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The Really Exciting Bus Ride
Editor's Note: The following column was originally published in 2008.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I made up my mind to save the planet by taking a bus to the store, and let me tell you, that column was as exciting as a column about deciding to ride the bus could possibly be. Newspapers sold out around the world, and both the Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns suspended operations for the day, stating that there was no point in making speeches if "Cameron is going to hog all the media with his wonderful bus stories."
Ever since I wrote that piece, I've noticed that the people riding on buses look a lot more cheerful, smiling and waving out the windows, because finally someone has put into words what they've long known: You can't ride a bus if you don't first decide to ride a bus.
Taking the bus is not as convenient as the way I usually prefer to travel, which is in a stretch limo with someone there to give me a foot rub, like maybe Naomi Watts or even Tom Hanks, who said, "If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it." (Yes, he really did say this. Maybe not about riding a bus, but he did say it.) Bus schedules can be confusing if you're a man and don't like to read instructions, and for some reason they refuse to pick you up at your door and drive you straight to your destination.
But, having rather famously decided to take a bus — and yes, I'd accept a knighthood or other token of esteem if everyone wants to start some sort of grassroots campaign to honor me for this decision — it was now up to me to heroically take the next logical step, which was to get on the bus itself.
With a pneumatic hiss, the doors to an immense city bus threw themselves open and I stepped aboard, somewhat disappointed that there hadn't been more fanfare, like maybe a parade. I slipped my coins into the box, took my ticket and swayed down the narrow aisle to my seat, plunking down next to a man in his 30s who was clearly making a new start in the world, like so many of the passengers around me.
Was he off to labor in the fields, perhaps, or to weld parts or carry boxes? I asked him what he did for a living.
"I'm the CFO of a software company," he told me.
"Good for you!" I gushed, wanting to encourage him.
"That's what makes this country great, is that anyone can just print up a business card and call himself the boss!"
He frowned a little. "We had sales last year of $2 billion."
"That's wonderful," I said. "Hopefully one of these days you'll turn your dream into a reality!"
Everyone on the bus was very friendly. There was a man who asked me to stop talking and a woman who refused to show me her baby. Eventually, I found a window seat, remembering fondly the day that my friend Billy Bunting and I had thrown apples out the school-bus window. "Apples," I murmured. I'd pick some up at the grocery store to share with my new bus buddies!
"Be fun to pelt pedestrians with apples, wouldn't it?" I told the man sitting across from me, who told me he was an Episcopal priest. He pretended to find the idea unappealing, but then so did Billy, when I first thought of it.
With the sun streaming in through the glass, I grew sleepy and dozed off. I'm not sure how long I was out, though when I awoke I concluded that the bus on which I was riding must travel in one large circle, because what did I see out the window but my own bus stop! I pulled the signal cord and stepped off onto the curb exactly where I had gotten on, proud of how much I'd reduced my planetary carbon footprint.
So there you have it: Over two columns, I've described how I decided to ride the bus, and then how, when I finally got on the thing, I wound up taking a nap.
You just don't get more exciting than that.
To write Bruce Cameron, visit his Website at www.wbrucecameron.com. To find out more about Bruce Cameron and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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