Thursday, 15 November 2012

Life's Funny Like That

I stand idly, carrying my bag and patiently waiting for the bus. There is something intrinsically interesting about the bus, I think. It gathers all these different people from all these different walks of life together for a brief moment in time. See the girls, gathered together waiting for the bus and discussing the latest music hit. Or the man in the business suit, who is perhaps down on his luck at the moment and can't afford the parking. Or the lady with the purse and the umbrella, fidgeting and waiting impatiently. I shake my head. There is no need for impatience at the bus stop. The bus will come. It is a wonderful certainty in an uncertain world. Certainly the bus you are waiting for may not come. The driver may be ill, or the bus will crash. But eventually a bus will appear, as sure as the sun will rise. A strange bit of nature which has made itself entirely predictable. I find this predictability rather calming.

I wait patiently. I am a little nervous. Around me the city bustles with life. Hear the cars as there horns scream at one another. And hear the sirens of the police as they chase after the culprit of some crime. Idle gossip floats through the windows of nearby coffee shops, getting lost in the squawking of the pigeons and the roar of the traffic. It is all so, well, unpredictable. Who knows what might happen. At any moment the unpredictable could strike. Of course, I think, that is when we are most alive, when are blood flows and the adrenaline rushes through our brains. When something happens which we can not control. Quite frankly, those that introduce such unpredictability should be thanked. Still though, it is nice to relax too, and wait on certainty.

The sirens grow louder, and in the distance I can see the flash of lights. I frown a little and check my watch. Surely the bus will be here soon. I wish I had brought a book, or some puzzles or something. One of the girls gives me a strange look. My bag is leaking. I mutter quietly. Not much I can do about that right now. I put it down at least, so that its dripping is less noticeable. Such a bother. But it could not be helped, I suppose. I watch a pair of pigeons fly by. I watch a group of men in suits pass by on the other side of the street. They discuss the latest trends in business. So many people. So much life. And all so unpredictable. My heart flutters a little at this, but it is a minor thing. There will be better later. I smile quietly to myself.

The bus comes. I lift my bag, leaving a wet red mark on the sidewalk. The driver lets me on without comment, the bag seems to have given up dripping, at least for now. The bus smells like people. It is a familiar smell. I find a seat and check my bag. Everything is all right. I watch idly as the police drive by, there sirens wailing. I wonder who they are chasing today. I glance around the bus. The girls have got on as well, and sit around chatting. The man with the suit sits near the front, his legs folded, reading the paper. The lady with the purse is trying to explain to the bus driver she is lost. Her English is poor, and the driver is confused. I sigh. Communication is hard enough without the barrier of language. Still, there are some things we can all understand. The relaxation of predictability and the thrill of the unpredictable. Such things human beings all share in common, I think knowingly.

 A stop approaches and one the girls goes to get off. I decide that this should be my stop too. I lift up my bag. It has left yet another red mark, this time on the floor. Someone will clean it up later, I decide. They will think it juice. I get off the bus. The girl heads down the street and I follow after her, a little ways behind. I dig around in my bag a little, searching for some gum. My hand get rather messy. A little bit of hair sticks to it, but I brush it off. I can not find my gum. The girl turns down a driveway and enters a house. The house is old, with a little gate and a mailbox sitting beside it. The road is hidden behind a hedge. I too hide behind this hedge. My heart races a little. Now is the time for the unpredictability. What will happen, i think to myself? I open the post box. It is empty. I get a rather red hand print on the metal box. I empty the contents of the bag into the box. And I continue on.

My heart races. Now what will happen, I think. I cross the street and find a likely looking spot, a bench on the road at a bus stop. I check the stop. The bus does not come here on the weekends. I frown. Disappointing. And yet now I can observe. I sit at the bus stop and wait. Eventually the girl will see she has mail, and come and check. And I am curious to see what happens. After all, people do not generally get heads in the mail. What will happen? I can hardly contain my excitement. I want to rush over and ask her to check her mail right now. But I don't. I tried that once, but it ended poorly, and running is not nearly as exciting as the movies make it. I smile to myself. Of course, I don't have to run. I can always use another head.

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