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Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Backwards busriders

Next time you're on the bus watch for the people that choose to sit facing in the opposite direction to travel. Not those who do so because all the other seats are taken but people that actively choose to do so, they're a bit different (rare too).

Going backwards makes most people a little queasy, these people are tougher than that. They are so accustomed to public transport that motion sickness long ago ceased to be a problem for them.

A lot of people don't always know where they're going or at least like to be able to see their stop to make sure they get off in time. The backwards people aren't worried by this, they have their routine and they know the route so well, they know it backwards.

The backwards seats are the only seats on the bus that force you to look your fellow passengers in the eye, all at once. Other seats grant the comfort of staring at a seat-back but not these. These seats reveal the bizarre theatre of people on the bus, in public but in a confined, unnatural state of locomotion. Sitting backwards on a Saturday night-bus is an operetta.

These people spend their journey looking from their point of departure watching the world go past them with their back to their destination, meeting it only when they choose to get off. In the mornings this means facing back toward home, watching it disappear into the distance. In the evenings watching work fade into the past.

Next time you're on the bus watch for the people that choose to sit facing backwards, they're a bit different.