bus1I live pretty far out of the way in Brooklyn (my girlfriend refers to it as ‘Siberia.’). It’s the sort of area where I find myself looking for a dead body every time I go out for a run. Not that my neighborhood is particularly dangerous, it’s s just desolate. There are warehouses everywhere and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway cuts right through it. I imagine that anyone driving around with a body in their car (I mean, come on, who hasn’t been in that situation?) would find my neighborhood the perfect place to dump a corpse. Living in this isolated and possible body dumping ground has given me a unique situation to enjoy the city’s mass transit system, I have to take a bus and two trains to get into work (it’s not as bad as it sounds), and I’ve noticed something.

It seems that people prefer to ride the subway trains over riding the buses. A friend recently went on a rant about how he hates riding the bus claiming that it’s always “crowded” and “stopping all the time,” but this guy takes the L train everyday, and I was riding it this morning—smushed up so close to another man that in any other situation it would of looked like we were going to kiss (for moment, I thought we might) and stopping a few times under the East River because of “train traffic ahead.”

I think people hate riding the bus because there’s a schedule. When you’re waiting for a bus, the sign at a bus stop tells you how much longer you have to wait, along with pointing out just how close you missed the last one. But if you’re waiting for a train, which has no posted schedule, there’s the constant possibility that the next one can come at any minute. Then when the bus is late, everything is out of order, and it feels like it could be hours until the next one (oddly, the next bus can never be about to show up at any minute). In Washington D.C., the Metro has electronic signs that display an exact countdown to when the next train arrives and it feels something like a cross between the two experiences. They’ve tried it on a few subway lines in New York, but if you’ve ever been in the Bedford Avenue Station in Brooklyn, you know they’re always off.

Last week, I watched a guy at the bus stop just about lose his mind because the bus was late. He was pacing and walking out into the road to look for any sign that it was coming, cursing under his breath. I just didn’t get it. What was the logic of trusting the accuracy of a schedule produced by the New York City Metro Transit Authority, an organization that you then can’t expect to keep to the schedule? And getting angry didn’t make any sense either. Rage won’t make the bus get there any sooner; it’ll just put you in a bad mood. I’ve started to ride the bus like the subway, with no expectations of when “the next one” will get there. I just don’t look at the schedule when I get to the stop.

It makes my whole commute feel like I’m hitching a ride on an untamable force, like the current of a river or the flow of wind in the sails. It’ll get you there when it get’s you there. You just have to enjoy the ride.

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