Nashville’s buses, like the buses of most areas that have public transportation, are a pastiche of old and new, of different types and styles, including some hybrid buses, and that’s not a gratuitous use of the word “pastiche”. A gratuitous, or possibly just wildly incorrect use would be to say I love eating pastiches and remember that when I was a kid pastiches were always dyed red, but that’s another story.
Anyway the other day I got on a bus that was unusually nice, or that must have been nice when it first rolled off the line. It’s hard to tell when that was since city buses are rode hard and put up wet so they quickly wear down. The first thing I noticed were the seats which were not the usual plastic bucket type with only a thin coating of fabric but comfortable, tall, nicely designed seats covered with a thin coating of fabric. Over each seat was an individual light and air blower of the sort you find on airplanes and also Greyhound buses which made me think this bus was a stripped down airplane although a discontinued Greyhound bus and I was glad the Nashville MTA decided to adopt a Greyhound.
The windows also didn’t open but had a red lever that said “For emergencies only” which I’ve never seen on an airplane but have seen on Greyhound buses, and I remember a Greyhound bus driver once instructing passengers not to open the windows except in the case of an emergency, adding, “The last time someone opened one of the windows when he wasn’t supposed to he became the next emergency.”
The individual lights also seemed like a good idea. I usually only ride the bus in the dark in the winter when the days are shorter and I’ve noticed that the interior of the bus is usually brightly lit which seems like a bad idea because the glare reflects off the front window making it difficult for the driver to see.
By the time we got to my stop the bus was empty and its seedy luxury reminded me of how sometimes when it’s just me and the driver I like to pretend I’m riding in an extremely large but dilapidated private limo and the driver is new so he doesn’t really know where he’s going so I ask him to let me off on a major road close to my home rather than winding through the back ways, all part of the pastiche of thoughts that go through my head while riding the bus.