This urban myth began in Philadelphia with the SETA transport system. People would see a bus with no destination listed, only the SETA letters on the board. Called the Bus to Nowhere, the Wandering Bus, or Bus Zero — this bus is equal opportunity and will pick up anyone who is in a desperate situation.
Supposedly this bit of folklore was dreamed up by comedian Nicolas Mirra, who had lived in Philadelphia in 2011. He wrote and published a short story on his blog called “Philly Urban Legends: The Wandering Bus.”
Part of the allure of this legend is the references that shot through my head upon hearing it. Firstly was Danny the Street (who I discovered watching Doom Patrol). Danny is a gender queer sentient street that helps the down and out (very similar to Bus Zero). In the TV series, after being destroyed, Danny was reincarnated as a bus. Perhaps a reference to the Wandering Bus.
When I read that you could ride the bus for months, or even years, the other idea that popped into my head was the Party Bus from The Regular Show. In this Halloween Episode (Terror Tales of the Park), the group gets onto a bus with a raging party on board. However, as the bus travels forward, they all age. The Regular Show crew is able to reverse the bus, but this only de-ages them until they are babies.
When designing the Bus to Nowhere I chose a 1930s style bus. Totally inaccurate to the myth, but I love the design of vehicles during this era. Thus, most of the buildings are 1930s style.
Despite possibly being created by Mirra, the Wandering Bus is not isolated to Philadelphia. People have reported seeing it in multiple cities. Who knows, perhaps the Bus really is going to those who need it most.
I just finished reading “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. And when I say “just finished” I mean minutes ago. I burned through the last forty pages. Breathless.
I loved the book.
More than just a typical reader would. As a school teacher, I’ve run across kids who needed similar help (not the same, thankfully). I find that school, and teaching, is a mixed bag of learning, friendship, and therapy.
First, let me give you a freeway version of the story (no spoilers, I promise). The novel follows the story of Hannah Baker, a girl who has committed suicide. We hear her words though audiotapes she left for the thirteen people connected with her suicide. Intercut with this is the first person narration of Clay. He’s listening because he’s on the tapes, somewhere. He spends the novel trying to figure out what he did to push a girl over the edge.
Every year (every year, at least since I ran across my first case of a girl cutting) I talk to the students about coping mechanisms. How to unload all that stress and anger that builds up inside. And it does. It’s like shaking up a can of soda. If you don’t know how to release the pressure, it will explode. Trust me, I know.
As I guy, mostly this comes out with hitting things. I’ve dented two car roofs (both mine) and hit the floor so hard it actually shook the house. I don’t think those were the best therapies, but they were better than the alternatives.
Basically, you need a way to get those inner demons out. Hannah (from the novel) had the right idea with poetry. Unfortunately, circumstances conspired against her. Journaling also works. This is essentially what Hannah did with her tapes. It was too late when she worked through her emotions. It’s something you need to start with.
Art is another one. I recall, as a disaffected teen, I attacked a painting with so much force, that I broke the paint brush. (Seeing a trend here?) Once, a poet visited my class (this is fast forwarding to when I was a teacher) and she told the kids something I will never forget. Poems don’t have to be about sadness or joy. Any emotion will do. Anger in fact. She encouraged my class to get angry with their muse.
Essentially, I think I became a writer as a coping mechanism. A way to pour out all the ick that lived inside. I’ve dealt with double dealing friends and some nasty gossip. I simply gave that stuff for my characters to deal with. A bit nasty on my part, but hey, it let me heal. Then I could talk to those people again and not be filled with hate.
The only thing about Jay Asher’s book that bugged me was the parents. Where were they? He had Hannah offer an excuse about the business failing, but I needed to see it more. Why? Because I want to believe that they could have helped. You see I have a little daughter. And when she struggles with her teen years, I hope I can be there for her. I know it’s possible, probably even likely, that suicidal teens don’t confide in their parents. But as a reader (and a father) I would have hoped Asher would have addressed it. Maybe he did. (I haven’t finished with the questions at the end, so maybe he addressed it there.)
I guess I feel like Clay sometimes. As a kid (I know I’m jumping around here) I had a friend who’s father killed himself. One day, at friend’s house, he just broke down, crying. Hell, I had no clue what to do. I was something like thirteen or fourteen. But I listened to him. Especially because the others in our group wouldn’t. He survived the rest of high school without any further incident. So I’m glad I did something. At the very least, I didn’t turn away.
If you ever have someone open up to you, don’t push them away. Listen. Be there for them. Do something that they can’t.
People are out there to make your life miserable. Achieve something? They’ll knock you down. Win? They’ll discount it. Speak up? They’ll ignore you. There are a myriad of reasons. Most stem to jealously. Other folks don’t want to see you doing better than them. You have the ambition they lack.
Forget the reasons. How can you deal with their negativity? Cut them out. That’s right, be viscous. Why would you want friends who constantly bring you down or belittle you? Those aren’t real friends. And cut means cut. Don’t see them sometimes or take a trial break. Just stop seeing them.
Now, sometimes that’s just not possible. Maybe these harbingers of doom are your flesh and blood. You know, family. Well, that doesn’t mean you need to see them every waking minute. Reserve yourself for holidays and birthdays. If you live with them, be cordial, but that’s all. No need to open up to someone who’s ready with sledgehammer.
Learn how to cut people out from the master: Christopher Walken. This guy is pictured in the dictionary next to the word “strange.” I read an interview with him several years ago. Some person annoyed Walken so much that he decided to cut the fella out of his life. I mean he didn’t even talk to the man. Years went by. Nothing. Then finally, the guy calls up Walken and asks: “Why don’t we talk anymore.” Walken tells the interviewer, “And that’s my revenge.”
Christopher Walken stars as Feng in Balls of Fury.
A twisted tale, for sure, but it has a point. (Aside from revenge against annoying people.) When you cut out the negative person, you also remove the negativity. Sure, jinxy things still happen to you, but that’s blind luck. The soul sucking negativity is gone.