Bus meme

What Started as an Inspirational Illustration From 2013 Is Now the Meme We’re Going to End 2021 On

The bus is always brighter on the other side
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Happy “it’s the Monday after a holiday weekend and I’m scared to check my work email” day, which puts me on the sad side of the bus meme that’s been going around lately.

the two sides of work emails

If you’re like me, you’ve been seeing this image making the rounds on Twitter for a couple of weeks now. Two people are passengers on a bus, one sitting in a seat that’s facing the bitter, bleak mountainside while the other is taking in the sunshine, rolling hills, and (I’m guessing) the birds singing in the distance. The way the meme works is that you put both passengers in the same situation, but each approach it differently – one in a way that makes them miserable and the other in a way that helps them live their best life.


The origin of the image

I’m not at all surprised that the original intention of the image was to be inspirational, but I am surprised that it dates back to 2013. 2013 feels like it happened decades ago, but that could be because I’ve lost all sense of time after 2020.

According to the website Know Your Meme, the image was created by Brazilian illustrator Genildo Ronchi, who recently re-uploaded the image on Instagram due to the meme’s popularity.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Genildo Ronchi (@genildoronchi)

Know Your Meme breaks down the origin as follows:

On August 24th, 2013, Genildo uploaded a cartoon to his website called As vezes só depende de nós which translates in English to, “Sometimes it just depends on us.” The cartoon has text overlaid on top that reads, “Escolha o Lado Feliz da Viva!” or “Choose the Happy Side of Life!” in English.


This isn’t the first time it’s become a meme

Apparently, the U.S. is about 2 years late on turning Ronchi’s art into a meme.

While Know Your Meme doesn’t cite this as the first time the image was used as a meme, they report that it did date back to, at least, 2019 in Brazillian Twitter circles. “On August 14th, 2019, Twitter account @/vittor posted a meme with text overlay reading, ‘Não fuma cigarro/Fuma cigarro,’ which translates in English to, ‘Doesn’t smoke cigarettes/Smokes cigarettes.'”

This is similar to how the meme is used today, taking the “choose the happy side of life” message in a direction that may not be as beneficial, but damn does it feel good in the moment, especially considering our activities, as of late, include trying to schedule a booster shot for an ongoing pandemic.


The meme comes in a variety of flavors

Initially, when I first saw the meme, it was in a way that put what would be perceived as a negative on the bright side of the bus. Even if I knew that the responsible thing to do would be to NOT side with the happy side, there was always a whisper of truth to it, after all, I started this post dreading opening my work emails.

There’s definitely something to be said about pretending like I can’t log in to my Gmail for a day, or two, or ten, right?

These days, the meme is used in all sorts of ways. I’m gonna share some of my favorites below.

Still Inspirational in Their Own Way


Fandom Has Arrived


One in the Same

I’m pretty sure this is going to be the meme we close the year out on, then again, we still have a little over a month left, so I suppose something from nearly a decade ago could make the Internet rounds again.

What would be your version of this meme, more importantly, where are you sitting on the bus?

(Image: Genildo Ronchi)

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Image of Briana Lawrence
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)