On a morning about two months ago I was standing at a bus stop in the rain, watching a Red Army Battalion’s worth of three-quarters full Translink buses pass my fellow bus-catching hopefuls and me. So, like any typical Vancouver Tuesday, I resigned myself to fantasies of the commuters who refused to move to the back of the bus stepping barefoot on Lego while being clotheslined by Mr. T. (If you’re ever irked at someone — siblings, TAs, your eighth grade boyfriend who cheated on you by holding hands with that bitch Rebecca — I highly recommend this image. It’s muy cathartic.)
Except this wasn’t a typical Tuesday. It was, via a serendipitous but cosmically inconsequential development, positively atypical.
Because, after the fifth bus had passed and while I was venting my inevitable tardiness through a mental GIF of Bus-Riding Asshat #4 (a non-speaking role unfit for SAG-AFTRA) being tea-bagged by The A-Team, a black sedan pulled up to the curb.
They rolled down the window, confirming in my mind their idiocy since, at this point, the rain was so heavy the runoff from my 1993 Rose Bowl hat alone could have drowned a horde of platypuses. I mean, did they want to ruin their suede seats? (I find it wise to assume any given UBC student’s car seats are suede until proven otherwise, that way you won’t be disappointed when they’re part of the economic demographic that lights money on fire for fun.)
But they didn’t have suede seats and in fact weren’t just parking at a bus stop to purposefully disrupt traffic patterns across western Vancouver. I realized this when the guy in the passenger seat yelled to us that “like five buses have passed by” (thanks douche bag, I know this already) and that “we’ve got three extra seats and you guys should hop in” (oh, I feel mean now for thinking you were just a douche bag).
If you’ve never felt the joy of entering a car after having resigned your festering, rain-soaked heart to a life of bus-waiting cynicism, just imagine your super hot barista correctly writing your non-Anglo name. And also declaring their love for you. And also inviting you to live with them in their family’s ancient Scottish castle. See, there is no doubt in my mind that this transcendent happiness is of the magnitude new mothers feel upon holding their newborn child for the first time. I know this because my mom loved newborn me even though at three pounds and two months premature I looked like a composite of Galactic Lord Xenu and Indiana Jones’ face-melting Nazi nemesis. Yet, 22 years later, in that moment of being offered a ride, I loved that car and those two people more than my mother has ever loved me.
The girl and guy in the front seat were clearly, and there is no other way to say this, cool. Unfortunately, not knowing their names, I can’t give them the shout out they deserve but I assume they’re both named something rad-but-not-annoyingly-rad, like Arlo and Maeve. Or Stetson and Maeve. Or like, maybe Perry and Maeve. But definitely not Brant or Bront or Brühnt and Apple.
Not only did they prevent three total strangers from going full Rambo-complete-with-Poseidon’s-biceps-and-endless-bullets the next time a half-full bus passed on us, but they made it clear that, in doing so, they weren’t remotely burdened. A five minute ride to UBC included Maeve and Boy Not Named Brant wondering out loud about all our situations — what are you interested in, who here is getting screwed over in a group project, does your phone have pictures of your dog on it and if so can I see but not right now I’m driving and that’s dangerous behavior when controlling high-velocity machinery, etc.
When someone in the car answered about their German Shepherd or their take on lecture crushes, Maeve and Not Brant nodded along and bantered back. And the thing is, they were sincere. Or at least they were really good at faking sincerity which is just as well.
That car ride from Translink Stop #51595 to Buchanan B — complete with four strangers who I haven’t seen since — restored my faith that one can be a groovy mamma jamma and actual good person all at once. Cool and good people, I’m convinced, are like the coveted red Gyarados from Pokemon Silver: rare on the surface, but actually not that rare and also 12 year-old you is not impressive for catching one.
I’m out of words. And I’m out of time. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in four years at UBC it’s that nothing truly matters except one thing: Be like Maeve and Arlo. Be the red Gyarados you want to see in the world. The rest will figure itself out.
Oh and also, move to the back of the bus.