The Persistence of Hope
There's a bus stop near the top of my road. Like many bus stops set near a junction I can't see when there's a bus coming until it appears around the corner, mere moments before I can get on.
Before that and while I'm still standing there I'm left in a state of perpetual hope - my wait might be over at any second (this is one of the few stops in Brighton and Hove without a dot matrix arrivals indicator). I may have been standing there shivering in the cold or rain for what seems like forever but my delivery from that uncomfortable state is at hand and could be with me in an instant.
It is after all something completely beyond my control so I'm not interested in second guessing it and am happy enough to just wait it out and let it happen.
What I don't understand is those people who walk up to the corner and stare off down the main street where they can see for a least a kilometre that the bus isn't coming. They're basically dousing the fires of hope in their mind in exchange for the illusion of some control.
Fair enough if that's what makes them happy – increasingly these days my motto is "An it harm none, you do you" to mix modern parlance and Wiccan Rede – but of course it's never that simple. By going and staring down the road like that they're removing my freedom to remain in blissful ignorance about how much longer I'll have to wait. If they suddenly stop and start rummaging round in their pockets and walking back towards the stop I'll know there's one coming and more importantly the longer they DON'T do that the more my "deliverance is at hand any second now" hope is extinguished.
The only solution I've been able to come up with is to stop using that bus stop.
This applies to many other areas of my life as well (aside from such obvious exceptions as train and plane departures). For instance I don't plan my movements around weather forecasts longer that 24 hours in advance, never check local bus times when setting off and generally assume I'll be able to get where I want to go as long as I leave enough time. I always do arrive early – to counter my reliance on chance I factor in the possibility that things might go wrong and set off with so much time to spare that some people get really irritated.
But things do go wrong with increasing frequency these days so what can you do aside from you do you?