Last week was spectacular - the kind where you have nights that you don’t want to end, and when they inevitably do you go home thinking about them and wishing for the next one to start; loads of smiles, meaningful conversations, and happiness.
Which made this one pretty much a bore. No offense to those who actually spent it with me, but there’s not as much leaving me wanting for more than the last one. There was a lull, and come Monday evening, I felt an urge to fill the void.
So I went for a bus ride. A long one.
I love bus rides. They’re just one of my versions of “sit down and watch the world go by” - romanticizing the moment and not heeding the evil shadow of reality. It is a ruthlessly innocent permutation of kiddiness that I have come to be known for at the O.
But this one was different. I had a purpose in mind - a reflection was in order, an excavation into my person given the situation of things - and the bus ride was going to help me chase that eventual conclusion.
A friend told me today that you can’t be yourself when you’re in the office, and I said I found it sad that we are more often someone else than ourselves.
On the bus I am me, a sad little person cramped into the back seat, looking carefully at each and every person that boards and alights. In the back of my mind was the reason I had come, but the allure of people-watching was too great to resist.
There were a lot of factory and construction workers - lugging their hauls of big bags from Little India back to their quarters. A couple boarded the bus, a sweet-looking girl too young for her choice of clothing accompanied by a starry-eyed boy too smart for his choice of clothing. Behind them were a group of Chinese immigrants, voices drowning the music from my Motorola wireless headsets (shameless plugging to be apologized for), who seemed lost because they kept asking each other if their stop was the next one.
The Indian man seated next to me kept looking out the window to my left, stretching his skinny neck out in an attempt to see through the darkness and reflections. His comrades noticed him and started talking to him, possibly providing guidance on where his stop was. They contributed to the lively exchanges by the Chinese and the man stopped craning his neck.
At this point I realized that all was simple in the search for an answer to my query. There was a beauty to the happenings on the bus that makes you feel like you’re a part of a big performance that plays itself out no matter what you try to do. It belittles you, removing your individuality and slapping you with the hot poker of being “just one of the people”, but you don’t mind because you’re enjoying the ride.
I had my answer, and then it was time to pick on the little things - the air conditioning was too cold, and someone brought the scent of durian onto the bus.
3 hours on the road, and I return home happy.