I'm sitting on a bus that's quite full. We pull in to the next station on our route, several people standing at the stop, waiting to board. I'm not sure there's room for all of them. "I wonder how many people will get off here," my inner
Six new passengers pay their fares and board. "What will you do if you don't have enough room for all of us?" the seventh asks the driver.
"They'll have to wait for the next bus," he says matter-of-factly.
"Isn't that tomorrow?" says seven. "Can't you call another bus? Or what if they just stand?"
"Standees are against federal law. And there's no relief bus today," the driver says. "They can try Greyhound or wait a day."
"I'll get off then," decides number seven. "I have a place to stay here and can go tomorrow." She leaves, once learning from the driver how to reactivate her ticket for the next day.
Three more passengers get on, filling every available seat. And then one of the passengers who had disembarked returns from the bathroom in the station.
"That's why I told everyone to use the bathroom on the bus," says the flabbergasted bus driver to everyone, no one, and one man in particular. "You messed up my count and put me in quite a spot."
Last on, first off, apparently, so the driver heads to the back of the bus in search of the blond-haired woman who'd just boarded. Soon I hear, "If she's leaving, I'm leaving" from another passenger behind me, now part of a package deal. Thus, two exit, making way for the sheepish man who'd had to heed nature's call and one other person who'd been waiting in line with a blank look that could read as bewilderment or long-standing patience.
We roll away, five people left at the curb according to the driver's radio dispatch to his home base.