On Tuesdays, I take the 4:15 pm bus home. I love this bus. It is filled to capacity, in American standards. It reminds me of Roma: damp bodies smashed together, semi-chaotic. “Ma’am I’m sorry you can’t ride this bus, it’s too full, nobody behind the line.”
“It’s OK! They can squish together,” I tell him.
My body is trained now: I know how to bend my knees, limp my body, shift my weight into the turns, bumps, accelerations, and brakes, and how to hold the bars properly. Look like I’m minding my own business, when in fact, I’m attempting to eavesdrop on as much as possible. In Roma, less seats, more people. It’s fun to watch how uncomfortable Americans are in crammed buses. (And really, it’s not that cramped). And even more fun, yet appalling, to notice how many American men my age do not give up their seat. In fact, I will give up my seat to a man with crutches before someone else does. In Italia, we ride together; in America, we ride separately in the same bus.
In Italia, the bus is an adventure: too many people, too many buses it becomes impossible to know which one to take, and vague stops. Should I buy a ticket for the bus or not? They can’t possibly check when there are 80 people on a bus. But if I get caught, it’s 35 euro. Everything is a decision in Italy; every decision carries various factors; it’s all worth pondering. I’ll get to where I need to be, make a friend or two while waiting for the bus or conversating on the bus, and have fun all at the same time. In Italia, we ride together; in America, we ride separately in the same bus.