Fooled by the Fifty-Seven

Aidan Sherry

The fifty-seven bus has a strained relationship with its riders.  It is a bus with unrivaled convenience and comfort.  It takes its loyal followers sometimes within feet of their final destination.  While it is a good friend to many, it is also an unreliable friend, a friend that should not be depended on in desperate situations.  Many have fallen victim to its sporadic schedule.  Classes have been missed, deadlines passed, and relationships ruined because of an incredibly late fifty-seven bus.

The events leading up to waiting for the outbound fifty-seven can be especially grueling.  The decision to get off the train at Kenmore Square and switch to the bus is quite a difficult one.  To remain on the train would be almost unbearable.  Especially seeing the bus race past you on Commonwealth Avenue while the train slowly creeps to each of its seemingly endless stops.  However, waiting for the bus for almost an hour could potentially ruin any schedule you had planned.  It is a risky endeavor, switching from the train to the fifty-seven, but like all risks, a great reward may be in store for you.

If you manage to muster up the courage to get off the train and head for the bus stop then your journey has only just begun.  Very often you’ll emerge from the depths of the Kenmore subway station to see the bus rounding the bend, and heading for the stop to pick up a crowd of patient fifty-seven enthusiasts.  If this is the case, consider yourself lucky.  Another, perhaps less glamorous, situation will have you waiting for the beloved fifty-seven for the better part of an hour.  Finding yourself in such a predicament can be quite frustrating. A perturbed crowd forms around you: a crowd distinguished by rolling eyes, visible restlessness and perpetual glances at watches, cell phones, or any other time-keeping device.  The crowd grows ever more irritated as a fleet of undesired buses go by.  After a while you’ll notice that the same buses start to repeat themselves.  Still though, the elusive fifty-seven has yet to make an appearance.  Tensions are high as the crowd grows in size.   By now a few have given up and started to walk to the Blanford street train stop.

The true supporters of the fifty-seven will stick it out to the bitter end.  Those brave enough to withstand the prolonged wait, the excruciating frustration and the merciless taunting of other passing busses will be rewarded with the smoothest, fastest ride up Commonwealth Avenue that the MBTA has to offer.  The fifty-seven speeds past the train, cutting off any timid motorist on the way.  It flies by Boston University, ignoring any unnecessary stops.  The speed and agility of the fifty-seven make up for its highly suspicious schedule.  Before you know it, you’re in Watertown, while the fools who took the train are barely past Boston University.  Yes, the fifty-seven is quite the bus, but only if you dare to take the risk.


Aidan Sherry is currently a student at Berklee.  This essay was written for his College Writing 2 course.

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