Time Warp Bus

| January 11, 2013 | 1 Comment

This one even has an accordion on it!

At some point, someone had a brilliant idea. Instead of having one bus, they decided to attach two buses with an accordion.

You know what I’m talking about? Those extra long buses with the crease in the middle that makes them look an awful lot like a certain German instrument? BU has a few in its shuttle crew, as does the MBTA. I ask because I love riding those buses. I particularly like sitting in one of the four awkward seats in the middle of the accordion crease. Only an extreme concern for optimizing seating would compel a transportation company to put seats in the section of the bus which literally folds upon itself. People tend to avoid it — they’re freaked out by the concept, or perhaps have a realistic perception of the possible dangers. Or they’re wussies. Who knows? I love sitting there.

I love it because whenever the bus makes a turn, I have an incredible sensory experience. I read this book once called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and while I didn’t enjoy the book very much, the author brought up a great point. Whenever you’re in a car, or in my case a bus, the outside world may as well be a movie on a screen. You’re in a comfortable seat, enclosed on all sides, with climate control. There is no sense in which you feel like a part of the environment outside the car or bus — it may as well not exist. You’re inside a box with movie screens for windows. You could probably also call it relativity — the outside world is whizzing by, but everything inside the car, or bus, isn’t moving. At least not relative to you. You think of the environment inside as stationary, even though it’s barreling away at 65 mph.

Double-decker AND accordion.

What I love about the accordion buses is that as soon as the bus makes a turn, this relative perception goes to hell. Especially when you forget that a turn is coming, all of a sudden this stationary experience that you have of the world folds in half. It’s incredible. It’s as if you are in a sci-fi warp.

Or a Dali painting come to life.

You can also see it on the subway occasionally if you’re standing in the right spot at the right time. It reminds me of physics metaphors. Whenever the Hawking-style-genius physicists try to explain high level concepts such as black holes, or warps in time and space, or string theory, they try to use everyday metaphors so that we laypeople can understand. Whenever sit in an accordion bus, and it is making a turn, I feel as if I am sitting in a metaphor that has yet to be attached to a theory. So just remember, when the next great physicist uses that metaphor, Tino told you that shit was coming.

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Category: Boston, featured, Science and Technology

About the Author ()

An expat and perpetual wanderer, Tino studied Linguistics and Psychology in CAS. He now teaches Spanish in Detroit. Interests include: bulky journals, tattoos, Arizona black&white tea, food, C3, introspection and over-analysis.

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