End Of The Line.

hospitalSometimes when I’m the last person on the bus I pretend it’s one of those party buses, but a really cheap one so it doesn’t have flashing lights or a minibar or a disco dance floor or a hot tub or a bathroom or a kitchen with a celebrity chef or wifi or an espresso machine or a fireplace or a tape dispenser or a gym or a library or a holographic chimpanzee or a carpentry class or a hedge maze or a miniature boxing ring with brown recluse spiders going at it or a racetrack. I’ve never been on one of those party buses so I don’t really know what’s on them in case you couldn’t tell. Anyway I sometimes get distracted by my own thoughts or a podcast I’m listening to so I zone out and don’t pay attention to where the bus is. My stop is the last one before a long stretch of interstate entry and exit ramps where there are no stops. There’s no place for the bus to stop. If I forget to pull the stop cord in time I might as well ride the bus all the way to the end of the line and circle back.

And that happened to me once. I’m proud—maybe a little too proud—to say it only happened once, although it’s not really a big deal. I felt like a schmuck and tried to pay a second fare but the driver just laughed and told me to sit back down.

When we arrived at the end of the line—the parking lot of a large shopping center—I sat back and thought about what being at the end of the line meant. Have you ever seen a mile marker to the next town and wondered where exactly the boundary is and where does town really begin? I’ve heard the phrase “the edge of town” in so many stories. It’s always a place where shady things happen so I picture it as dark and lonely place, even if the events occur in the middle of the day. The point where the shopping center is was once a Native American burial ground, and even before the shopping center came along must have been on the outskirts of town. Urban sprawl has pushed the outskirts farther out. I wonder whether the town boundaries have been redrawn to keep up or if the road signs still mark the same number of miles from one town to the next.

The bus started up again snapping me out of my reverie. I didn’t want to miss my stop a second time.

10 Comments

  1. Sandra

    I would have been so nervous and upset if I had to be taken all the way to the last stop where the bus circles back. Fear of the unknown is clearly my thing. Clearly not yours. It’s what makes your stories so alive and why I’m all, “Christopher blogged again!” when I see Freethinkers Anonymous in my inbox.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly brave person, but I can see that riding the bus all the way to the end of the line could be intimidating. The whole time I was thinking, “Hey, this’ll make an interesting blog post” which is probably not a healthy attitude.

      Reply
  2. Gina W.

    Ugh, I’ve done that same thing before of missing my bus stop and going all the way to the end. This was all in my early 20’s back when I rode public transport often. The worst was falling asleep on the Russian metro and waking with a start and being like, ‘WHERE THE HELL AM I?” and then sweating bullets until you figured out if you went past your stop of not. Ahhhhh, good times, good times…

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Going to the end of the Russian metro seems like it would be pretty terrifying. I never rode it long enough to fall asleep. It was rare that I was in a car that was empty enough for me to sit down.

      Reply
  3. mydangblog

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zbi0XmGtMw
    I sent you the link to the Party Bus song (We Love To Party by the Vengaboys). Hope you enjoy!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is fantastic. Now why can’t I fall asleep on that bus? Because of all the singing and dancing obviously but really why is that bus never on any of my regular routes?

      Reply
  4. Spoken Like A True Nut

    I always feel a weird sense of guilt when I’m the last one on the bus. It’s one of my delightfully irrational little social anxieties that keeps me on my toes.

    Logically, I know the driver has to complete his/her route with or without me. Hey, for all I know there could be someone else waiting at an upcoming stop who’s going to be the *last* last person on the bus. But I still always feel like I’m somehow imposing. Like maybe the driver had a crappy day and just wanted to ride out that last leg of their route in peace without any more needy passengers yanking away on the stop cord, and I’m ruining it, and they resent me for that.

    Sometimes it bothers me enough that I’ll get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way home.

    Issues. I have them.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I can relate. When the driver has been talking to people the whole trip and then suddenly I’m the last one I wonder if I should talk to the driver. And I have the thought you have that maybe he’d like the ride out the rest of the route in peace after talking to all those people. And if the driver does want to talk how do I start the conversation?
      And I worry about things getting too personal because the bus driver sort of knows where I live.

      Reply
  5. Ann Koplow

    I’m stuck on the bus of my own thoughts about “Dangerous — 14 Miles to the Nearest Hospital” but I still enjoyed the ride.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Every time I look at that picture I wonder whether it’s the road that’s more dangerous or the hospital.

      Reply

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