On Thee Bus

USA, 1987

Travel is - and always has been - a central focus ov North American Myth. Thee epic Migration across thee Asian Steppes to this Promised Land, thee ships that brought death and disease, thee Homesteaders, thee Railroad, thee Hell’s Angels, “On the Road” - and related beat - hipster hitchhiker Mythos. In thee 1960s a new twist was evolved - thee “Commune on Wheels”.

My research draws a blank on nutty busses prior to Ken Kesey’s epic bus. Thee story is too well-documented in “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” to warrant my feeble paraphrasing. Thee Beatles characteristically ripped off Kesey’s genius and made a mint off ov thee idear in Magical Mystery Tour. Manson painted his black instead ov technicolor, a portent ov bad trips to come… Then thee Partridge Family came along and made it safe and family - oriented, set designers painting cutesy-pseudo psychedelic geometric designs on it in tasteful indigos. Jim Jones had a fleet ov busses that would swell thee ranks at political rallys.

Thee schoolbus is a uniquely American anomaly. Created parallel to compulsory education laws, it is thee way most American kids traverse thee vast distance to school each morning and afternoon. In rural areas, a schoolbus often has several miles between stops.

So we have another classic case ov thee under thee counterculture appropriating an instrument ov CONTROL and “perverting” it into a tool ov Liberation. Thee totem ov bus carting schoolchildren and churchgoers to brainwash sessions is twisted into a bussful ov sex-mad, drug-crazed freaks nomadically traversing thee USA.

A bus is much smaller than a house. It can feel quite cramped. If someone’s got body odor, you KNOW it. And fast! This forced proximity is one ov thee most intense forms ov psychotherapy I’ve ever encountered. You can’t hide anything. You can’t go out for a walk when thee bus is moving at 65 mph. Whatever happens, you’re STUCK ON THEE BUS. Issues Get resolved - they HAVE to. And proximity and confinement, particularly when combined with stress, have a tendency to bring out facets ov our personality we usually prefer not to exhibit.

Thee bus becomes a totem or talisman representing thee group mind or purpose. When thee bus fails, we fail. All your hopes and fears become inexticably linked to thee Bus. Thee Group-Mind is totally tied in to thee Bus. It is OUR Strength.

Thee bus must be fed. Gas, oil, maintenance. Also on a subtler plane, it demands our love and confidence. Thee Bus is very sensitive to criticism. An optimistic attitude is essential to keep thee bus running smoothly. Faith in its ability to GET YOU THERE is a MUST.

Thee Bus is a VEHICLE, both in thee literal and thee subtle sense ov thee word. It takes you from point A to point B both physically and emotionally. Thee Process ov traveling for long periods ov time is an Initiation - it brings deep rooted internal issues to light and DEMANDS resolution. It builds a BOND a tight family between those who ride. Thee experience can only be truly understood by those who have personally experienced. It is a focus point ov INTENTION. A physical symbol ov DIRECTION, ov getting there, and ov BEING HERE RIGHT NOW. You can’t detach yourself from it - it is in you as you are in it. There is no exit, no evasion. IT'S ALL RIGHT THERE. Everything you own is in thee Bus, and everyone you know. Thee people on thee Bus are your brothers and everyone else is an ally or an enemy. Middle Ground dissolves on thee Bus - it polarizes everything. You’re either on thee Bus or off thee Bus - there is no half-stepping or vacation.

It’s a ritual and a WAY. A Universe self-contained and self-supporting. It IS magick. Miracles happen, thee stuff on which great churches have been built. Riding on thee Bus, sometimes you BELIEVE Charlie levitated it up that canyon. Neal Cassady DID drive down that mountain blindfolded at 100 miles an hour. It COULD HAPPEN. You just know it. Because it wasn’t just that one person driving. Thee Driver becoums thee focal point ov thee energy and aspirations ov thee entire Tribe. enabling them to assume thee same masks (and their powers) that thee Shaman-Priest-King did in leading thee Tribes out ov thee Wilderness. Thee Driver BECOUMS thee Bus, a vehicle for thee Group Mind to focus Its WILL through. A good Driver must shed Her Individual Consciousness or Ego E GO & GO BE THEE BUS. Must becoum thee Channel ov thee Tribe With all there energy flowing clear, there can be no obstacle insurmountable. There can be no doubt -We WILL make it!!