The bus driver greets me this morning with the most exuberant “good morning,” that I’ve heard in ages. My sleep-ridden eyes and bed-weary bones seem to immediately protest to his cheery demeanour that’s doing a pretty shabby job of hiding the fact that his bus is 10 minutes late. The computerized voice that announces the next bus-stop rings through the vehicle along with the irritating chime that they’ve installed the last couple of weeks, bringing a confusing nautical charm to an already frustrating daily commute up Main Street. But the bus driver, who’s apparently popping “good-time-sunshine-pills” this morning, feels the urge to announce the stops to the passengers as well, stifling the friendly computerized bus-lady’s voice into the background.
“And here we are at…. 25th avenue… KIIIIIIING EDWARD!”
And with that, I’m all of a sudden I’m transported to a time of trolley cars, stovetop hats and pinwheels, a time when there was more excitement in the little things. This old-timey age in my mind echoes an age of sounder planning and decision making, where I surely would have left more time to catch my morning transport than the thin margin I now allow myself. In this time I would have happily sat on the bench waiting for my ride with a smile on my face and a pipe in my lips, and it wouldn’t have phased me in the least if the bus was 10 minutes late.
But this morning, as gaily and cheerily as I was greeted, I still couldn’t help but be totally gutted by the tardiness of the bus and the added stress that it would add to my morning. Thankfully though, through this fictitious stress that I manage to accumulate, I take a moment to think about reliance; reliance on the services that we expect to have available to us at our beck and call, and the reliance that we have on the people in our lives.
I’m always amazed at the ability of public transit to completely fuck itself up schedule wise, when perhaps I should be more amazed at its ability to somehow co-ordinate itself in the intricate manner that it does. Busses, trains, and boats snake their way through our fair city every day creating what would seem to be a massive web of convoluted routes and patterns. So I ask myself this morning, is it fair of any of us to rely on anything other than ourselves, for, well, anything?
I’m sure that each and every one of us has found ourselves at one time, completely fixated on the silent phones in our pockets, or our empty email inboxes. I’m sure at one time each of us has fallen head over heels for someone, or at least convinced ourselves that we’re falling, when we’re in fact just getting hooked on a highly addictive form of sexual narcotic. I’m sure many of us have in an awkward situation, hidden behind the coat-tails of a friend, or sent another to deal with a problem that we don’t feel fully prepared to face ourselves.
Each and every one of us exhibits reliance on something; money, sex, power, and religion all play key roles, becoming enabling agents pandering love on street corners. Happiness, peace, and the devices in which we achieve them, all at once become sturdy crutches for us to rest our weary bones. It’s only when we can’t remember walking on our own that we should concern ourselves with this reliance. Spend too long on your crutches and you’ll all too soon realize that your bones have deteriorated and your legs no longer know how to stand on their own.
But once in a long while, the cell-phones in our pockets begin to buzz, and our inboxes are no longer the deserted expanses of cyberspace that they had so fervently let us believe. Once in a long while things turn around, the world surprises us, and we find this reliance isn’t such a terrible thing. The busses all seem to come down Main Street eventually. We all get where we need to be day after day. We all put in our time, clocking in and out. We get done what needs to get done, and we do it with the help of an intricate web of connections that all seem to come together when they need to. Once in a while the world surprises us in even the most irritating cheery voice, when all we want is a little peace and quiet.
People surprise us…
And… Once in a while, hopefully, we surprise ourselves.
This article was originally published at Homorazzi on August 23, 2009 as Reliance, and the Things we come to Fear the Most
Trevor Ellestad is a writer, an herbalist, and an ex-yoga teacher who spends his days creating plant-based magic at Vega. Trevor keeps a tidy home with his partner and their as of yet un-named spider monkey of a kitty cat in Vancouver, BC. At night, Trevor likes to surround himself with plants and obsess over the seemingly simple lives of cats and robots.