Gone By


Welp, looks like I’m waiting for the next one.


I stood on the far side of the street and watched the bus that I wanted go by. It crossed the intersection, stopped at the stop, and continued on its way before the light even thought about changing I order to let me cross. I watched it disappear into the morning damp with a sense of resignation: there want anything I could do about it except feel sorry for myself. The next one would take forever, but it would be along eventually: I was just going to have to wait. 

The next bus did indeed take forever. I had plenty of time to think. I found myself contemplating the nature of waiting and opportunity: this was not a bus that you could see coming- the route turned a corner just south of the bus stop so the only way to know if the bus was near was to see it actually turn that corner. Still, it was more appealing to stare avidly at that intersection than to stare straight ahead into the flat, blank wall of the building across the street. I found myself counting the times that the light changed- each new signal change making the wait a tiny bit more onerous. How many more times did it need to change before the bus would arrive? Why hadn’t I tried harder to catch the bus that I’d already seen? What else could I have done? Nothing. Whether I wanted to accept it or not, I couldn’t have caught that other bus anyway, so there was no sense in dwelling on it. I wondered whether the wait would have seemed so long and frustrating if I hadn’t seen that other bus pass me by so infuriating close to my helpless grasp. 

Then, of course, I started to wonder how many other life opportunities I watch go by, helpless by timing or circumstance to catch them. Perhaps this is the reason for my perennial anxiety over missing opportunities: the next one might take forever to show up and in the meantime all that I can do is stare at the corner and watch the signal change. 

Assuming, of course, that there is another opportunity on its way. I can reasonably assume that there will be another bus, but truly there is no such guarantee about opportunity. Similarly, there is no guarantee that opportunity will take me where I’m hoping to go, whereas a bus will get me where I’m going, but might not get me there on time. There is, alas, simply no way to know. 

The bus did eventually show up a minute or two after I gave in and looked up its location on the bus tracker. Figures. If only there were such a thing as an opportunity tracker to know when the next window is preparing to open. Unless traffic is very good, in just going to have to prepare myself to be late and to make an effort to notify people appropriately. 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 11, 2017.

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