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The 24 sex bus

I must have been caught up in thoughts about my dissertation when I arrived at the transit station this morning. I was on my way to UCSB (on a Saturday I'm telling you, times are tough), and for the first time, I actually missed the bus.

My bike chain had popped out on Figueroa, so I had to push my bike all the way down to the station. I was running late anyway because of an extended _ skype _ conversation with Germany; plus I didn't know the exact time the UCSB bus was leaving.

When I pushed my bike into the parking lot, I saw my bus taking off. It was 10.28 am the bus had left early. I was a little upset because I had all this work to do; and the schedule said there wouldn't be a bus until an hour later. So I walked over to the little, round info center to report about the bus' early departure. But instead of inquiring about the USBS express line, I shouted out: "Sir, the bus that just left, was that the 24 sex bus?"

The old man behind the counter didn't even bother looking up. I probably should have let it go. But instead, I hurried to clarify: "Oh, no, not sex, haha, of course I meant X. I'm sorry." The guy still didn't seem to care. Maybe he didn't hear me. Maybe it happens to people all the time. He waited until I was quiet. Then he told me which bus to take instead.

The truth is: The 24x on the bus has freaked me out since my first day on campus. Whenever the bus pulled into the circle, I read "24 times Downtown". Technically, I knew it was the fast bus which I preferred to the slow Goleta line 11. But I kept asking myself what in the world "24 times" might mean.

I finally figured out that it was the Xpress bus; and I have developed a heartfelt relationship with it since. I take it to school every day; I know the drivers' names, and although I am not allowed to talk to them while the bus is moving, I never fail to tell them "Thank you" when I am getting off. I know which graduate students I'll meet in the isle on Thursday mornings, and I know who takes the 6.24 pm bus back at night. I even met my first Santa Barbara friend on this bus who then introduced me to non-bus people. Looking at it from this perspective, I owe 24x a lot.

In the end, I guess, the difference is only a letter. Sex or x. I really like my bus.

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