The Bus Pursuit

1 June 2010

It was late summer and my brother Marcel and myself just came back from an exhausting indoor-climbing session. Our fingers struggling with pain to hold our gear, we walked to the lonely orange sign at the side of the main road where cars and trucks rushed into the heart of Geneva, private planes departed into the evening sky and roaring turbines flew over our heads to the international Airport. But we were going the other way. Back Home. The sign on which the letters 'tpg' were printed in distinguishable white typography served as a bus-stop for both the line Y and 56. Both served this desolated place very infrequently, halting mostly for strayed wanderers who lost themselves far from the luxurious watch sellers and prestigious banks deeply rooted into one of Switzerland's richest cities, and industrial employees on their way back over the french border.

As we stood there, our hands now hoping to heal deeply plunged into our pockets, we saw two white Mercedes-Benz which served as Geneva's public transport vehicles driving towards us. Decorated in flashing orange colors around their dark windows and doors, their tires outlined in Azure shaded blue, the first one was yielding the numbers 5 and 6 in glowing LEDs, while closely followed by an exact copy stamped with a sharp Y.

This story would have taken a different turn if our bus would have been in the lead. But he wasn't. He was driving like a shadow behind the 56, whose direction was of no use to us. As the first bus gently turns towards the sideway to the mechanic noise of his wheels stearing over the yellow paint marking the road to halt perfectly besides us, his black doors opening with a pneumatic unlocking sound inviting us in, the second Mercedes, with absolutely no intention of slowing down, abruptly accelerated and rushed right past us, leaving behind him only a trail of whirled up dust.

Frozen and unable to process this unexpected situation, my eyes, torn wide open and shattered with emptiness, followed the slowly dimmer growing light emitted by the letter Y, driving away as if this stop was never meant to be served, and with it our only hope of getting home before long.

Slowly the sounds of hectic business men driving their Audis carelessly through the industrial zone, loaded trucks racing past orange traffic lights and the squeaking noise of giant aircraft wheels scraping the concrete landing area grew louder again as I lost focus of the bus disappearing in the distance. And between all these sounds, the engine of the white Mercedes-Benz Citaro was still growling silently at the side of the road.

Meanwhile my brother had quickly taken the only reasonable decision of boarding the 56 whose conductor was still holding the pneumatic doors open for us. Hesitatingly I followed him inside, letting my gear slide from my wounded hands onto the blue patterned seat across his. As my eyes hovered across the interior to realize that it was completely deserted, I met Marcel's answer-seeking sight. Outside the wide plexiglas windows the middle-class car retailers, run-down gas stations and unknown service companies started floating away, as we tried to think of a way to avoid drifting vaguely through the nameless streets of the city aboard an empty transport car.

We knew that until the small yet modernly designed emergency hospital at the very edge of Geneva's agglomeration both bus lines were drawn through the same angled and narrow roads. Hesitatingly I walked my way up to the colored driver asking him If there was a chance of overtaking the other bus.

[To be continued].