You are in line for the bus. The line wraps around the corner of the block, towards the bottomless abyss of Never Getting to Class on Time. You text 99932 to the Knower of the Bus Times. The Knower of the Bus Times texts you that there is a bus 20 minutes away and a bus 10 minutes away and a bus arriving now. There is no bus arriving now.
Twenty-three people were in line in front of you. Now there are 27 people in line in front of you. You have not moved, but the Bikers believe their status allows them to get in line at the front. You know that is not how lines work.
An empty bus rumbles by. Its electric sign apologizes that it will not pick you up. Sorry, you may not get on. The people in line shuffle but keep their heads tilted towards the ground. They are looking at their phones and have been late to class before. You have never been on time to class this quarter. Only one person at UCSD has. They are about to get on the empty bus that just passed by.
The person behind you in line is standing too close. The person behind you in line always stands too close. It is always the same person. You have never turned around to look at him because that would be rude.
There is a business professional in line for the bus. The business professional has a job. The business professional needs to ride the bus to get to her job. She is the only real person in line. You are not real. The bus is real. You will never be able to get on the bus because it is real and you are not. Maybe you will become real once you graduate. Maybe not.
A roaring beast stalks up the street behind you. You dare not turn. Do not look the bus in the eye, your mother has told you. It can smell lateness.
The doors open and the bus driver makes his beast kneel. The bus driver was a camel driver in his past so he knows how. One person gets on the bus. Everyone in line takes one step forward. 26 more people get on the bus. 26 steps. The bus is not full yet. You can see into the bus now. The bus driver is a basset hound. The bus driver looks at your eyes. It is only by the grace of Colin Parent, the all-mighty and powerful Transit Policy Counsel, that there is a bus, the basset hound says. Be thankful, he says. The bus doors close.
“All things happen for a reason,” your best friend texts you. She is wrong. No things happen for a reason. Many reasons happen for no things. You sit down on the bench and look at your phone. There are ghosts inside your phone. You are in line for the bus.
Written by: Jen Windsor