The Bus Stop

June 7, 2009
By Simon Turkel BRONZE, New City, New York
Simon Turkel BRONZE, New City, New York
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There are two possible ways by which a person can live their life. One can trot through life happily, taking everything at face value, minimally questioning their surroundings, or one can thoroughly interrogate the life that faces them, questioning their mere existence and demanding an answer. The latter life may perhaps be less pleasurable than the former but the former may perhaps be less purposeful. This choice between former and latter is the cross roads faced by thousands by the day.

He woke up every day, took showers, ate breakfast, brushed his teeth. He went to school every day, he sat for hours at a time, sometimes an empty mind, sometimes possessed with thoughts and ponderings of our existence. He led a simple life, wrought with routine, routine that inhibited his perception of the world around him, routine that would soon come to a screeching halt. The bus was coming.

He would walk to the bus morning by morning but see no flowers and hear no birds. All he saw was a yellow school bus and all he heard was its engine. I’m sure he had the occasional thought that fell outside of his routine. Perhaps he would think of a girl, or a new friend, but the thought would quickly rush by with no reality to accept it. Until he tripped.

It was a beautiful spring day at the bus stop. The smell of the flowers carried for miles, and their vibrant colors could easily put a smile on anyone’s face. The grass was the greenest it had been all year and the birds had never chirped louder. But for Michael, all that existed was routine. He lived in a world of yellow engines with a terrible stench of burning gasoline. There were no birds to hear, no green grass to see, and certainly no flowers that could be smelled for miles. With such a routine drilled into his mind, he had lost the ability to perceive the possibilities that fell outside of his routine. His day was already planned, the future already existed. He was to get on the bus, go to school, go home, go to sleep, and get on the bus again. Variance was impossible.
As the school bus pulled up to its daily stopping point, Michael was still only halfway down his street. He had quite a ways to go yet to get to the bus and the bus was already ready to leave. He began to walk faster. While this was certainly not the most drastic change to his routine, it was a change nonetheless, and thus Michael’s routine of flowerless yellow engines began to deteriorate. By the time the driver was closing the doors of the bus, Michael knew he wouldn’t make it. He began to run, but with such a heavy bag on his back, what he thought was a run, when translated into reality, turned out to be no more than a slight jog at best. But he continued wholeheartedly with lame hopes of saving his routine from death. As the bus revved its yellow engine, Michael began to sprint, thoroughly changing his routine. His routine had no chance of survival. The routine was routine no more, the routine was leaving. Routine, routine, routine, with so much routine, routine would lose its meaning. The bus began to drive away and Michael had missed it but he didn’t stop running. He ran harder and harder, backpack and all. He couldn’t let his plan for the day die so easily, it was still so young. He ran harder than he had ever run before. Step by step he got closer to the bus but one step went awry. Michael tripped.
He fell pretty hard. He couldn’t move either leg, he couldn’t stand. At least he hadn’t fallen on his head, at least he could think. In fact that’s about all he could do, but perhaps it was for the better. He could think, but what would he think about? He could think about the day he would miss, sitting at his bus stop with two broken legs, but what good would that do? What did it matter? What did any of it matter? Why was he even here in the first place? Sex. No but before that. Michael wanted to know why any of us were here. But was that even an important question to ask? It was as if when Michael fell, when he tripped, so fell the dam of routine that held back his thought, and his mind was flooded with questions, many of which were dreadfully unanswerable. He sat and let the thoughts rush by; he pondered some and let others go. He continued on like this for some time until he came to a realization. He knew that if he continued such thoughts he would surely come to some reasonable conclusion regarding the nature of the world, but it wasn’t important. There was only one important thing in all of life, and that one thing was change. Had it not been for the fall he took on the way to the bus stop, Michael would not have come to any realization. Had it not been for his trip, Michael would have perhaps been taught grammar and addition, but he would not have learned a thing. A disruption of his routine is all it took. In fact, any routine would have the same mind numbing effect, not just a daily trip to school. If Michael had made a routine of pondering the world, he would be no wiser at the end of his ponderings. New Experiences are the root of all good . Routine is the root of all human evil.
The question is not whether one should live a purposeful or enjoyable life. In fact, there is no question at all. The answer is simply to live freely.

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