Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I wait for the bus like any other self absorbed university student, using the morning commute as a time to mentally assess my life and ponder the meaning of my existence. My ipod drowns out the immediacy of the world around me and slowly deteriorates my hearing decibel by decibel. Each day I am gradually becoming more and more deaf to reality. There is a broken fence where I sit beside two young girls. The girl nearest to me is scrolling through her iphone. I think about this joke where I would say, “mine is a rotary,” while holding up my ipod and spinning the click-wheel simultaneously. I don’t say it.

Suddenly the bus appears in the distance. We stand up collectively and form a line. The rusty brakes screech to a halt. The bus looks tired. The pneumatic doors open and let out an exhausted sigh: kfffhh! The Bus driver looks me directly in the face. His smile has an unwavering sincerity. Beside him is a crate of bananas. He hands me a banana and says, “Here! Have some breakfast.” I am humbled by the kindness of his gesture. Never have I felt more grateful for a piece of fruit.

I exchange glances with my fellow passengers. They are all holding bananas. There is even a baby holding a little banana. Or was it a plantain? The lack of available seats forces me to balance in the crowded aisle until the next stop. An older gentleman gets up and walks unsteadily off the bus. I sit down in his newly vacant spot, embraced by the warmth of the chair. The idea of absorbing someone else’s body heat feels strangely intimate and makes me uncomfortable. I shove my little white headphones into my ear canals as if to prevent my thoughts from seeping out. Selecting each song carefully, I create a poignant musical score for my reflections. I think about global warming. I think about the polar ice caps melting and engulfing North America in 200 feet of salt water. I think about the bus rising atop the flood like an ark and propagating life on earth after everything has died. I think about bananas.

I stare around the bus. Somehow there are even more people than before. Everyone looks so self-conscious and sad. I notice the iphone girl. She has her music blaring and though I am inches away from where she is sitting, we are millions of miles apart. I wonder what is going through her mind. If only these headphones were quotation marks. Then we could stick them on our temples and whatever we thought we would just say.

When we arrive at the university most of the passengers stand up and exit the bus. On my way out the door, I pause my song. “Thank you so much for the banana,” I say with a weirdly immense level of gratitude. I then examine the group of students as they start off in different directions. They’ve become a mob wandering campus with their bananas in hand. While part of me feels like I’ve entered a real life level of Donkey Kong Country, another part of me feels as though we are now all part of something bigger. Something containing extremely high levels of potassium…