And I'm so angry I could just spit.
I've always hated waiting for the bus.
Twenty five years ago, my girlfriend Avril loves to travel by bus. When she asks me out, she says we should go to town. As a healthy lad, I think nothing of walking the three miles to the mall, but she seems quite excited by the prospect of a bus ride together. So I scrape together the fare - I'm healthy, not wealthy - and we head out into the bright sunshine of our teens. Half an hour later, we're still waiting by the bus stop. We chat, we laugh, we enjoy each other's company, but inside I'm annoyed and disappointed for our first date.
The seed of discontent is sown.
Back in the now, cars and cyclists and pedestrians amble past, each making more progress than me. Then my heart skips; do I hear the bus? No, it's just a truck, distant and deceptive. It belches diesel noisily as it eventually rattles past.
Fifteen years ago, I have an interview in a nearby town. My car is off the road - I'm still not wealthy - and despite an offer of a lift from my sister, there's a regular bus service running. So I give myself plenty of time, and head out into the sunshine in my best suit. I wait 45 minutes for the half hourly service, but eventually climb aboard. On the outskirts of our destination, our transport overheats. I can wait for a replacement ride to come and pick us up, but instead I elect to play it safe and walk the last half mile to the interview. I make it on time, but I'm hot, bothered, and somewhat agitated. It's small consolation that I don't want the job.
The seed sprouts green shoots of prejudice towards a limitless sky.
Back in the now, as I stand waiting, I remember a silly press release issued by London Transport in the mid-Eighties. Customers had complained that buses were speeding past them as they waited at the bus stop. Often, the drivers gave them a cheery wave as they did this. The company said, without a hint of irony:
It is not possible for drivers to maintain their schedules if they always stop to pick up passengers.
But I've not even been graced with that bizarre policy today. No buses to be seen. No doubt, in the timeless English manner, three will arrive at once.
Well, I hope they will.
First thing this morning, I decide to change the shape of my day. The sun is shining, and I really want to enjoy some downtime. So I take a day off work, have a leisurely breakfast, shower, dress, and head out in search of a decent cup of coffee.
For some reason, driving does not appeal.
Today, I'd like to be driven.
Checking my pockets, I'm surprised to find I'm carrying money - I'm still not wealthy but behave like royalty in this respect most of the time - and decide to take the bus into town. I'm surprised by this out-of-character decision, and pause for a moment. Why would I do this? I rationalise that it's a bit too warm to trek the two miles by foot, and besides, I'd rather get back quickly to enjoy that downtime in the back garden I promised myself.
I dismiss the past and head out.
Two minutes later, I'm at the bus stop.
Half an hour later, I'm still waiting.
I'm quietly annoyed, and that fact really bothers me.
As an individual, I'm extraordinarily patient. But this is not a matter of patience. If I get to the bus stop and find that the next scheduled service is an hour away, I'll patiently wait an hour and take it on the chin. But getting to the bus stop five minutes early for a scheduled service and then waiting an hour drives me crazy.
Especially if they're supposed to run every ten minutes.
The sheer unreliability gnaws at my calm.
Back in the now, an hour has passed.
In the park opposite, there's a football game going on. Kids play on the swings. Cyclists and cars and pedestrians seem to be moving faster now, but perhaps it's my imagination. Life teems around me, swirling its Brownian way through the day, interacting and experiencing and progressing.
But I'm standing still.
The flower of outrage blossoms, and I don't care for the smell.
I head home to enjoy my corner of the world in the sunshine.
I've always hated waiting for the bus.
Sometimes the bus is late.
Sometimes you wait forever and then three arrive at once.
But sometimes? Sometimes the bus just doesn't arrive at all.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2010