Even if I hadn’t met my own husband on a bus, I would still be a believer in transit romance. Yes, I know all about the awkward, irritating, and otherwise unpleasant interactions with folks you’d rather not get acquainted with (believe me, I could write a book). I also know that buses and trains are filled with interesting people–Hello, Octavia Butler, August Wilson, Jacob Lawrence, Toni Morrison, Vincent Kartheiser, MC Geologic!–and offer plenty of opportunities to strike up a conversation. Just don’t ask this guy for tips.
But I digress.
As Valentine’s Day approaches (not my favorite holiday, but whatever), per usual, bus luh is getting plenty of publicity. The NYC Transit Museum is hosting its Missed Connections party on the big day. In Philadelphia, there’s an actual contest, with prizes for the best tale of transit romance. And last week, Eric Jaffe waxed poetic about love in a subway car (thanks, Jessica!). How could a committed transit type not revel?
The thing is, highly publicized “boy meets girl” (and “boy meets boy”) stories are nice, but they’re not the reality for most riders. And (if I may keep it real for a moment) sometimes, they’re a bit gag inducing. What I find most romantic about buses (no disrespect to Smooth Jazz) is the possibility of meaningful connections with strangers–not the kind that lead to a subway platform proposal or a bus-themed wedding, but the kind that leave you energized, enriched, and educated. The kind that make a difference in your day.
So here’s hoping that this month of love brings some real romance to the ride: more Miss Ida and less Mr. I Do (not that there’s anything wrong with that). ‘Cause the relationship this rider is working on is decades deep and in need of a little TLC.