Fear and Loathing on the Bus!

The bus driver glances at me (he’s lighting up a cigarette) as I approach the 8:35 AM bus to Albany, and he says, “You’re on the wrong bus”, in a declarative tone. I replied quizzically, “Albany?”, handing him the tickets. “Oh”, he says, “thought you were going to New York (it’s how people upstate refer to NYC- minus the city).

I must look like I should be going to NYC, not Albany!
After all, business people upstate take the bus to NYC from New Paltz, not to Albany.
In Albany, business people take the Northway Express between the two cities; this bus is very posh, and the people are nicely dressed. But between Albany and Schenectady, everyone takes the BusPlus, an express line with limited stops, connecting these two cities along the old carriage road, now a major commercial strip with mini-malls, dealerships and fast food restaurants (all the attributes of the car culture).
Three different buses, three different socioeconomic class cultures and experiences.
It’s all a matter of perception- and fear, but for many, it’s everyday life!

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