December 24, 2004
Perspective 2004

My last ride on Route 79 this year. At the beginning of the year the buses on my beloved Route 79 were shiny and brand new. A year has passed, and on the surface at least, they still are.

Although - one year on - it’s rare to find a seat on the upper deck where the window hasn’t been indelibly etched with the musings of London’s scratch-graffiti artists - their very existence provides a great example of an object of focus upon which the world outside the window has often become the backdrop for many a daydream. Dreams in which I’ve far too often wondered in melancholy what the rest of the day, or week, or even life, might bring - not just for me and the ones I love - but for those strangers who I see out there. On the streets below. Or for the people in places I cannot see - but can only imagine.

The world outside the window.

Whether it’s empty or full - or even when someone sits on the seat next to me - every journey is a solitary experience. The slipping in and out of reality is in the taking of a seat after boarding - or the getting up when it’s time to get off . And the journey in between is no longer about being aware of where the bus is going - or what’s going on outside. For in a manner that I cannot explain I somehow know exactly where the bus is at any particular moment. It’s almost as if, with my mind elsewhere, my body keeps track of every turn, every bump, and every little change of sound associated with every little change in the rev of the engine.

Some people ask me why I don’t drive to work - after all it would be a lot quicker. I have almost always given what I would call politically-correct, environmentally-friendly answers. The truth of the matter is that this twice-daily dose of daydreaming has become an addiction. It’s the only time I get to be by myself - and although it’s an escape into a mental and depressing unreality bounded by a very real, and sometimes harsh, scrolling landscape - it’s probably no different to the semi-religious need that other people have to watch depressing TV shows like Eastenders - or Holby City.

It is an addiction, I think.

To those of you that have graced these pages this year: I hope you have derived something useful from the words, pictures, sounds and moving-images that I have posted here.

Posted by jag at December 24, 2004 03:12 PM
Jag, Wow another quality posting (Dec. 24/04) that made my day. I live light years away from you (Victoria, BC Canada) but read you every day. I've recommended your site to many friends. The honesty, simplicity and quality of your writing is what makes this site (oh and the pictures too). I've been to the UK 3 times and love immersing myself in the urban settings of London. People ask me, "Why don't you just go to Hawaii for vacation?" But I find, like you, that navigating around and finding something interesting in the simple day-to-day things is actually very relaxing. Anyway, happy holidays, and thanks. Gary Posted by: Gary Donoghue on December 24, 2004 05:21 PM
I wander thro' each charter'd street, Near where the charter'd Thames does flow And mark in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of woe. In every cry of every Man, In every Infants cry of fear, In every voice; in every ban, The mind-forg'd manacles I hear How the Chimney-sweepers cry Every blackning Church appalls, And the hapless Soldiers sign Runs in blood down Palace walls But most thro' midnight streets I hear How the youthful Harlots curse Blasts the new-born Infants tear And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse LONDON William Blake, 1794 Posted by: Paul Vasold on December 24, 2004 07:11 PM
Hey! Are you quitting blogging? Shesssssh! Please don't....merry christmas to you! Posted by: Shobha on December 25, 2004 04:25 AM
Also, I so relate to the day-dreaming thingy! Even I travel a lot by public transport and I totally relate to you. I guess the time for introspection and to be myself that travelling by public transport give, I don't think a private vehicle ride would do. Its an addiction! I agree...hehe! Nevertheless, if yout aking a break, come back soon :D Posted by: Shobha on December 25, 2004 04:28 AM
It was interesting to read your post after having this other post fresh in my mind... I think taking the bus allows your awareness to decompress and your perspective to widen. This is in contrast to many people these days who run their lives in digital hyper drive. I thankyou for sharing your words and pictures from your unique perspective. Posted by: Fritz on December 25, 2004 03:07 PM
If those words were ever put into a poem, it would be a remake of Keat's Ode to a Nightingale for the Route 79 Bus. Seriously. The melodiously flowing words seem to put me into another world, where only London and the bus exists. I do seem to get the feeling that this post would be your last too..... Is it? Posted by: sat on December 27, 2004 11:57 PM
Gary - thank you for such nice feedback. Victoria BC: Just another suburb of London in my book! ;-) Actually - I have a lot of family in BC - mostly in Vancouver area - but some in Victoria and Island. So your place is like another home to me! Happy holidays to you too. Paul: Thanks for Blake quote. Very melancholy too! Shobha - not at all! Sorry if I left that impression. I just wanted to pay tribute to my bus after riding it for the last time this year - as in for 2004. (My next ride on the bus will be in January.) I'm glad you relate to the experience though. Fritz: The posting at rootburn was interesting thanks. I, too, can relate to the Digital Photo effect! I think you're right though - the fact that you are at the mercy of the bus and the time it's going to take to get there somehow forces you to put up with the lack of control over time - and hence the slipping away into daydreams. Sat: Thanks Sat - but I couldn't possibly accept such an accolade. I guess I was in that "end of another year" mood, somewhat melancholy - and that made it's way into the words. If it were that easy - then we could all be great poets! No - not my last post (it's just occured to me that "The Last Post" is a haunting piece of music usually played at the funeral of soldiers) - no I will keep soldiering away at life - and will share little snippets here from time to time - much as I have done for a while now. Thanks for being a regular visitor. Posted by: Jag on December 28, 2004 11:51 AM
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