Life is a Bus Ride to Nowhere
I can’t find anything to write about so I guess this is an essay maybe sorta yeah. I haven’t written anything for too long and I don’t know how to write anymore cause all I’ve written is bad high school essays that are boring and bad and nobody will read them. You’ll see the tone change dramatically in this post because I just need to get rid of this writer’s block… I think it was a pretty fun experiment. I feel a lot more in ‘the (blogging) groove’ now.
I will develop it in TRADITIONAL ESSAY FORM; that is, thesis, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. This way I practice the art of Formulaic Essay Writing. Because the structure’s entirely devoid of all creativity, we can use this creativity to… oh, no, you can’t, because you have to follow your outline.
Well, here’s my outline.
Introduction (with !~THESIS STATEMENT~!)
Last Monday (the 14th, I’m publishing this earlier just because I can), I woke up as usual: in a zombified state of listlessness. I ate my toothpaste, brushed my breakfast, and headed off to school just before 8:00. I got there at 9:53. Snow and buses and crashes suck.
Snow sucks because it blocks roads. The snow melted into water, which froze into black ice; black because of its propensity to block roads. It’s a pun because ‘black’ looks like ‘block’.
Buses suck because they can’t move on black ice. They could skate on black ice if they were people but a) they’re buses b) how would you put skates on a bus.
Crashes suck because in one-lane roads such as 49th Avenue, one crash will block an entire DIRECTION of traffic. 41st wasn’t much better because it just condenses two lanes of traffic into one lane, which takes just as long.
Everything sucks because this happened on the one day I decided to bus on 41st. Of course, the only accident was on 41st, and the 43 stopped at Fraser because of a crash at Main and all other 41s were delayed by an hour while the city deiced and salted the road, leaving me waiting for the bus until 9:00 (class starts at 8:40). Certain smarter people just went home and skipped school.
[warning: purple prose ahead]
Soon enough, the first two buses arrived, proudly emblazoned with that portentous symbolism of human kindness and hospitality: [SORRY BUS FULL]. The deliverer had arrived! Our prayers were answered with the speed of a Chinese go-kart race as the bus gracefully stopped in front of us. Not to let anybody on, mind—but because the light three blocks away flickered scarlet. Like an egotistical tryhard after PSATs, that shining bulletin, the bringer of good news, repeatedly forced itself into our collective esophagus that message: SORRY, BUS FULL.
I had waited for an hour, yet time flies when you’re dozing off—it was more like a generation of amassed pain and ennui, of self-unconscious reflection and blame. Lord! How I hated myself, my decisions, my timing, and the combined entity that was me, my soul, and I, a poor idiot, full of sound and fury—
When along comes another bus, ambling into the stop without a care in the world. Sure, the sign was [FULL] but the bus was empty, a true testament to the laudable organization TransLink had invested into Operation Get People Off the Street Before They Get Sad. Surely the corporate bigwigs understood that staking multiple empty buses into the heart of traffic hotspots would pierce into the metaphorical vampire that was Customer Dissatisfication, and that eleven full buses throttling past Knight at 4 km/h would not considerably improve morale.
“Make your way to the back of the bus, please.”
A raspy voice shone crisp and indistinct over the engineering masterpiece that was bus speaker systems. Columns of indifferent teenagers and old ladies shuffled backwards, forwards, right and left no extra room at all. No, I will not take off my backpack. The floor is too dirty! What do you mean, ‘stop texting’? Wo bu dong yin yu!
“Alright,” that holy patron of all transit saints, the venerable Exasperated Middle-Age Bus Driver Guy, rasped to the poor citizens sardined at the head of the bus. “I’m gonna have to ask you to step off the bus now. You have to be behind the red line.”
Like bumbling infants, like fish in a school, like the mindless automata of industrialized society we all are, they stepped off. How my heart went out to these poor, poor people—literally. Literally, my heart went out to them. As in, I was the first person verbally pushed off the vehicle, heart included.
The last one out was one colourful lady, purple in attire, behaviour, and prose. Having once endured the indignity of shamefully cutting to the front of a six-dozen-strong line, she now faced the double mortification of not getting on the bus. Thankfully, her unguent arrived shortly (i.e. after 15 more minutes), as the final bus lurched into view.
I was now first in line. And after the purple gorgon, the second aboard. To school we sail! To education, to learning! To progress!
Progressed we at the churning speed of a debilitated scorpion, submerged underwater and with surgically attached fins with which it could not swim, the water having frozen over in an all-encasing accompaniment of ice. Like a horse steeplechasing parking lot barriers, like Mario beholding an endless hallway of Bowser’s 5th room spikes placed every other tile, like a bus that moved really really slowly, the bus moved really really slowly. The red lights as lecherous as De Wallen in broad daylight; the green lights fearlessly mocking our snail-like pace and my own slothful nature. Ten minutes sooner and I’d had been in school—an hour ago.
“This is ridiculous!” Colourful White Lady #2 exclaimed from the back rank. Her lexical arsenal was carefully chosen, as trenchant as the pavement I had violently and unintentionally prostrated myself on in a moment’s critical lapse of judgement weeks prior. Remember folks: when tripping, don’t fall down. “This is ridiculous!”
Half an hour passed without incident. The line at Knight and 41st’s Duffin’s Donuts stretched around the store. How many times? We never stopped long enough for the condensation to clear from the windows, obscuring our sight like the dismal pre-hominid bovine vision that all we, as sheep, possess in the face of our glorious and benevolent Saviour, oh Exasperated Middle-Age Bus Driver Guy #2. All we, like sheep, had gone astray, and forever reflecting upon me was this dismal fate to which all creatures resign themselves to.
Thus is life. Life is a bus ride to nowhere. A strange and fateful bus that stretches to infinity on an uncharted route through everything. Whom you choose to sit with, talk to, or ignore—it’s your choice. Where you’ll get off, nobody knows but yourself. Like awakening from a fitful dozing, life begins in medias res. Who are you? Where did you come from?
Where will you go?
As the bus sped up past Fraser, the congestion eased. Main, Columbia, Ontario… Cambie. The great catharsis. The symbolic cleansing of humanity’s sins and purging of our collective innards—nothing, really, nothing meant anything at all, as masses of sinners among sinners polluted that pure and holy sanctuary of impurity, and indecisiveness, and arrogance, and failure, failure, failure that was me, a blob of flesh among blobs of flesh, so cruelly given opportunities, all squandered. For what? “This is ridiculous!” I never saw either lady again.
The bus lurched to a stop just before Oak. Helplessly, I watched with growing despair as the 17 careened past us, gathering speed, glowing with the fury of new hope, new life, new chances that blueshifts into the universal abyss. Clutching the door with clammy hands, silently praying to the omnipotent mirror, convexing itself so magnificently in our presence—open the door! Let us off! But it was gone. Everything was gone. I had everything before me.
I had nothing before me.
An hour in the freezing sleet. An hour standing in the amassed hopelessness of humanity, of humankind, our collective amounting to nothing but dust, particulate in the icy rain.
“Wow, [redacted]. Why’re you so late?”
“Tu est en retard de deux heures!”
“Ah… j’ai eu un… traffic jam.”
It was 9:53, and as the morning announcements came on, I thought naught of life, of the past, of the future. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times—in short, the period was exactly like the present in every which way. What is life? What is meaningful? What separates the grain from the chaff, the good from the bad, the men from the sheep? Creativity? Expression? Success? Failure?
Fuck if I know. Everything sucks.
This is ridiculous.