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Classifying types

I really hate the University's new, more "efficient" bus system. Each morning, in a vain, but noble attempt to make my 9:10 lecture on Science Drive on time, I face an unrelenting horde of first-year students, each of them more eager and determined to board the bus than I.

Most of the time, I'm too sleepy and too apathetic to deal with it all; the freshmen have too much energy for me to compete with. I usually tend to sit on one of those nice marble benches they have on East Campus and wait out the storm. Sitting on these benches gives me a perspective on human behavior that I would have never guessed possible.

I sit and I watch as students jockey and strategically maneuver themselves into prime boarding position. It is especially amusing to watch as some students get in touch with their inner psyche and attempt to predict exactly where the bus will stop, only to watch as the bus driver decides to park the bus five feet ahead of them, dooming them to the hell that is standing up on the bus.

You can tell a lot about a person by watching their bus-boarding technique. From my extensive studies, I have categorized everyone into one of several types.

Type I boarders are those I like to call the Go-Getters of Duke. These students almost always attempt to line up as close to the curb as possible, often risking decapitation by one of those over-sized side mirrors on the buses. You will most often encounter one of these students as they push their way past you on their quest for some curb-space. The aforementioned clairvoyant bus riders can also be categorized as a Type I rider.

The more seasoned Type Is--let's call them the Type I Extreme riders--are even more adept at obtaining prime bus-boarding position; these students will actually walk out onto the street, in front of the crowd, and then nonchalantly step back up onto the curb, thus pushing everyone behind them back. It truly is an inspiring feat to watch, as these students struggle and sweat, all to get wherever it is they're going on time.

The next type of bus rider is my favorite. I will call them, creatively, the Type II bus rider. Your average Type II bus rider is one who doesn't have the wherewithal to fight and scratch his way to the front of the crowd, but still retains the maniacal desire to get a space onto the bus. The Type II bus rider is one who is apt to sneak up onto the bus through the back doors, before the bus driver notices. Type IIs are also known to swing out around a crowd toward the front of the bus, and then slowly maneuver their way toward the front door from a slight angle in front of the bus, giving themselves the edge over the remainder of the crowd.

Another fun group of riders are whom I will call the Headless Chicken Group. The Headless Chicken Rider (here on referred to as the HCR) is one who can't decide which bus to board. When more than one bus arrives to the bus stop at the same time, the HCR begins waging an internal war: "Which bus do I take? The line is already pretty long in this one. But oh, I'm already here. But wait, that bus still looks pretty empty. And yet??"

The final result of this private conversation is the student wandering back and forth between buses (hence the name) and ultimately missing both.

The vast majority of students fall into the plain-old, everyday Type IV species. These are the remaining 200 students crowded around the bus door. While they would like to get on the bus, they're satisfied with waiting for another one. Type IV students compose the middle bulk of the bus-rider spectrum.

And then finally you come to the Type Vs. It tickles me each morning when I look to my left and right and see other Type Vs like myself watching the chaos unfold before us. A true sense of understanding and fellowship is built in those moments when we collectively watch the over-stuffed bus in front of us roar off into the distance, while we smugly board the empty one that pulled up right behind it.

Jasen Liu is a Pratt junior. His column appears every third Wednesday.


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