“Know how to travel from your town to a nearby town without a car, either by bus or by rail.” ~ Marilyn vos Savant
The old saying is, if you want to truly get to know someone, see how they act at home. But, if you ask me, if you’re at someone’s home they just won’t act as if they’re home. Even if you’re someone’s closest friend, you cannot capture someone’s ‘at-home‘ attitude by visiting them there. People don’t act their self when their closest people are around, but when there are no people around at all, or when there are simply no known people to see them. This is where bus rides come into play — to me, bus rides is like an open book where you can read about people’s characters.
There are people who spend their bus rides with a book, obviously avid readers as in my opinion bus rides are not the most comfortable reading place. Another group brings their own pillows from home in the bus so you know character-wise that comfort plays a huge part in their lives. Many girls do their make-up in the bus, so you can tell they are short on time (whether because they’re bad at organizing their time or because they’re very busy you can probably tell by whether they’re in a rush or not). Some other folks tend to sleep through their bus rides, and you can probably see if they’ve intentionally not slept so they can be sleepy there (this would be where I’d go, if you’re curious) or if they’re trying to fall asleep but are not tired so they cannot (so they’re just not sure how to spend the time). Another possibility are folks who are constantly chatting, whether to those sitting around them or on the phone, you just know they’re a very social person.
You could even look at people’s baggage (as in, see how they act around it, don’t peek into people’s baggage)! Did they leave all their baggage underneath the bus, thus implying they’re not very worried about their possessions? Or did they try to get everything up and place them around their seat, implying they’re clinging to their possessions? You can even see how well they handle organizing by seeing how much they have packed, but to make an estimate you would need to know where they’re going to and whether they’re going on a business trip or a vacation, or something else entirely (basically, you will need to engage in a conversation).
Look around the bus, notice who’s looking outside the windows with a sad look, you’ll know they’re worrying over something. Or find those giggling to themselves, you’ll know they’re remembering fun memories. Look at how they treat the ones sitting to each other — obviously an outgoing person would chat with the person next to them, while those who do not do well in an unknown person’s presence would do everything, including changing seats, to avoid sitting to someone. Their face expression when they glance at the fellow passenger could even tell you what they’re thinking of that person who is sitting next to them.
As with any good story, there are many characters with many plot-lines, and sometimes the book we read only captures one side of a story or not everything is as we initially assume as we tend to learn too late. Meaning, a bus ride may give us a wrong impression of a person, or it might not give as any impression at all, as stories have people who are just passing by or are simply mentioned once. If they’re of no importance then the reader would obviously forget them rather fast. But there are also those characters who leave a mark on our soul, whether it’s a good one or bad, and the next time you meet each other, even if it’s after many years, you would still remember that good old bus ride story. Because at the end, the life of every human being is a story, and bus rides are nothing more but a library bookshelf that contains these stories in books that come and go as the bus stops and moves.