Lessons from the Crosstown Bus
I met a friend on the Upper East Side of Manhattan yesterday for coffee, which meant taking the bus east and then the subway south to our agreed upon meeting spot. I plopped onto the bus around 7:15 in the morning, settling in with my book as we slowly tumbled across 125th Street.
An avenue before my connection to the subway, I grew suddenly restless of the slow-moving bus, hopping off a stop early. I wanted to feel motion.
As I walked the sidewalk, parallel to the bus, I watched it pull ahead, ultimately reaching my destination before I did. I didn’t think much of it as my mind was already drifting to the thought of a warm drink and genuine conversation.
Later that morning, working my commute in reverse, I stood with a crowd of people waiting for the crosstown bus. I was growing slightly impatient and considering walking the 1.5 windy miles to save time when the bus pulled up and I hopped aboard.
We seemed, again, to move in slow motion, picking up passengers at each avenue and shuffling in and out of the traffic that signifies a sleepy neighborhood waking up.
After a few minutes, I found myself convinced it would have been quicker to walk – knowing full well it wouldn’t have been. In the silent argument in my head, I reminded myself that walking only seemed faster because it was constant motion and motion, to me, has always equated to progress.
The bus stopped again.
But even with it’s starts and stops, the rational side of me countered, it is still faster to stay on the bus. Sometimes standing still is progress. The necessary pauses and breaks? They’re all part of the process.
With that, I eased back against the railing of the bus and relaxed.
Sometimes standing still is progress.