had a tendency to get sarcastic when provoked.  The greatest danger on a “riding the hate bus day” was the possibility that someone would be embarrassed by laughing so hard that half chewed salad or yogurt would cause a coughing fit.  Some days, however, he’d announce that he was “driving” the hate bus, which meant it was a pretty good idea to leave him alone. 


I’ve been in one seat or another on that bus for, oh, a good two months now – maybe more.  It’s not a particularly efficient or fun mode of transportation.  It’s kind of like being stuck in a Twilight Zone episode, only instead of the man in the bad anthropomorphic suit on the wing of the plane, it’s kind of like he’s standing with his hand blocking the little machine that takes bills, and I don’t have exact change.  It has a certain nightmarish quality to it that’s hard to describe.  At the risk of pop culture overload, I told a lot of people that I felt like Gene Hackman’s character in The Birdcage when he said, “I feel like I’m insane.”  Not going insane – looking around and actually wondering if I was.  When you’re consumed with obsessing over what’s wrong, it’s almost impossible to see what is right, even if there is a lot of it. 


How did I end up there?  Some of it came from my students this last term, and the overwhelming sense of entitlement they radiated; some I’ll give to what is increasingly amounting to the prolonged Democratic presidential primaries that’s exposed some major problems in this country of which I had either been willfully or blissfully unaware; some I’ll blame on the physiological (hey, it’s biology, that’s still what I do;) some of it’s just my personality (I’m a dweller.)  All of these have contributed to my perception that an increasing number of Americans just don’t give a damn about anything but themselves. 


Honesty is a good thing, though, and a first step to healing.  So, like a Band-Aid, it comes off.   I’m tired of riding this bus – I’d rather walk.

Written by Jen Szymanski

April 29, 2008 at 2:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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One Response

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  1. I still believe you’ll remain Hopeful. I know there’s a lot wrong with the world, and that people can be very smug, entitled, and self-absorbed, but there are still good people out there fighting the good fight; and fighting the battles that no one thinks can even be won!

    Just keep this with you: the supreme miracle of humankind is that despite all the hate, prejudice and general negativity in the world, people have the ability to forgive, to heal, to love and to help. Always.

    If we don’t believe that somewhere deep down there is good in all people, none of us would be able to live in this world. So it’s okay to ride the hate bus every once in a while. I know you’re walking most of the time 🙂


    April 29, 2008 at 3:16 pm

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