This morning I was sitting on the bus - I managed to get a seat despite the fact that the bus was packed at, like, 7:15 in the morning - staring at the navels and buttocks of the many passengers standing in the bus aisle, and I got to wondering: why is it that the bus is crowded on one day and then the same time bus is nearly empty the next?
I'm not talking about the bus on summer Fridays or Mondays being light. Those can be explained away as popular days off, three day weekends, etc. I'm talking about available seats on a Tuesday, and standing next to the entrance the whole ride on Wednesday. Not just the one time, either, but randomly and repeatedly over the course of the summer.
I tried to think of possible reasons. Are there holidays that I'm unaware of that large amounts of bus riders observe? Are there some offices downtown that schedule random late days or something?
And then I got to thinking how many variables must go into the amount of bus riders for any given bus. How many people are sick on any given day, or wake up late and miss their normal bus, or have to go in earlier than normal for a conference call? How many people normally don't take the bus but their car died on them last night on their way home from a midnight White Castle run and their only way in to work is taking the bus for the first time in seven years?
What about the bus that's just a shade late leaving the terminal, or that has to stop for a fire truck backing into the garage on Halsted, and that extra minute causes more riders to accrue at the bus stops, which adds to the delay and ultimately causes the bus to drop me off six minutes later than usual?
And then I got to thinking about how each of these navels and asses that I've been staring at in the aisle has their own completely different lives that somehow manage to intersect with every other life on that particular bus on that particular day and that they combine to slow my commute to work or deny me a seat. And I think about how I am potentially slowing the commute to work for someone else, who I am denying a seat on this particular morning.
And then I thought how I would prefer to have a magazine to read so that I had something to look at other than navels and asses.