For anyone who ever wondered what difference could it make if I took this bus or the next one, I offer this cautionary tale.
My bus line has three different busses. The first is a short turn bus that only gets me half the distance I want to go. I never take this one. The second is the regular bus which cruises the entire length of the line and makes every stop as long as their are people waiting or people requesting a stop. The other is called the express because it skips one stop (just one), which happens to require a bunch of turns to get to. Most people reckon that the express saves about 8 to 10 minutes. I always catch this one in the morning.
The dilemma arises on my return home. Sometimes the express bus will arrive first and sometimes the regular bus will arrive first. I often have to choose between waiting five minutes for the express, which could potentially put me ahead of the regular bus, or just take the regular bus. Usually, once I have made my decision, I stick to it. Occasionally, though, sometimes, I wonder what if I had taken the other bus.
Recently, I boarded the regular bus and watched it get very crowded. I had a seat, and I was feeling pretty good about it. Then I saw that the express bus was pulling up behind my bus. In a rash move, I decided to take the express bus. I figured it would be slightly faster and perhaps a bit less crowded.
I boarded the express bus and took the identical seat I had been sitting in just a minute before. I watched the regular bus pull away feeling pretty good about my situation–smug you might call it.
My smugness was soon erased when several grubby and slightly intoxicated people boarded the bus and sat right next to me. I had foregone a good seat on the regular bus surrounded by nice, though somewhat phone texting oblivious people for a somewhat different group. Instead of being met by a lot of silence on the regular bus, I was treated to various profanity laced diatribes revolving around family dramas, beer, drugs, car theft and tips on how to run away from transit police.
It wasn’t a harrowing experience by any means, but slightly worse than the overcrowded bus I had left. I could spend a lot of time dwelling on what if, but as someone on the internet (don’t remember who) opined, I’d rather have a bunch of “oh well’s” rather than a bunch of “what if’s.” Sounds like good advice.
The worst part, after being boarded by the transit police twice to stamp out fare evasion–they caught and ticketed people both times–the regular bus swept past my bus when marshalling people of the bus took too long.