Why Bus No. 12 is worth the wait
Every Friday, I wait for 10 minutes at the bus stop for a bus that takes me to my Piano class. Although the bus timings are precise, it’s always a bit too early or a tad late. When I see it approaching, the half-a-minute spent watching it break and move from the last stop, is also my moment of hope.
I board the bus, say hello to the driver and look for an optimum spot to sit in. Sometimes I like to stand. What happens in the next 20 minutes is neither predictable nor is it ever the same. There are conversations all around; most of the time between two people but many times people ramble to themselves. That’s San Francisco anyway, with its fulfilled dreams and the broken ones. The most interesting conversations are the ones between me and the quiet person. Studying the body language, exchanging smiles and occasionally a vocal gesture. Once, an old lady sitting next to me told me about how sick she was and that she was going to the hospital. She hoped to find her test results clear. I told her that I was going to attend my class and before she got off the bus, we both wished each other good-luck. Brief yet a surreal, pleasant connection.
It’s for these novel, uncertain interactions that I choose public transport almost always. Of course, with a work-from-home format, I have the luxury of my own schedule. But I am particular about efficient time management too. So, when I add up the wait time, the travel time and the time spent planning every bus/train trip, I spend more time getting to my class, than the class itself. However, my efficiency formula uses experience as an important factor too. And the net result of every bus or train trip is far higher than a cab ride.
Sometimes, I enjoy cab rides too. Like when I get to know the car driver better, hear stories or just share a joke. To some extent, that’s like taking an empty bus with a chatty driver.
That way, every choice, decision and experience in my life is evaluated by the number of stories I collect.