It does not seem like there is much to say about buses. The dictionary defines them as ‘large motor vehicles, having a long body, equipped with seats or benches for passengers, usually operating as part of a scheduled service’. Actually, like everything else, there is not only one kind of bus.
There are: omnibuses, which can be urban or suburban; single-deckers and double-deckers (depending on whether they have one or two floors); diurnal or nocturnal buses and 24-hour ones; route-masters, typical of London; and even tour buses for major cities and mini-buses for small towns. There are yellow, red, gray, orange, and blue ones. All this just to say that even what seems to be the most trivial thing comes in a lot of different shades… As it happens, people who ride buses do, too!
I do not know if you often move by bus, if you play dead to keep the seat next to you free, or if you look at the faces of those who sit next to you, or not. That’s what I do- look at the faces. It is like playing Guess Who and trying to guess profiles of people you actually know nothing about. Buses are like small worlds, where all varieties of human beings are forced to together, and where seats identify their social statuses too.
Who, for example, has met the so-called one life one suitcase people? They sit beside you silent and impassive, with a suitcase tightened between their legs, while you wonder where they are headed – if they are going back home, or running away from it.
The screaming monkeys follow in frequency, craving attention and not bothering to moderate their voice and like shouting their lives over the phone. Such exhibitionists!
The grannies want to know everything about you, while the parrots tell you everything about themselves without being questioned.
Seldom you can meet a wizard, the fellow who looks really old, submissive, and constantly sad, but, once seated, takes out his hypermodern laptop, showing you that his life is way more interesting than yours.
There are so many characters! Everyday someone new just pops out of the closet! But among them all, which is the best one? Hard question to answer. Ask a boy and he will tell you it is the pretty blonde girl; ask a girl and she will answer it is the dark seductive guy with headphones in his ears. Ask me and I will tell you it is the person who can read a book ignoring all the noise around.
Have you ever stopped to look at the kinds of people on the bus, imagining what their stories could be while they reading their paper? Their ability to forget everyone else and focus on what makes them dream for a while is stunning. And what better place to do it than a small moving theater of the world, where everyone is the embodiment of a different character?
It may not be the same for you, but the next time you are on a bus, look around you, and remember to unleash your imagination. Take your eyes off the screen of your phone for a bit.
Trust me: it is going to be really fun!
Photo credit: Nicola Simonetti