While Baltimore city buses are generally lacking, I think the bus system is a worthy nominee for an open city space. Anyone with $1.60 can get on the bus, and while the routes could be better, the bus is certainly more useful than the north/south-only light rail. I recently rode the number 8 bus, which I have often heard referred to as “the crazy 8” (exactly why I’m not sure, but I like the mystery) and was reminded of just how fun the bus can be. The number 8 is pretty much a straight shot down York Road/ Greenmount Avenue that goes from Lutherville to the Inner Harbor and is better than most because it comes often and on time. On my ride I witnessed a revolving cast of characters exchanging warm greetings, concerned inquiries, flirtatious glances. It was like Cheers. I have never actually seen Cheers but I think that’s what its like. Many of the people who got on the bus were getting off their shifts at work as kitchen staff, Towson Town Mall employees, Starbucks baristas, employees of the Towson University cafeteria and the like and they all seemed to know each other. The boy sitting next to me was reading Being and Nothingness. The man behind me was trying to flirt with two of his coworkers at the same time. All kinds of people were on the bus, forced to sit next to strangers but not really minding. It was like a party bus. Maybe it was just a magical night on the crazy 8?
When I got off the bus a woman who had gotten off with me said goodnight, I replied in kind, and proceeded to get extremely lost in my new purposely maze-like neighborhood. I’ll admit it; I live in Guilford. (Its crazy and the house across the street is an actual mansion but my rent is the same as it was in Hampden by some crazy flaw in the universe). I was walking slowly and with a puzzled expression on my face when the neighborhood security patrol car pulled up. The security officer asked what I was doing there and then pointed me in the right direction.