Leading From Behind.

Most of the time when buses going in opposite directions along the same route pass each other the drivers will wave and maybe even honk the horns, sharing a few seconds with someone else who does what they do. It’s something one of my coworkers would call a “collegial moment”, although I work in an office with a lot of other people and if I didn’t pass by someone every few minutes I’d start to wonder if there was a meeting I was supposed to be in or maybe worry that I was like Earl Holliman in that Twilight Zone episode, but that’s another story.
Then there are those times when the bus I’m on comes up behind another bus and starts following it and I wonder who’s fouled up the schedule and, more importantly, why I couldn’t be on the bus that’s in front so I could get home a few seconds earlier.
Anyway last week the buses were either running extremely early or extremely late; either way it doesn’t matter. All I know is I was having to wait a really long time and every bus that came along was packed with people. And then late in the week I had to work late and caught a later bus that was completely empty except for me and the driver.
“Not a lot of people riding at this hour,” I said.
“Nobody knows when the buses are coming or going right now,” she said. “They’ve got us on a whole different schedule.”
“Why is that?”
“They won’t tell us. Maybe it’s because they’re renovating the downtown terminal, maybe there’s construction somewhere on the route they’re not telling us about.”
I thought about saying that every business has at least one group of workers who are treated like mushrooms–kept in the dark and fed shit–but decided not to. Then we stopped at an intersection and another bus turned in front of us and went ahead.
“See,” she said, “he’s all confused. I know who that is. He forgot he’s supposed to be on the alternate route and he’s only doing what he’s supposed to now because he saw me.”
There was a lot to think about there, including the fact that, for once, I was glad to be on the slightly slower bus. I wouldn’t want to be on a bus driven by someone who couldn’t follow directions.

8 Comments

  1. Red

    That’s messed up! I’ve not tried the Da Nang bus system. Apparently it’s pretty good, but it’s new, and nobody seems to understand it yet.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Nobody understands the old bus systems either. Nashville is only upgrading its mass transit in fits and starts, but somehow I think Da Nang leaves it in the dust.

      Reply
  2. Jay

    Bus rules are meant to be broken I guess, and bus schedules are a cosmic joke.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      In all my years of riding the bus the only rule that’s absolute is there are no rules.

      Reply
  3. mydangblog

    That was such a great episode. Reminds me of I Am Legend, which was a bit like that at the beginning, until of course, the zombie/vampires appeared.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s funny you should say that since Richard Matheson, who wrote I Am Legend, also wrote several Twilight Zone episodes. Although don’t overlook Earl Holliman. He was not only the star of that episode but he was in Forbidden Planet as the ship’s cook.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    Sometimes I wonder, “Where is everybody?” and then I travel over here and know I’m not alone. Thanks, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      A line attributed to C.S. Lewis is “We read to know we’re not alone.” It turns out he never said that, but the thought it what counts, and I’m glad for your comments that remind me I’m not alone either.

      Reply

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