And here comes yet another important milestone!
I started the day feeling pretty excited because I was about to ride on my 150th Ride of 2017. But amidst the excitement, I do have to admit I felt worried. Since on Saturday, Spaceship wasn’t around for my trip home, I wondered whether it was going to be around today.
I walked to the bus stop at my usual timing. I almost reached the junction when I saw about 5 people standing across the road, about to stop a bus. At the exact moment I reached the junction, the bus stopped. It was an aircond bus. All of them hopped on board, including that old man who always looks at me with an irksome face. He was staring at me, as if saying haaa you’re going to miss the bus once again, like how he looked at me in the past.
I saw that the driver was Woi-man. I glanced at my watch. This isn’t supposed to be Woi-man’s timing. Something’s not quite right.
And then I remembered how back in a few months ago Woi-man was rushing as he passed by my stop right before Ironedshirtman arrived. At that time, Ironedshirtman said Woi-man’s bus had just exited the workshop.
Using this as a very important point of reference, I made some quick judgements in my head. I had to act fast. The choices were obvious: Hop on that bus, or just walk straight to the bus stop.
I didn’t want to make it appear as if I had missed Woi-man’s bus right in front of that bus, seen by all the passengers on board and Woi-man himself. Knowing Woi-man’s character, how he would gladly ignore people who chase his bus, made me want to act as if I was rushing to not miss his bus but make a quick twist in the story, by walking straight ahead and ignoring the bus completely. I didn’t want to be the loser who had just been left by the bus. I wanted to appear badass, give a idgaf look, and show the world that I was waiting for another bus, the next bus that I love so dearly, and I really don’t care about missing Woi-man’s bus.
Only by doing so, I could make it rather apparent that I wasn’t hoping to get that bus in the first place.
So that’s exactly what I did. I crossed right in front of Woi-man’s bus, and I didn’t stop a bit until I reached the bus stop. Then I watch the bus leave. I ignored the fact that people who were watching might be thinking that I’m crazy for not hopping on that bus.
And so began the long wait. Quite agonising, I must say. Part of me said oh you utter fool, what have you done? Part of me said, just wait, you know what you’re doing.
The belief that I held on to was this some sort of theory: Woi-man’s late, that’s why he’s there at Ironedshirtman’s timing. This brings us to the next theory: When a bus is late, it can only be caused by a few factors, one of it, the major factor, is the flow of the traffic. In this case, I was guessing that there must’ve been a terrible jam from the town at the other end of the route. And then we could further expand this situation and see the bigger picture: A jam means that the subsequent trips will also be affected. Woi-man’s trip is the one right before Ironedshirtman’s. If one bus is late because of the jam, the next one will be late too, at least until the traffic flows back to normal again.
So even though Spaceship did not appear at its usual timing, I found myself not worrying at all. Well maybe to say that I wasn’t worrying at all is a lie. I did worry, but I remained hopeful. It could be wishful thinking, but I trusted my theory.
During this long wait, a woman came and waited at the side of the road. I didn’t want to join her. I remained at the bus stop, not quite sheltered from the scorching sun, but felt more sheltered there nonetheless.
When it almost reached half an hour after Spaceship’s usual time, I was already beginning to drop down all hopes. But lo and behold, I saw an STC bus. It was pretty far to make an accurate judgment of which bus it was going to be, but it wasn’t really hard to guess. MoustachedMan wouldn’t appear at that sort of timing. And there’s no other STC buses which could possibly appear at that moment. I knew which one was that going to be. It was my Spaceship.
Off I marched, joining the woman at the side of the road, swallowing the last bits of my packed toast I had just started to eat at the bus stop, something I did purely out of boredom. I greeted the woman with some small talk about how that bus was late, and when Spaceship stopped, I let her board first.
Ironedshirtman was obviously rushing. I was in a particularly upbeat mood, maybe because yesterday’s coffee was still in my system. As I handed over my money, I greeted him, “Lambat aritok, boss.” Yes folks, the exact form of greeting I gave Capman in which that old man responded to me with a villain-like MUAHAHA. This time, I received a different response though. “Aok” was all Ironedshirtman said, and it sounded half-hearted. I expected him to at least say, well yeah there was a terrible jam y’know. But he didn’t. It’s either he doesn’t like talking to me, or he wasn’t in a good mood because of the delay, or both, I don’t know.
I chose the seat at the middle door because that was empty. My favourite seat was taken, and I didn’t want to sit so close to other people. The Elite Passenger Club Member Seat was empty though, but I didn’t feel like sitting there after getting the lukewarm response. Some days you just don’t feel like you’re in the club.
We passed by the subsequent stops without picking up any familiar faces. Of course everyone’s gone, everyone hopped on Woi-man’s bus, ha. The ones still around were not regulars on this ride, but probably regulars on the next one, which I know was going to be the CPL bus driven by Whitecapman.
At the traffic light, Capman on Creeks was about to make a turn into the next lane to travel up on the opposite direction. Like I said once, Capman and Ironedshirtman are bros—they didn’t ignore each other, but they exchanged a mixture of hand gestures.
The journey continued pretty slowly. There were times, of course, when the traffic was smooth and the bus was in full speed, but there were certain traffic light stops which felt long. Some passengers were annoying (like the one who smoked behind me, and a middle-aged man who gave me weird looks as I struggled to tame my bedhead, the result of hairspray and a fully-opened window of a moving bus.)
There was a lizard just above the window of the ladies in front of me, but thankfully we were separated by the middle door, so I felt safe. If that wasn’t the case, I would’ve moved to another seat right at the moment I saw that lizard.
The weather was hot and humid, the early morning breeze had left a long time ago. I finished one bottle of water on the ride itself. There were signs of rain in certain areas earlier in the morning, yet still the heat was lingering in the air.
We reached the station on Spaceship’s time to actually leave the station. That’s already pretty late for Ironedshirtman so I wasn’t sure at what time did he leave after that. He quickly turned the engine off and rushed to the washroom. That’s a pretty rare sight because he’d normally just sit there, wait until everyone gets off, then close the middle door.
I was the last to leave the bus. It was a good ride but a pretty ordinary one, but quite out of the ordinary because of the timing. I expected a more memorable ride for such a pretty milestone, but then again you can’t have it all.
And that was my one hundred and fiftieth bus ride of 2017!
Seat: Middle door, left side.