The people sit on the bus like they are sitting on church pews. A bored dissonance hangs in the air like a crucifixion. Their thoughts drift; idly they look at their hands, their phones, their books. One zealot enjoys the ride, engages the bus driver in religious fever of all things Bus—“Heya Paul, haven’t seen you on this run for a while”—keeping the apostles in line. One child is dozing off, waking himself with a start each time his head starts lolling into dreams. A girl, tired of the monotony of her pew, drapes herself backward on her seat and stares at a man with ear-buds. She mimics him and begins bobbing her head to an unheard hymn, a quiet syncopation that even the turning of the wheels gets caught up in—no choir of angels, just human stream of consciousness flowing. Three young men with Down Syndrome climb on the bus and piously look straight ahead of them, the fourth among them afraid to get onto the bus.
“C’mon, Joe!” the zealot happily yells. “There’s a place for everyone. You can do it buddy.”
Joe shuffles around the metal enclosure and bench; prolonging the divine providence of the bus. He is not ready to be baptized. In his eyes this is a hurtling death trap. He prefers the feeling of solid earth beneath his feet and the sun honestly shining on his face. He prefers to worship with no structure anchoring his spirituality corporeally, no manufactured air filling his head with false idols. The encouragement of the zealot and the now engaged fellow passengers becomes too much for the man’s will. Joe begrudgingly climbs on the bus and gets caught up in fervor. He gulps for air like his head had been dunked under water and sits the rest of the ride with his hands neatly folded in his lap, as if praying.
And just as readily as they ignore a god they barely believe in, they are ignored in turn–perpetually drifting in minute revolutions of stops and starts.