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…


  1. [Man! I've heard of this fruit-doling bus driver! They were only rumours and whispers to me, of a driver with a carton and a breakfast mission, but now, It feels like I know him].... and That's where'd I'd like to start my comment. That is, on the fact that your descriptions allow me to easily feel a part of your expirience on this bus. I feel like I know exactly the feeling you were getting when you looked around and saw the faces, and thought about things, and wondered what everyone else was thinking-- that always seems to me to be an expirience more common to the bus than anywhere else, and it's one that you hit on in an awesome way.

    Also, I really appreciate the sense of humour you have in your post. It's almost this kind of self-deprecating humour that's sort of (to me) driven by a kind of grasp of absurdity too... Where you realize how strange the world really is, and how the big things in life can be tied to Bananas-- even when they can't.

    I liked that absurdity vibe a lot. The humour and nod to absurdity shines, I think at least, in the final three sentences, where we go to to Banana carrying campus drones, to Donkey Kong, to a greater meaning, and back to Banana's. What an epic way to tie it all together in a strange way.. in bigger to smaller, and absurd to real. Loved that.

    Also, I personally took a few things constructive to my own post out of this. Mine is about the bus too, and contemplation, but I feel like I didn't have just that pinch of humour to lighten anything-- and I may just have came off as pretentious. I'm not sure then, that *I* captured what I'd like to, in that regard-- So thank you for that indirect lesson to better my own approach.

    And what's more, I also liked the shorter sentences when they were nessecary like: "There was even a baby with a Banana", because taken with the other lines, it really gives the feel that I'm right there surveying the scene with you and making the briefest note out of something inconsequential, but odd.

    Anyway, ramble over,
    All in all, I dig it man! I dig it a tonne!


  2. I really enjoyed reading your first posting. I think it is interesting how you took something so seemingly insignificant like going on the bus to go to school and turning it into a thought process about the lack of connections that people have with each other.

    I think that your use of the iPod and music as a metaphor for your relationship is so poignant, especially when you state that “each day I am gradually becoming more and more deaf to reality” and “I shove my little white headphones into my ear canals as if to prevent my thoughts from seeping out.” I think that both of these statements make good bookends to your piece connecting the start of your piece to the finish.

    I like the way that you have intertwined the iPod and music pieces with the bananas. The contrast between them is so different, but they work together to show how people can connect to each other as when you say that “. . . another part of me feels as though we are now all part of something bigger” as you are getting of the bus.

  3. Hey, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I liked the relaxed, matter-of-fact tone. I feel you achieved this through your short sentences and details. Good work.


  4. I wonder how people used to drown out reality before headphones? Thats what really stood out to me and its an observation ive made before. People tend to live in another universe between points A and B. Excellent social commentary, i say that because you don't directly render an opinion but you still manage to hit that "whats wrong with everybody" nerve. Also excellent personificaton for the bus.