When I'm running late for work, I take the bus. Inevitably, as I am walking towards the stop, my bus zooms by at an un-catchable rate. Some days I'll run to try and catch it (this always elicits comments like "good hustle" or "whoa!"), some days it's just impossible, and I watch, morose, as the bus merrily picks up the people who had the good sense to leave their houses five minutes earlier than I did. Some days I get to the stop without a bus going by, but even then I can see the buses that I missed a few minutes earlier, because the road is long and flat and decorated with my big blue failures. The thing is, it doesn't matter how early or late I leave my house. All that matters is that there is always a better bus I could have taken. Laying eyes on the bus I didn't make is one of the worst parts of my day. I think about how un-punctual I am and all the better things I could have done with my morning. I think about my day ahead and how much better it would be if only I was on that freaking bus. I would be more put together! I would get more done! I would be happier! If I'm feeling particularly anxious I'll run over some memories of missing public transportation, of running for trains, or of being late. Lately I've been remembering being late for a horseback riding lesson when I was about ten years old, and how guilty I felt. That's the self-torture of the month.
Then, of course, five to ten minutes pass and another bus comes, and I get on it, and everything is fine.
The other night I was sitting around enjoying the internet and I came across the name of a writer who is a lot like me, in my dream-writing-world. Same genre. Similar style. Similar upbringing and similar age. Almost identical subject matter. She appears to be awesome in every way: smart, funny, well-liked. There's a whole article in a respectable magazine about how nice she is. Every time I read about her, I am overcome with professional jealousy. I don't feel angry with her or dislike her; I just feel horrible. This writer is on some bus I did not make. She is a couple of blocks ahead and I am staring wistfully at her taillights. Just as I do not rue the bus that went by half an hour ago, I don't feel this way towards any other writer-- it is the closeness of this girl to me that triggers this reaction.
I have recently solved the bus problem: I walk along a different route. On the new route, I can't see the buses going by. The block without buses is pleasant and quiet. I turn the corner just before the bus stop, and I am there, and a bus is either there or it isn't. I try not to look up the street to see the buses that just left. I read or listen to music or stare into space until the bus comes, and then I am on it, and everything is fine.
I will be looking for new routes, now, everywhere. I don't know if I am early or late or on time for my regularly scheduled life. I'm just going to wait for good buses to come, when I am ready, and then get on them.