You get on the bus and look for a good seat. Avoid the groups of people chatting together and the person on their cellphone. If it’s at night, you’ll need the seats where there’s proper lighting. Preferably find a seat at the end of a group of three, so if someone else gets on they can find a seat without having to sit beside you. You want your space.
You also want quiet. This is hard to find in this city now that the bus company has committed itself to assaulting the senses with dings and bells and, worst of all, stop announcements: “Next stop, Thunderbird Boulevard.”
Earplugs are useful, but only against non-verbal noise, that iPod playing music or the rattles and hums – well, not so good about the rattles, and not good at all blocking out voices. The only solution is to ride only on express buses, where the stop announcements are blessedly few and far between.
Settled in, you open your book or your paper. A book on the way in to work when you’re fresh. The newspaper for after. All around are people reading on electronic devices; you certainly use such devices, at least the older generation of them, the desktops and the like, but mobile ones, no. You are behind the times, or it’s just your preference to stick to paper, or both.
You open your book; perhaps it is the French classic you’re reading for a French literature course. Or a biography of Cyril Connolly for an article you’re writing. You take out your pen and your paper notebook. You’re old school on that too. And you read and make notes. You stop when a thought strikes you. Perhaps you get an idea for a different sort of article altogether, an article on how you read and write while on the bus.
All the while you have your old-style black attaché case on your lap, serving as a sort of desk. Emily Brontë used to have something like that. You’re not really like Emily Brontë. Or maybe you are.
Life is good.