I ran down the Lougheed bus island, trying to keep the contents of my bag from flying out and trying to make sure the bus wouldn’t leave without me. I wouldn’t want to stand 30 minutes for another bus in the cold fog…
Until I noticed that the bus driver was walking to the bus himself. I slowed down, caught my breathe and walked on behind him. Turns out, I had seen him before. The conversation went as follows:
ME: Oh, hello again! How are you doing?
Monsieur le bus driver: Oh hi there. I’m excited to finish this round. I’m leaving on holidays for 2 weeks. My wife and I are going to Cancun.
ME: Wow! That sound’s lovely..given the weather and all…
Monsieur le bus driver: Haha yea, my wife has been looking up the temperatures and it’s 80, 85 [Fahrenheit].
ME: Well you’re all set to have an amazing holiday then! [show him bus pass and take a seat at the back]
I think it’s important to note that ‘Monsieur le bus driver‘ was willing to have a conversation. There are many bus drivers that, in the course of my transiting, don’t like to talk very much, other than a simple acknowledgement of your ‘Proof of Fare’.
It was magical what happened next. The girl sitting beside me smiled at me as if she were acknowledging my openness to talk and not bury myself in my own world. The gentleman who got off 7 bus stops later turned around and smiled at me as if to acknowledge that he had heard the conversation too.
And those two gestures got me thinking. What if we could have a conversation on the bus? I realize that we are all running to work, going to the mall, meeting friends, trying to get somewhere. But can we all create an environment of dialogue even while transiting? What if we were to post notices of a ‘Dialogue on Wheels’ to happen on a certain bus route at a certain time? What if people actually came and talked to each other? Acknowledged each other’s presence?! Would the bus drivers feel more inclined to come to work? Would they be comfortable with it?