Common Knowledge: The Bus

Gabriela Scottaline, Contributing Writer

The bus is one of LBCC’s many valuable resources. I’ve come to enjoy its relaxing atmosphere during my 20 minute commute. However, there are a few rules of etiquette of which all bus passengers should be aware – just to keep from disturbing the peace.

First of all you do not, under any circumstances offer other people food on the bus. It’s a questionable practice. Granted, the food I was offered was only a humble stick of gum, but the guy who offered it was sweaty, and the gum package was smashed. I didn’t even see where he got it from. Was it his back pocket? No thank you!

But, there are other less overt ways to disturb the bus peace; it doesn’t have to be direct contact with another person. Often the quiet peace of the bus is disrupted by someone talking on the phone. For example, during a bus ride home a few days ago I could hear, through my headphones, another student talking on his phone. From the time we left LBCC until we reached his stop in Corvallis, he was telling his unfortunate listener everything from the (oddly specific) attributes of each of his instructors, to what he was feeling upon each encounter.

Lesson: You can talk about whatever you want on the phone, but limit the more personal conversations for a less public time and place.

Also, the bus is not the latest networking outlet. It is a transportation method. Remember that some people are, more or less, forced to take it. The passengers are in close quarters, and they are usually counting the minutes until the next stop.  I would even say that most of them are not up for an engaging conversation.  I know I rarely am.

But, maybe some people would enjoy talking.  How do you know? There are signs that can be easily recognized upon entering the bus. Headphones, opened books, closed eyes – all of these things are clues, meaning:  Do not disturb. They are weary from long lectures, or working with other students, and want to be left alone.

On the bus I’ve been asked my phone number, to hang out, to go to a frat house and of course if I wanted gum. All of which I politely declined, due to the awkwardness of the situation. It’s okay to want to meet new people, or even casually compliment them or state something in passing, but it’s not okay to overdo it or impose yourself into their personal space.

LBCC campus is a great place to meet people.  The bus is just a convenient way to get there. So, next time you’re on the bus (sitting so close to me that you can read my book) and you want to be friendly – just smile.  I will smile back, and make a mental note that you are a polite and conscientious bus rider…not someone to be ignored.

What do you think?