By Maddy Santos
In an era of hightened language and an ever-expanding lexicon of socio-political terminology, it has become increasingly difficult to articulate one’s thoughts and aptly discuss problematic discourses in our society. One of the most pressing issues of disccusion, however, is the way we talk about buses.
When I talk to friends or co-workers about a new bus I saw earlier in the day, oft times it’s difficult for them to understand where exactly I’m coming from. If I’m talking about a school bus as opposed to a commercial Prevost, then that only complicates things. That is why we need a new way to talk about buses.
What I propose is this: when someone approaches you with that unmistakeable look on their face that reads I’m in dire need to discuss buses and their different sizes and colors with the next person I see what you should do is make a mental list of all the things you know about buses, putting the most important and interesting bus facts at the top of that list.
For instance, I know that school buses are most usually yellow, but prison buses are typically white. This is the first thing I preface during any conversation about buses or education/prison reform. Before my red-faced friend can even begin to rant about buses, I start with this tidbit, and instantly their anxieties are quelled.
But what if you’re with a group of people who just can’t agree on the socially acceptable way to measure wheel circumference? Some people maintain centimeters, while others stubbornly contend inches. (Okay, I admit it—I’m completely biased for centimeters; it just makes natural sense!)
That’s why I think in instances like these the best course of action is to write down your preferred method and slip a piece of paper to the nearest bus driver. In the event of a tie of opinion, the driver will dissent with his own opinion. That way, everyone gets their voices heard.
Finally, I think the entire idea that buses can only be thought of as large logs with wheels is genuinely offensive and misguided. In truth, buses come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, makes, and models. They can be whatever they want to be, and people should be able to think about them anyway they want, including as airplanes that forgot their wings at home.
At the end of the day, we all need to work on how we talk about buses. Because once we’re on the same page, no doubt we’ll find more things we actually agree upon. Instead of just yelling at each other.