A 2 hour visit to friends for lunch in the city on New Year’s Day = $100 in Uber taxi fare. (This is part of the reason I do not like to go out much at all.)
Everyone uses the bus. Why not you? Everyone uses the train. Why not you?
Because… For me…
This is a very brief, simplified and condensed reality of a bus / train ride:
First, the anticipation… Check the schedule at least ten times… Fear mounts… Cold clamminess crawls along lips and face while waiting at bus stop, anticipating. Heart begins to beat faster and faster. Feet feel icy. If it is a train station, the anxiety pounds louder in the vessels of the ear as body enters the portals of sensory torture chamber.
Entering that space. The noise, vibrations, smells, and visual assaults confront at the very start. The physical cavern in its entirety hurtles through time and space shaking, rattling, vibrating. My being is a marshmallow inside a churning goopy mass, I am trapped within a food processor.
Human voices, vehicle motors, wheels, brakes, shuffling feet, bells, traffic outside, clattering, chattering, screeching… allegro assai, crescendo, stretto!!! No warning between, jerking back and forth, roughly hurtling missile.
Swarm after swarm of demon-possessed sonic insects envelope auditory space, viciously attacking every crevice. Noise canceling headphones do not help, they only serve to shut in the cacophony, driving the frequencies higher as the buzzing insects get angrier and angrier. Trying to listen to music is impossible – bones pick up vibrations from the seat, feet feel the crackling pulsations, and skin tingling, as intrusive rhythmic patterns engulf whatever music may be streaming artificially in. Hopeless.
Monkeys banging on the head. It hurts. And perfect pitch means the brain is noticing the pitches of each and every sound, scrambled and charred, jamming into an unwilling consciousness.
Elephant in the tummy. Nausea seeps in through olfactory doorways, despite desperate (futile) attempts to hold breath. Shallow breathing leaves the brain deprived and dizziness sets in anyway. Gulping and gasping for air, a sudden rush of putrefaction storms in, the plume rises and fills the headspace as its heavy ponderous bog sinks into the diaphragm with a terrible thud.
Python around the throat. Choking… Smells of human bodies, machinery, diesel fumes combine and wrap around face like soggy dirty towels. Cannot breathe. The airways clog up with literal thick copious ooze.
Heart beating faster and faster… Suffocating from lack of clean air, or the white screaming fear? Perhaps both?
Jaw clamping down harder and tighter – a reflex to maintain control, to stave off meltdown, keeping that proverbial ‘stiff upper lip.’ The heavy price to pay afterwards will be inflammation and pain. For now, only one goal remains – complete the journey and get off the bus as soon as possible!
So, why don’t you take the bus / train, then?
Sometimes, I do. Actually, most of the time, I try my best to be like the rest of you. But would the rest of you do it any better than I do, if you were in my embodiment? Simply put: I am pretty good at dragging myself through excruciating pain just to pretend to be just like everyone. But how good would everyone be if they had to live just one day experiencing the world like me?
The wheels of the bus go round and round… round and round…