NSU students tend to have negative impressions of the university’s shuttles. “You live in Rolling Hills? It must be painful to take the shuttle back and forth every day,” is the most common comment I receive when people find out what dorm building I live in. I usually respond with a smile, saying “It is not that bad,” but what my mind wants to shout out is, “It is not at all bad. It actually makes my day.” I decided, for this Valentine’s Day issue, to devote my love language to these beloved “friends,” contributing a different perspective to a conversation that seems to be extreme.
I did not live in Rolling Hills at first. The idea of living blocks away from campus and taking shuttles to classes initially frightened me. I was, undoubtedly, late for my class on the first day I used the shuttle. This urged me to pay more attention to the NextBus on the iShark app, to memorize each shuttle’s name and their distinct routes and to get used to the sense of time as a bus rider — just how we all need to learn about a person in order to find him or her more lovable.
And I did – I found myself in love with the shuttles on such unexpected occasions. It was the several times when I took the wrong shuttles, leading me to the wrong destinations, that gave me an opportunity to truly capture the beauty of the entire university in my eyes and in my heart. I got to see what I had heard of, but had never seen. From the Terry building and the UPP to the Oceanographic campus — the university was bigger and more worth-discovering than I thought. I see myself so little in front of the university. I see myself stuck on some late nights when the shuttle takes me home and the scene through the window takes my mind away. The look of the campus under the lambent moonlight, in the still of the night, has a lingering exquisiteness. I remember asking myself, “What if eyes could take pictures?”
Stories about our bus drivers are another thing I take pleasure from. It took solely one ride for Mrs. Cassandra (we call her Cassie), my bus driver, to first realize that I had just moved to Rolling Hills, to recognize me and ask about my day. Everyone on the bus is her friend, indeed; she knows what is going on in their lives, she makes jokes and she laughs. She just couldn’t hide the love she has nourished for the students and for her job. She has been on that seat for 12 years and so have some other drivers, which, to them, is not nearly enough. I don’t know how much money they make from driving the buses for eight to 10 hours a day — some start at 5 a.m., some end at 11 p.m. — but throughout the years, they must have known that driving those buses was more than a job. Just like how I have realized they are more than just a means of transportation.
When a person who is not even an NSU student could love the shuttles that deeply and devotedly, I find no reason why we, as Sharks, should not. Love always comes from such simpleness.
Photo: W. Hicks