Commuter Nightmares

You’re walking to your nearby bus stop, as you see your bus pull up. You pick up your pace, even start sprinting, carelessly swinging your backpack as you look for your UPass at the same time.
Your heart starts to beat faster than usual.

You only hope the bus driver senses your panic and waits as you get closer and closer..

At that very last moment, when you’re oh so near, so close, you see the bus flash its glaring yellow signal and slip away without a second glance.

If it’s hard to picture the sulking phase of sadness this leads to, the following animation perfectly illustrates it-

Perhaps this is the nightmare that haunts us bus travellers, or maybe its when you have to cross the road to get to your bus stop and the traffic lights are not in your favour, as you thump repeatedly on the sensor.

Or maybe its –

I should stop before this gets too scary.

Whichever scenario it may be, we can collectively agree that commuting by bus can be quite a hectic journey.

And once we get ON a bus, a whole new struggle begins- finding a seat.
If you’re like me and like to peacefully gaze through a window while listening to music and pretending you’re in a music video, then finding the right window seat can be important.

But if you have no preference, then too, finding a seat is important as it gives you time to recollect your thoughts and plan ahead.

But as much as there is to complain about Public Transit, I’ve learnt to look at the experience in a different way: Have you ever noticed? When we get on a bus we always choose the “empty spot,” the one with no one nearby, two-seats that we can claim to ourselves.

I’ve done this many times, and have pondered each time- is that who we are as humans? That we wish to distance ourselves from other people? A long time ago, humans huddled, they yearned to be closer to one another. Of course, it may have partially been a survival issue. But the sentiment was pure.

As I look around the bus, I see various sorts of humans. They may not be familiar faces, but all it can take is one conversation to break that barrier. We don’t have to look for the empty areas of the bus, what is stopping us from sitting next to someone we may not know?

I did that once, and I met a pilot from Dubai who was going home to surprise his family. Another time, I met an upper year student coincidentally, in the same program as me.

Not gonna lie, it’s scary.

Not this scary, but definitely 0.01% of that.

But at the same time, it’s exciting. It gave me a sense of belonging like no other. Many times, we hear about the cruelty of the world, it’s easy to forget that we’re all people, we all have at least one thing in common. To start off, that person is taking the same bus as you.

Whether it is an awkward observation about the weather, or it is a complaint about the bus that you might both share, it can be hard to think of the first thing to say. But you can do it.

TRY IT, I dare you 😉

[Warning- Do not sit next to someone who may look dangerous or unsafe]

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3 thoughts on “Commuter Nightmares

  1. I’d try it but…. my commute hours are literally the only quiet time I get to myself, and I think a lot of people would agree with me on that. Don’t forget that long time ago when people used public transit they didn’t communicate with each other either and preferred to read the news paper. I’m usually too tired to waste any social energy to attempt to get to know who’s next to me, especially if they might have social anxiety or whats so ever, I think people’s boundaries and private spaces should be respected.

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    1. Everything you said is true, there are so many times on the bus where I just feel like sleeping! We all need to be in our zone during commute, completely understandable.
      But I just speak of the ideal.. it can be something we all aim towards, or at most, even be aware of. Sometimes on the bus, I hear interesting conversations I wish I could be part of, or look over at a person’s playlist that happens to be really similar to mine, or spot someone reading a book that sounds intriguing. At these times, I wish I had the confidence to approach people!
      As for the social anxiety, I feel like we all have a mild version of it within ourselves, all until we meet someone that makes us forget about it, be it our best friend or whoever. I’m not saying the person next to us will be our BFF, but perhaps we can each be little less hostile while commuting, look around, and smile once in a while 🙂 You never know.

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    2. Wow mahika made such a polite and postive response to what you said, amazing. Maybe that’s what you should aim for too?

      I won’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think a majority of us would agree with what you said.

      Don’t want to talk to anyone ? put on some earphone, cross your arms,look angrily out the window. But don’t discourage other people for wanting to be friendly.

      I don’t think mahika meant to approach someone EVERYTIME you’re next to someone on the bus. We’re not idiots, we would know when someone doesn’t want to talk.

      What mahika is trying to convey is a postive attitude. I’d hate to live in a world where strangers are the coldest, most indifferent and unapproachable people…

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