You Are Being Paged

He stops at the same time every day.

Same convenience store. Same beef jerky and canned lemonade. He leaves the bus at the side of the road, doors open, passengers gazing blankly from the smudged glass window at the rumbling semis as they pass. Goes inside. Waits in line.

Every day, it's the same.

And then, one day, there was an announcement. A crackling, muffled voice over the bus's loudspeaker. A route change, construction. It came while he was gone.

And then, a few weeks later, there was another. Lost and found. Missing persons. Policy changes. Days later, there was one again.

He missed them all.

And then I realized: when there are system-wide announcements, the dispatcher must always make them at a certain time, and that time just happens to be while my driver is inside, getting his lemonade.

And it made me think, you know? It made me think about patterns and routines, grooves and the ruts that follow them. The way we get stuck in our ways.

And it made me wonder-- how many messages is the Universe sending me? How many messages is it sending me, muffled and crackling over the loudspeaker, while I'm inside getting my lemonade?