I took a 12-hour bus ride starting at 5:45am from Norwich to Paris with no sleep and I guess these are the kinds of things I think about.
If I really wanted to sleep I’d put my earbuds in and play some Alt-J or MSMR, but instead I turn my head away from the window so that the seatbelt presses into my neck, like a vampire’s fangs searching for the most tender part of skin.
I’m half convinced that I can hear the 8-bit strains of a first generation Pokémon battle taking place somewhere on the bus. I wonder which starter they chose.
I’m the asshole wearing the rain jacket that crinkles like a chip bag in a church in this technically-morning-but-where’s-the-sun stillness. But I decide not to care, since everyone else is normal enough to be asleep at this hour. Except, of course, for that person who may or may not be on their journey to becoming a Pokémon master.
All I need to fall asleep is something on which to prop one foot (only one is necessary, but two would be bomb, thanks very much!) and the soft rocking of a long-ago paved road.
I’m torn between wanting to soak in the French country side, needing to work on job applications and school work, and fighting the urge to nestle the back of my head into the space between the two chairs I’ve claimed and pass out. I think to myself, ‘I don’t want to close my eyes and fall asleep, because I don’t want to miss a thing…damn that’s good. Someone should make that into a song.’ I quickly – though not as quickly as I should- realize that I’ve nicked that from Steven Tyler and give in to sleep.
While I’ve seen my fair share of sleeping strangers on all sorts of public transit (here’s looking at you, fellow 99 and 480 passengers), there’s something about it not being a university student with their textbook steadily slipping down their lap that makes me watching feel more intrusive than usual. It’s such a vulnerable and raw state, sleep. It instantly transforms the hip, bearded European vagabond across the aisle into a child in my eyes. When he snores I can hear the snot bubbling in his nose, like how my cousin used to get when he was a baby. The vagabond’s jaw hangs open the same way I know mine was only two minutes ago. We’ll probably both have the same taste of stale tongue sitting in our mouths for the next few hours.
Photos are all from my two-hour ‘bus layover’ in London, except for the last one which was taking right after we got into France. I think.