The Cue Bus

tara_city01Just inside the George Mason University main entrance, two small structures stand adjacent to one another. The structures are bus stop shelters. This is where the George Mason CUE Bus loads and unloads GMU students who commute to campus.

One structure holds a hollow metal bench, and the other holds a solid wooden bench. There is graffiti engraved on the wooden bench and on the smokey brown glass walls of both structures. A hole has even been burned through one of these walls.

At this time, several GMU students and faculty are waiting for one of the four different CUE buses. Some decline the luxury of sitting in the tall, brown shelters and, instead, either stand on the sidewalk or lounge in the green grass behind the bus stop, basking in the warm summer sun.

There are three boys sitting in the left shelter, their long wallet chains scraping against the hollow metal of the bench and creating an annoying racket. An older gentleman (probably a teacher) walks over to the newspaper machines to the left, and debates in his mind whether to get the Washington Post, USA Today, or the Fairfax Journal. He eventually chooses the Washington Post, drops the money in the machine and retrieves his prize.

Just then, a Green 2 bus drifts into harbor, and a flood of students and faculty pour out of its small doors and onto the sidewalk. The man with the paper jumps into the bus, flashing his GMU ID to gain free admission. The three youths scrape to their feet and waddle towards the bus door, following the man with the paper. A middle-aged Spanish woman and two chattering females make up the last of the CUE bus boarders, and as swiftly as it pulled in, the bus quickly darts away. It leaves campus, and leaves the two brown bus stop shelters empty.

The pleasant breeze, the cool green grass, the sun and the newspaper machines provide the shelters company, but there are no people. At least, for now. In another five minutes, a group of completely different individuals, coming from completely different backgrounds, will merge together at this spot. Some will recognize others, because they’ve seen each other on the CUE bus many times. They may or may not talk to one another, but they have become a close community, nevertheless. They come to the same spot every day, and together, they wait for the next CUE bus.