Friday, February 6, 2009

the bus - a continued analysis

So there I was. With hundreds of others in line at the Commercial/Broadway Skytrain station. Waiting for the 99 B-Line to UBC. As per usual, when the bus filled up I stepped aside and waited for the next one to come, opening the way for hurried travelers to rush up and cram themselves into the accordion-connected rectangles.

And cram they did.

And then nothing happened. For about 10 minutes, nothing happened. The doors stayed open and the bus - now brimming with increasingly stressed commuters - stayed still. No one went anywhere.

And then another bus pulled up behind the first one; the full one; the stationary one. Still, nothing happened. Nobody went anywhere.

And then the second bus driver got out of the second bus. Looked around; looked confused. He got back in his bus.

Nothing happened.

People, given the curious circumstances, waited pretty patiently. And then something happened. The second bus driver, now perched keenly behind his steering wheel, honked his horn and beckoned to the three line-ups of people to come over and get in his bus.

Pandemonium ensued. Pan-freakin-demonium!

Line-ups, be-gone! Order, be damned! It was every person for themselves. As we rushed toward the second bus I found myself mockingly shouting, "People, there's gotta be a better way!" - a few of my busing brethren hesitated and, perhaps, reflected. But most of us just powered through the crowd. My subconscious might've just made a brilliant and distractive gambit, because not only did I get on the bus, but I got a seat!

And all this got me thinking about a conversation I had with a not-so-young man a month or so ago. We were talking about climate change, food security and if there is any hope for humanity. End of the world kinda stuff. He had (and still has) kids. So I asked him, "Given your bleak opinion of our future, what should we be teaching kids these days?" He paused thoughtfully: "How to grown their own food. And self defense."

Fair enough. And, this morning, I got a glimpse of what the future might hold for our communities.

This morning, the simple, every day order of a lineup crumbled so effortlessly at the honk of a horn and the wave of a hand. How are things going to go if/when less food comes into Vancouver than there are people who live here? The mettle of our communities will be tested on that day, my friends. What's your plan?


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