This is another of those things that I feel compelled to write just because I have a blog. It has nothing to do with music. You should probably ignore it.
As I crossed our main drag at dusk today, I stopped on the white line to let a muddy yellow and white city bus groan by. Beside the door on the other side, I knew, the capacity was recorded — Seats 39.
Four people sat scattered about inside.
What rolled over me (in place of the next car in the lane I was crossing) was a chest-filling sense of unlikeliness. How have our lives evolved so that we use an eleven ton box on wheels to carry four people?
A Martian stopping by for a visit might wonder, are these the elite? Do the empty seats symbolize privilege? What in the name of Valentine Michael Smith* is going on here.
I know the answers of course, and I lay them out here to impress (maybe my second grade teacher. I don’t expect them to impress you):
- The buses carry many more people over the course of the day.
- These people are decidedly NOT the elite.
- The buses have to carry the few at times to make the service work so that they are there to carry the many (and the many are there to be carried).
- This is worth doing because even though these huge machines use deranged amounts of energy, and their carbon paw prints are the size of mastodons’ . . .
- . . . they use less energy and pollute less per person than automobiles do.
But this just moves the question along. My Martian guest would then be inspired to ask about the unlikeliness of automobiles. There, before and behind and beside the bus are smaller boxes, each using about two tons of steel, each gulping gas, moving one person someplace.
Wait! No! There’s one with two people.
* A super-nerdy reference to Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Stranger in a Strange Land, about Martians among other things.