Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thoughts on Public Transit Systems and Human Nature

A few weeks ago I was getting on a bus... you might think that this is the start of a fantasy novel full of flying suitcases and boy-wizards looking for elusive magical ingredients, like stripper's thongs. That as I stepped on the bus, it took off, but not down the road, but down another tunnel. Into a giant ant's brain, where a universe not like out own exists, except with a lot less autonomy and much more sand. Alas this is not how the story goes (not yet at least), today I will explore human nature and how I came to shed a tear on my bus ride back home.

I was getting on a bus, maybe more trying than actually getting. It was late, there were a lot of people, and no real line-up in sight. People were pushing and shoving when the bus pulled in, and more than not, people that just arrived were pushing people who had waited much longer.

It was at that moment that the world slowed down, my head exploded, and I realized that human-society was doomed. After all, here I was: standing in a sea of people who pretty much represented a good cross-section of Toronto's population, being shoved and pulled because someone didn't have the decency to wait for their turn to get on a bus. On the surface these people were not lacking food to eat, water to drink, money to pay for the bus, or were in any immediate danger of being shot. Yet the way the bus was being filled almost made me think that the end of the world was coming, and I was the only odd-one-out who didn't hear the warning signal.

There were people who refused to wait for people to get off the bus first before they barged in, and tried snatching a seat or two for themselves. As I decided to wait my turn and not push, I eventually did get home, but much later on a 3rd bus, that pulled-up 20 minutes after.

Now you might think, what is she raving about, she got home eventually. No broken bones, no broken feelings. But you see my friends something was broken, and that was my faith in humanity reaching a point where people consider others, and stop believing that they are the only ones entitled to be 1st in line. That was a realization that swooped in like a hawk, chewed through my hope that people can get along (even in dire circumstances), mostly because all in all we are not as selfish as Dawkins thinks.

So I waited my turn, took a seat and on my ride home and thought of all the people in the world, of all the potential for greatness, and of all the selfish bastards who think they are better than someone else, and I felt a tear run down my cheek. Only one though.

Usually I do not get as worked-up about people, but on that day at that time, I had a fleeting vision of how many people act, and I shivered at the thought of those same people and how many there are in the world, and it made me sad.

Since that day I have regained some of my faith, but not in humanity as a whole, just in some people. Still that bus on that day changed my life, which is strange because I have witnessed that on a daily basis come rush-hour and never before saw that which I elaborated on above. Strange thoughts are making their nest in my head, and alas they many not be all hummingbirds who eat honey, but dark crows who eat bunnies.

with a head full of song-birds and a few dark crows,
your sincerely,

1 comment:

Epic Worrier said...

It's shocking that after so many years of taking the TTC your faith in mankind was shaken up just now.
Anyone knows that TTC riders represent the "mob" mentality that made the 20th century so full of dangerous mass "movements".
And chivalry on the TTC is totally dead. I personally am just grateful for those few decent people who still give up their seats, who wait their turn patiently, who remain calm and cool - like you!