In a society that suppresses adventure,
the only adventure becomes the suppression of that society

It is late, and we want to get home. To everyone's relief, the drunks are getting off to make a connection with another bus when one of them realises that he's lost his transfer ticket. As his friend lurches outside, urging him to hurry, this fellow staggers up to the bus driver and demands another ticket.

The bus driver would rather be in bed right now. He dislikes the new fare system his bosses implemented as much as the next guy, and would prefer to drive buses than deal with the public. The drunk doesn't take it well when the driver suggests that he take another look along the vast stretch of 15 feet between where the transfer was issued and where it was supposedly lost.

His friend leaves, meaning that this man now has nothing preventing him from haunting the driver all night long, if that's what it takes. As the bus pulls out, resuming its rounds, he advances past the "do not cross" yellow line and begins speaking loudly, buddy, trying to hammer home how innocuous his request is. Listen, he doesn't say, I'm an obnoxious and belligerent cheapskate. The bus driver is steering with one hand, calling in for assistance with the other as the sotted demander leans in on the expensive new ticket-issuing device. I pay my taxes! Now gimme my ticket!

Excuse me, sir, but by distracting the bus driver while he's in traffic you are endangering all of us on here on this bus. Would you please kindly come back here into the passenger area and let the man get on with his job!
I do not say this. No I do not. But it's just a matter of timing. The girl sitting across from me has a better idea, padding up to the fellow as I'm opening my mouth and offering him her transfer - unneeded, or worth less than the conflict resolution?

The goon, by now blocks and blocks beyond his stop, seems pleased by this turn of events - having made a public nuisance and spectacle of himself, he has gone the extra mile and frightened a bystander into making a sacrifice to appease him. But still the bus driver remains uncowed, so he feels he has a score to settle. The bus pulls up, making an unsolicited stop, and the front doors immediately behind the man open. He realises that this is what is known as a subtle hint, the offering of a final out before the boys in blue show up. But he wants the last word. As he turns to exit the bus, he lunges (unsuccessfully) for the bus driver's hat. Nimbly, the driver closes the doors, catching the offending arm (quickly withdrawn.)

As the bus pulls away the offered ticket, dropped during the attempted snatch, flutters to the floor of the bus. The girl makes no attempt to retrieve it.

"For how long will you be travelling?" the woman behind the counter asks. "Oh, it's just for an overnight trip to Seattle, so I'll take the shortest period of coverage." "That's a week," I nod, expectations met, "but I'll give you a couple of extra days of insurance. Here, this is good for nine days." I begin to protest, but she goes on. "And here, I'll make it good for international destinations too, at no extra charge - so you can dip into Mexico if you get the chance."

Uh. Maybe it was the star-eyes kicking in, or perhaps something more sinister - but for some reason or other, it seems that the insurance agent wants to do everything in her power to keep me as far away from Vancouver for as long as possible.

Clearly I should have followed her lead.

It takes me quite some while to warm to the idea of touching, but I am equally as slow to cool. (bogosity alert: the idea is instantly accessible - it's the actual practice that I balk at.) Sitting in the Greyhound bus, hurtling North at an incredible rate, my toes playfully grind against each other in the unobserved privacy of my shoes. Fingernails scrape circles into their ken, as interfinger webbing is tugged, stretched, twisted. Knuckles pinched and jostled, each individual phalange is rediscovered. Gently scratching my palm, it occurs to me that what I am doing is holding hands with myself.


in our last episode... | p_i-logs | and then, all of a sudden...