If you’re not lame enough to walk to class, hipster enough to have a bike, SoCal enough to skateboard or rich enough to have a hover board, odds are you take the good ol’ 51B. We at the Clog have spent our fair share of time on both 51s, 49s and the occasional 1, and we have witnessed everything from a woman being broken up with over the phone to someone throwing up. If you ever have the chance to utilize your bus pass, here’s a sneak peek at the cast of characters you’ll most likely run into.
Both under five feet, bespectacled, probably wearing matching knit sweaters — we all have our favorite neighborhood elderly couple. The couple that reminds us of the “after” in The Notebook or of our dear old grandparents. This is the pair that restores our faith in finding true love in our own lives, especially when he holds her hand as she hobbles off the bus. Relationship goals, right?
When you sleep through the dreaded 7:30 a.m. alarm for your 8 a.m. class, you know you realistically won’t make it to Evans Hall without some sort of godsend. Luckily, the 52 comes every 10 minutes so even the laziest of all students that live in Unit 1 and find it necessary to hop onto even the most crowded of buses can make it on time. Most students are checking and rechecking Instagram on their phones, some are bold enough to try to finish a 90-page reading for their political science class and a handful are still trying to win 2048 (if you haven’t won by now, you might as well just give up). We guarantee that at least one student will have forgotten to shower and will smell.
Sometimes referred to as “lifers,” other times as “the lady that kinda looks like my grandma’s best friend from home,” the senior-citizen-turned-student is always found with their nose in a book and cool tote bag from a local coffee shop in hand. If they’re not doing the crossword puzzle or something cute and old like that, they’ll smile at you and make you feel bad for ever talking smack about them to your friends simply because they participate more in discussion than you ever will.
The first person you talk to generally sets the mood for the rest of the day, so the bus driver is actually the most important person in your life, or at least in the top five. Sometimes you can hop on without flashing your Cal ID, other times the driver will take an extra 15 seconds to call you back to triple check that your bus pass isn’t from last semester — as if your sagging backpack and Berkeley sweatshirt don’t scream that you’re a student here. We do feel bad for them because driving the same loop 30 times each day isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world, so make sure to holler a friendly, “Thank you!” when arriving at your stop.
Local hippie family
If you venture out far enough past the confines of the Berkeley bubble, you may run into a mother with a few kids in tow, clad in a kaleidoscope of colors. Most likely on their way to an after-school grow-your-own-food club meeting or a jazz piano lesson, this classic Berkeley family prides itself on being green by wearing organic clothing, drinking only local milk and, of course, taking the bus. Reducing your carbon footprint is the new black.
Until Berkeley installs a ski lift to take you to and from campus or until teleporting is a viable option, AC Transit will have to do.
Contact Isabela Reid at [email protected].