Sunday, 25 August 2013

Ocasional homeward deviations

Some deviations to my journeys homeward are planned.  A diversion from the normal route as I am off to visit a friend, catch a different bus entirely and have to keep a closer eye on the route.

But the instances I am thinking of were unplanned and the danger of being the only one, or last one on the bus.  Now the red bus turns at its termination point and either re-runs the full loop of its journey or occasionally changes number and becomes directionally speaking a different bus altogether.

Twice (yes I should have been more aware the second time) I have been less than joyfully sitting on the upper deck of the bus, reading my book and half hearing the next stop anouncments. When the next stop as should be is not the next one announced!

This is because the driver has not realised there is anyone left on the bus and in a leap of hopeful efficiency has typed in the code changing his number and destination so instead of the last stop and me getting off it is announcing the first stop after the turn.

Ring the bell,shock the driver to bits and end up having to get off at the stop I normally get on this bus on a morning.  The bus having already started its turn round a mini round about.  So now it is the mad dash down to the traffic lights (I do like a nice set of pedestrian traffic lights when I am a pedestrian that is, and will come back to that later) and back up to get the next bus.

The red bus is not the only one, one of the yellow buses is generally very sparse of passengers when I get on and quite often I am it.  Now there is a large round about just before my days start and stop bus station.  One of those sways and turns that identifies my location if I am reading.  So when the turn kept on turning to head on back the way I had just come I shouted "where are you going?" to the driver.  I scared him as he had completely forgotten he had picked up a passenger at all.  We must have looked quite amusing as the bus went right round the roundabout once and then half round again to make the turn to the bus stop. 

Fortunately for us both, driver and I we were in a good mood and saw the funny side. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

More subtractions

Just thought I would mention that the 24 spaces have increased by two and there are only four seats remaining at my starting point.

going, going I expect that soon they will be gone.

I would say watch this space. but there being nothing but space is what I am watching for in this instance.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A fugue state

proper definition is a temporary period of amnesia with movement or travel.

In terms of the bus journey I think of it a temporarily forgetting what I am supposed to be doing and once involved travel beyond my movements courtesy of a bus.

I shall explain, while experiencing the relativity of time waiting for the next bus your mind can wander away from the task at hand.  Watching for the next bus, into planning what to do when at last home or rehashing some instance at work, off my mind meanders.  A teensy portion is left on task, watch for a bus, black or yellow.  This divergence of concentration works fine unless the bus company has a bus off the road in the normal route colour and has had to substitute one of their many other hued  vehicles. When that happens teensy bit of brain on watch can take just a moment too long to disengage from black bus / yellow bus identification to different colour but still MY BUS! by the number, and there it goes off into the distance. Oops, sometimes route themed buses are less helpful.

And the travel beyond?  Well I decided to walk from the middle stop up the bank to the next stop as I was early and it would be better than just standing.  So of I went one foot following the other, you know how walking goes, thinking my thoughts, looking at the houses as I passed.  That's a nice bungalow I though, funny, I had not noticed how nice this garden is before..wait that is because I have not walked past it before.  Sudden realisation I had forgotten why I was walking, to get to the next stop, and just kept walking, I had passed the stop and was now  a third of the way to the next one!

A quick about turn and I just made it back in time to catch the bus home.  Taking your mind off things can sometimes leave you forgetting what is important.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Being decanted

The red bus, second on the outbound journey, first homeward bound is scheduled to run every ten minutes.  That is to say miss one red bus and the next one will be along in ten minutes, not that the full route takes ten minutes to travel. 

Now as previously noted ten minutes is not a fixed concept when waiting for the bus but it is not too long when the buses can have delays. So bus one is delayed by a few minutes here and there, now it is picking up the passengers that meant to catch it and those a little early at their stops for the next bus.  So it is delayed a little more at each stop to let the passengers on.  The next bus is catching up as it has less passengers to stop for.  You can get the two buses which are supposed to be ten minutes apart one just behind the other.

In order to get back the separation and get the timetable back on track the drivers both stop at the same place (they prefer a stop with room for two buses without blocking the traffic) and decant the late bus into the on-time bus. The late bus then turns and starts back over on schedule and the on-time bus finishes the route to the correct terminal and turn point.

No one likes this process, shifting from one bus to another is an annoyance and if you are on the second bus, this hitch step is likely to delay that one just a bit.  Just a bit can be just enough to miss your connection if your journey does not end on the red bus.  As a regular I have been through this process so many times I can just about predict when it will happen and am less than sanguine about it.

