Packed, Stacked, and Racked

A chapter from 'Finding Zen'

Alliteration aside, I love this phrase when describing a bus that simply cannot take on one more passenger. One would think that when the bus becomes completely grid locked on the inside aisle, that common sense by simple observation would be enough to insure that no one intending at the bus zone would consider even getting on the bus. One would be wrong if one thought that. In fact, there probably is a correlation coefficient that as the number of people waiting for the bus increases, their willingness to look inside the coach and see if there is room for boarding, decreases. 

And this pile-on and pile-in to effect is some thing I always hope to avoid.  And I can, but it means that I have to pass up stops to keep from becoming so full I can’t see past the yellow line. I can get all sorts of help from passengers that want to “help out” by hearing them yell at the group to move back or to make room for a seat for a senior, but their “help” sometimes creates more problems because of the tone of their voice, or the profanity they may use. It is at this time that I feel as though I am losing control of the situation. And the hard part is to figure out when it is time to stop taking on more people.

This is not as simple as it would first sound, because one has to figure on how many people are getting off. It is a simple math equation performed at every stop or transfer. How many did I lose and how many am I picking up? Through intuition and experience, it does become easy to know it I am going to lose more than I gain, but there are some whoops moments. I have room for six, but there are ten waiting. If I know I usually lose four or five, I should be okay and make the stop. But uh oh, here come five people running, only one person gets off, and now the light goes red and here comes a walker and a person with shopping bags. Should I have passed up the preceding stop to allow for this margin of error? Should I make the announcement that this coach is full, and will they listen to me? And this is where the Ninth Level of Hell begins.  But what I can do is shut this trend down immediately by passing up the next stop,

The danger is that you don’t want people waiting at the stop to see that there is room in the back, and that you did not need to pass up. But once again, the equipment cannot maintain full capacity for more than an hour, and the other factor that is hidden from view is the performance of the coach under heavy loads. So the idea here is to pass up when the coach is full, but in a way the minimizes drama and coach failure.  And it is this see saw that makes life interesting. And I have to approach this the way I approach spider solitaire: that through the difficult moves can come a victory that is the more sweet.