It was cold and windy. There was a light drizzle coming down mixed with sleet. My feet hurt and I’d been stuck in a late afternoon meeting in a building several blocks away from my office so my walk to the bus stop was even farther than usual. And I’d missed my regular bus by more than an hour. I didn’t have a schedule with me and experience has taught me schedules are unreliable anyway. Also I really couldn’t gauge how long the trek to my regular stop was going to be. It’s a rule of buses that even if you miss one another will be along eventually, but I wondered how long “eventually” would be. I really didn’t want to stand around on the sidewalk waiting for forty minutes to an hour but I really didn’t have a choice.
Then, still several blocks away from my bus stop, as I was waiting to cross the street I looked over and noticed half a dozen people huddled in a bus shelter. And it occurred to me that even though the bus they were waiting for would take me in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go it would, in about a dozen blocks, intersect with my bus’s route. It would be a short reprieve from the weather and there was still no knowing how long I’d be standing around but this bus could deposit me right at a stop where I could catch my bus.
The traffic light turned yellow. I didn’t have much time to decide. Would I or wouldn’t I?
I did. I shuffled over and joined the people in the shelter.
Now here’s the question for you: how did the people influence my decision?
They looked cosy in the bus shelter huddled together? You saw someone you knew?
Close but not quite. I’m afraid others have hit the right answer: the number of people in the bus shelter told me they’d been waiting for a while which meant the bus would be along shortly.
The more people waiting at the bus stop means some have probably been waiting a while. To me that means the bus would be there shortly. Less wait in the miserable weather.
Bingo. When I saw them all together I thought it couldn’t be long before the next bus came along.
Is the graphic a hint? You saw Spongebob with his GloveWorld balloon? By the way, that episode where he waits for the bus is hilarious every time I see it. And my kid watches Spongebob a lot, which means I’ve seen it A LOT. Seriously, I’m guessing that a large group of people means that the bus is due any time now. And it’s nice to be with other sheeple.
You’re right–the number of people waiting meant the bus would be along at any minute. And that Spongebob episode always cracks me up too. It’s one of my favorites, the other being the one where Squidward moves to “Tentacle Acres”. Actually just about anything Squidward does makes me laugh, and so does Patrick.
They had umbrellas.
I hadn’t thought of that but, yeah, that could have been an advantage if there wasn’t room for all of us under the shelter. Now that I think about it the shelter itself could have been a hint, but it was really knowing that with that many people waiting it wouldn’t be long before the next bus came along.
Perhaps it was a herd instinct for some kind of security? Perhaps the feeling that it was the ‘available’ bus at the time, and you felt you needed to get ‘somewhere’ because you felt some form of inertia, and simply going ‘somewhere’ would ease that? Just my 2 cents.
There was a definite feeling of inertia and a desire to go “somewhere”. The bus would also allow me to get out of the weather, if only for a few minutes. The important thing, though, was that seeing that many people waiting for the bus I knew it would be along soon.
I don’t know how other people influence other people, Chris. I can only guess. But I can tell you that your photo of SpongeBob influenced my decision about what to say in this comment — I remember that episode VERY well.
It’s probably the most memorable SpongeBob episode, although so many are memorable. The number of people at the bus stop assured me it wouldn’t be long before the bus came along–I wouldn’t even have time to run across the street for a kelp nougat crunch.
Oh good grief Christopher I just got off a seven night stretch at the hospital. I’m here to catch up on your posts and relax, and enjoy the very pleasant cadence of your writing. So in other words: I don’t know.
Holy mackerel, a seven night stretch at the hospital sounds pretty awful. I’ll make it easy: the number of people at the bus stop told me the bus would be along soon so I wouldn’t have long to wait.