However, the other day as we pulled into the interchange and my bus stopped, the driver getting out of his cab and starting to say "can you please get on the bus behind", I was moving with some resignation before his finished his instruction.  Resignation turned to surprised delight when I realised that for once the decanter into which we were being poured was not another red bus. Rather it was the black, my next bus which I had expected to miss, this time the much disliked process had worked to my advantage.

Off one bus and onto the next with no waiting at all, the best of results. I shall view being decanted will a little tiny tinge of hope in the future for similar benefits. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Theory of relativity

Einstein's theory of relativity relates time to mass and to gravity, you can find a good but simple explanation of how that works from Juggernaut on Yahoo.

But very very basically it means that people in different locations (distances from the gravity source) will experience time differently.

Thus I hypothesise that people waiting for a bus experience time differently to GMT.  However, in Einstein's theory two people in the same place should be experiencing time moving at the same rate.

Not so for the bus theory which is based on the following factors.

  1. In how much of a hurry you are to complete your journey.
The more important to you that you get moving and arrive at your destination at a particular GMT the longer it takes the bus to arrive.

    2. The weather and your preparedness for it.

If it it raining and you do not have any wet weather clothing or an umbrella time slows.  It goes a little faster if you have waterproofs.  If it is very sunny and you are wearing warmer clothes with no opportunity to remove layers time slows.  Snow is invariably slowing.

    3. The requirement for a public convenience.

Time slows greatly in such a need.  No further comment required methinks we have all been there!

   4. Your mood.

This is the biggest and most variable factor.  If you are relaxed and in a good mood then time flows along quite nicely and the wait does not appear as onerous.  However if you are in a bad mood, everything is an annoyance and time crawls.  Now the influences on mood are many which is why it is so variable.  How work went, if you are looking forward to something, factors 1 - 3 as above, meeting bus friends or not, but this factor is twice as important as the other in how quickly or slowly the time passes.

So two people waiting at the same stop for the same bus for the same number of seconds, minuets will have different views of the passage of time based on their state of mind.  To a certain extent we see and experience the world and the movement of time not as it is but as we are feeling.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Privacy bubble

This is an idea that some bus travellers appear to believe in, that there is some magical bubble that surrounds only the people they are talking to, holding the conversation within its walls .  It is a myth, there is no magic sound inhibiting force field which prevents other passengers from hearing your conversations.  Although I often wish there were!

Also a myth the idea that we can choose not to hear someone else's conversation no matter what the volume of the participants.  I have heard brave souls challenging the blue content of another passengers language admonished with that myth, "well if you don't want to hear stop listening to a private conversation", only those with hearing aids they can turn off can truly manage that.  Those using in ear music devices may also be able to tune out literally but to what damage to their ears as they up the volume.

A conversation not held in private, i.e only the people you want involved present, is not a private conversation! This is beyond the exchanges of bus friends and ventures some distance into exhibitionism and for the other passengers forced voyeurism.  Discussions of such a personal nature they astound me.  Sexual exploits including affairs are regularly aired, criminal activities referred to, prison expectations on the way to court, results of meetings with social services the list goes on.  Of course it is not just the topics that can be uncomfortable to be privy to, the language used can be considerably less than edifying. 

Those using mobile phones appear to believe in a variation of the bubble, that as they are speaking into a phone the sound is only going as directed and not that their half of the conversation is easily audible to all on board.  Mind some are so loud I often wonder if they need a phone at all and can probably be heard by the recipient anyway.  

My tolerance of others mythical bubbles tends to relate directly to the other recipients on the bus of this assault to the ears and sensibilities.  It is considerably diminished by the presence of children who hear and remember anything adults would prefer they did not.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Passing the time, a technology update

I have for the past few weeks made use of the Kindle on the bus, there I go easing into the twenty first century of reading. I am not a total convert and still much prefer a real book.  But it is good knowing if I finish a book mid journey there is another one (well more than one) there ready to start. 

However, there is a downside, I advised with real books volumes with very interesting cover art should be avoided due to the reading interrupting conversations they can generate.  Whilst a Kindle cover tells nothing about the volume you are reading (mine is a very bland single colour cover, which I like) it is still a conversation starter.  For those with out a Kindle it is the chance to discuss how it works and its merits with a disinterested party.  For those with a Kindle it offers the opportunity to compare devices, prices and where it has been used.

So beware a Kindle, can actually reduce your reading time, although it might make you some new bus friends.