October 26, 2011

Falling Off the Bus Wagon

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When I arrived on campus as a freshman there was one thing made perfectly clear to me: I had a free bus pass for one year. Yes, free. It was the first and last free thing Cornell ever gave me (aside from red t-shirts and sleepless nights). At first I thought I was really lucky; I could go all sorts of useful places. I wouldn’t have to be cold in the winter when going to class, and I could sleep in an extra 10 minutes because a bus would cut my walk to class in half. These, ladies and gentlemen, are all ploys.Sure, buses exist, but they are not as useful as one might think. I will agree that the buses can take you to interesting places (they have routes out to Taughannock State Park). However, buses are unnecessary on campus. I have learned that walking is a much better way to get to class. In my humble opinion (which I preach every other week in these columns), there shouldn’t be any paved roads through campus at all, the current roads should just be sidewalks surrounded by grass, and all remaining roads should skirt around campus. The best part about this idea is that CUPD wouldn’t be able to hand out jaywalking tickets anymore.There are definitely times when riding the bus is acceptable, if not encouraged. However, these are strictly limited to: the drunk bus (because it’s hilarious) and anytime Ithaca suddenly decides to downpour and you don’t have an umbrella because it was beautiful and sunny when you left your room. If your reason for riding the bus across campus does not fall into either of these two categories, don’t do it. Here are a few myths about buses, reasons to walk and other nonsense about buses:Myth number 1: Buses get you places faster. Buses do not. By the time you look up the bus schedule, walk to the bus stop and wait for the bus, you could have probably already gotten to where you were headed. What’s worse is that you have to do things on the bus’ schedule. You lose your independence and become a slave to timetables and whirring wheels.Myth Number 2: Buses keep you warm in the winter. Nope, wrong again. You still have to walk to the bus except now you have to stand at the bus stop blowing into your hands, and shuffling back and forth to keep your toes from freezing off. Meanwhile, I have already passed you walking at a brisk pace which keeps me from getting cold. Later when you get off at your bus stop two minutes after getting on (a ride so short you didn’t even have time to warm your icy fingers) you are dumped in four inches of road slush because the bus doesn’t pull close enough to the curb. (Yes, all you freshmen from Florida, we get lots of wet, icy snow here). While you curse at the bus driver as he pulls away, you will likely inhale a giant breath of bus exhaust. Nothing says good morning like slush-soaked pants and a mouthful of fumes.Walking has many benefits that you can’t get from riding the bus. Walking to class at Cornell will give you the calves of a god (or goddess for all the ladies who read this column). What’s better than a pair of really nice legs? I can’t think of much.If you walk to class, you won’t get the glare I would give you if you drove past me on a bus. That’s right, look at my smiling face staring at you right now and imagine it with a fierce laser gaze and a frown of disapproval (if you can’t imagine it, it’s because I can’t even attempt to make that face without laughing). Anyway, I will gaze at you disapprovingly because the buses are so damn loud. It sounds like a rocket ship is taking off as a bus leaves the stop. It interrupts my conversations, or on my anti-social days, my music. If the bus was what I wanted to hear as I stumbled to my 9 a.m. in a sleep-ridden haze, I would have loaded a crying baby on my mp3 player instead of music. Somehow music is much more soothing.Probably most important of all is that if you walk to class at Cornell, when you turn 76 you will actually be able to tell your grandchildren that you walked to school uphill both ways. This is a delayed benefit, I know, but haven’t you always wanted to say that? I know I have. How lame would it be to turn 76 and tell your grandchildren that you bused to school uphill both ways? Thinking about it more, they’d probably already know you took the bus by the freshman 15 you’re still carrying around. Maybe I have come close to being hit by a bus too often, had one too many suffocating breaths of bus fumes or I really am a hippie who wants to grass in all of the roads on campus and play with butterflies, but I fell off the bus wagon years ago and I don’t want to chase it back down.Will Spencer is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He may be reached at wspencer@cornellsun.com. Tripping Up Stairs appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Will Spencer