Friday, February 25, 2005

A British Bus Adventure

I think one of the benefits of being in another country is that even the experiences of deepest inconvenience and annoyance can be viewed as some combination of adventure and cultural experience. Case in point: Today I decided to take the bus to ASDA (the British Walmart) which is the local grocery store of choice. The trip should take about 40 minutes--twenty minutes to get to the transfer point, ten minutes waiting around for the second bus, and ten minutes to pop up the road to ASDA. Well, I had completed the first two legs relatively successfully (I must admit I did miss my first stop, but I saw it as we passed and fortunately the next stop was not far down the road), and managed to board the second bus, confident that I was now nearing the end of my journey and would have plenty of shopping time before my Metaphysics lecture that afternoon.

I had not, of course, wagered on the possibility that it would be the bus driver's first day, which it was, nor that she would miss her turn, which she did. And then, as luck would have it, as she attempted to return to the place where she lost the route in order to get back on track, she found herself driving along right behind a bus of the same line travelling the opposite direction (away from ASDA and towards the town centre). And the driver of the other bus, seeing her right behind him and assuming, I guess, that he was behind schedule and she was supposed to be on this return route, continued past the huddle of people waiting to get into town, gesturing back towards our approaching bus. When our busdriver stopped to let a passenger off, this crowd, who were, admittedly and most unfortunately, standing out in the sleet and having been just passed by the bus they were supposed to be taking, wanted to know how they would now make it to town. After quite some time of conference over phones and walkie talkies, the crowd got on the bus and, without any clear indication of what was now going on, we continued down the road. After a few turns it became apparent that we were headed in quite the opposite direction of the ASDA, the bus having apparently suddenly reversed its route. As I began to consider whether I should stay on the bus until it got to the city centre and turned back around towards my desired destination, or get off at an upcoming stop and try to find a bus going the proper direction, an official-looking man boarded the bus and, a few stops later after further walkie talkie communications, asked how many people on the bus had been planning to go to ASDA. Four of us raised our hands, and he told us we should get off the bus there, and cross the street to transfer to another line, which would take us in the right direction. So eventually, we did manage to make it there. And really, I saw parts of Brighton I might otherwise never have seen, and got a good story out of it to boot. So although the journey did end up taking about twice the time, I suppose in the end it wasn't a total waste after all.

So that was my main adventure of the day. I also watched two movies--the Stargate movie (Toby has all the Stargate episodes (this is a sci-fi TV series about a wormhole to other planets, which is actually quite interesting) on DVD, so I occassionally join him, Ben, and Jay in their process of watching them all) and Justin's philosophical Waking Life, which was a very interesting, artistic, and intellectual movie, so if you like that sort of thing, I definitely recommend it. It touches on a lot of philosophical questions, with a focus on dreaming and reality and communication. And then afterwards Justin and I got into a discussion of free will and whether or not one should believe we actually have it. No real resolution yet, but we're working our way towards one, perhaps, and it's an interesting conversation in the meantime. Then I returned home to fashion a dinner of veggies and soy mince, which is actually quite tasty! Anyway, those were my adventures of the day. Not Stratford or anything, but I think the little experiences are just as important as the big ones in cultural experience. Don't you?

2 Comments:

Blogger Mistress Morwen said...

You're fabulous! Congrats on getting to the equivalent of walmart and back. Sounds like a good adventure. I wish you'd had a camera...

The show went well. We taped both shows, though we missed inertia. Can you email me your mailing address again sometime soon, so we can send you a large happy package?

Cheers.

5:47 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

Alass! Have I been replaced by another locationally superior Justin? Say it isn't so! *Shake fist* To the story I can definitely relate, buses can be a nightmare on their better days. Keep up with this rolling account of your travels, I'm most definitely enjoying them.

-Justin- (The REAL one!)

5:56 AM  

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