As it often happens during the Luxembourgish summer… June ends and endless rain start… This morning I woke up and there were buckets of rain falling outside. A bit annoyed I decided to tuck in the bike and use the public transport.
I walked to the bus stop equipped with my mask and a new e-book to start, resigned to spent a good 40 minutes in traffic.
Due to works in the main square in the City, a bulldozer was working in the middle of the road and the bus, along with many other vehicles stopped 100 meters before my bust stop. No way for the doors to open because a fence was dangerously close to it. After the first few minutes, people started to snort and murmur to each other. A woman walks angrily towards the bus driver and asks to open the doors, but the driver answers that it’s not just impossible, but also not safe.
An ‘office guy’ takes a picture of the traffic and mumbles about sending the picture to his colleagues to prove that he’s going late for a serious reason.
Time passes and after 10 more minutes, the anger starts spreading amongst my fellow ‘prisoners’.
As a good Italian blooded person, a flash of rage went across my brain.
‘Damn, I should have been at my desk already, stupid works in progress’, then, I took a deep breath and I started thinking…
My mind came back to all the situations where I’ve been stuck in traffic and I got pissed about it, all the time the car in front of me didn’t start Fast and Furious style once the traffic light turned green (FYI, the average time allowed for an Italian to start rolling once the traffic light is green is less than 1 millisecond). Does my angriness in such cases help my vehicle go faster? To catch up on the lost time? Nope. It just helped me feeling miserable for being late, thinking about all the work I had to do and the fact I had less time to do it. It helped me feel helpless against the traffic and frustrated, what a great way to start the day and most likely, ruin it.
Naah, not worth it. I’ll keep reading my E-Book.
10 more minutes go by, and at this point, half of the people are evidently annoyed by the situation. Murmurs intensifies, a couple of young males in the back starts letting out enough testosterone to claim the alpha male status, but not enough to be heard by the bus driver ‘He (the bus driver) should push the cars in front to him’, ‘If I was in the driver seat, I would go on the opposite lane, who cares? I have places to be’.
Will the collective anger help the bus driver use the Force and magically move the bus away from the traffic? Nope (also he doesn’t wear a Jedi’s muumuu nor carries a lightsaber).
I stop reading, the air is getting heavy and I kind of start being affected by the energy around.
‘There you go, 30 minutes wasted already. I have a ton of things to do and I’m on a bus.’, my mind goes back thinking all the time I’ve been late for the same reason and my boss couldn’t care less, on the contrary: ‘you should leave early. You need to be on time’.
‘Sure, I’m sorry, I forgot to see the traffic jam while I was reading my tea leaves this morning.’
The anger triggered by those memories starts to slither in my brain. I’m not going to allow this day to be ruined by an event beyond my control. Nothing good is going to happen if I get frustrated. I don’t work with my old boss anymore. There’s nothing I can do about the bulldozer, but I can always breathe.
Breath in… Breath out… Breath in… Breath out…
And my brain starts to slowly move (metaphorically, it’s not leaving my head, yet).
What’s going to happen if I’m 15 or 30 minutes late? Absolutely nothing. I will still have my green tea at the bar, having a chat with Christine, the barista, and I will still have a productive day.
Then I started noticing something, a warm feeling was replacing the hot flashes of fury.
I was feeling… love? That’s something unexpected… What’s that about?
I started to feel the need of reassuring the people around me. ‘It’s going to be fine, nothing is going happen if you spend some time on a bus’, I felt the need of smiling at Office guy (who seemed on the verge of killing someone) ‘Don’t worry dude, you’re going to do a great job even if you’re going start 30 minutes late’.
I haven’t done any of this. I guess I don’t want to be taken as a weirdo, even if I know sometimes people just need to be reassured, but I soaked in this feeling. Savouring the idea of letting my body relaxed on the seat. All my muscles distended, and I find myself happy.
The bus driver managed finally to advance enough to open the doors in a safe way and the whole horde jumped out of the bus.
I found myself sitting, not really in a rush of leaving, but I closed my backpack and while moving to the exit I surprised myself by saying to the driver with a big smile ‘Thx for this opportunity, have a nice day, you really deserve it’.
He looked at me puzzled, but he smiled back soon after.
Today is going to be a good day 😊