I was on a bus full of people from work who are below the AVP level. I knew this, although I recognized only two of them—the director of projects and the applications manager. They told me that we had been at the Palo Alto community to work on “resident documentation.”
I couldn’t remember being at the community. I couldn’t remember flying to California. I did not know why these two would manage such a project—the nature of which I couldn’t imagine—or why so many people from so many disciplines would be involved. I couldn’t remember getting on the bus. All this continued to puzzle me, along with the fact that I didn’t know anyone else.
The bus was barreling over a series of hills, complete with steep slopes and twists and turns. The time seemed to be on the cusp of darkness, the tricky dusk during which so many accidents occur.
To add to my sense of disorientation, the bus was misdirected several times by signs, lines, and barriers diverting it dangerously across multiple lanes of traffic from the far right to the far left, or into impossible areas that made no sense.
On a steep downhill slope with curves, I saw the driver leave her seat and disappear into the back of the bus. I didn’t know how I could get to the seat in time to prevent a catastrophe, even if I could get control of the steering and brakes and could figure then out.
I found a middle-aged woman had taken over and felt relief, but then she left, too. By now, I had noticed there were no accidents even when no one was driving. The next time I spotted someone driving, a middle-aged woman with a particularly frowsy permanent, I said without thinking, “You could get pulled over and into trouble for driving without a bus driver’s license. I heard someone agree and someone disagree. She left the seat, but I still could not take over. The repetition of the circumstances, and the murkiness behind them, made it nightmarish.