Ebb and flow

68. 7pm. Top deck, near the back.

When your bus journeys are as long and as routine as mine, you begin to notice the ebb and flow of the people, especially on the top deck. It has struck me that the motion of people on the top deck resembles that of stones and flotsam on a beach as the tide comes in and out.

The top deck starts out empty. Then some people arrive and plant themselves in separate seats, mostly hugging the windows. The lighter people (students, children) float to the back, while the heavier people (weighed down with bags, shopping, computers) settle nearer the front. More people arrive, and the deck is gradually filled. When it is completely full, any new people brought on the inward tide to the top of the stairs have to flow downstairs again – there is no purchase on the top deck. When a lot of people get up to leave, the outward tide causes a redistribution of the remaining passengers; people near the back move forward to claim empty seats, thereby restoring the balance of the deck. And so it continues, through the busier parts of the route and the quieter ones, until only the deeply embedded stones are left.

This tickles me.


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