Ellen and I got to participate in an unexpected moment of togetherness with strangers on the bus from our parents’ place to Nanaimo. We were stopped at a bus depot waiting for the bus to leave, and a clean-cut man with a suitcase approached the driver and said something we didn’t hear. The driver got off the bus while the man brought a bicycle out. At first I thought they were negotiating bringing the bike on the bus, which Greyhound doesn’t allow unless the bike is in a box.

However, after a moment, it became apparent that the man was trying to sell his bike to the bus driver. We could hear snippets of conversation through the bus door about the price, and suddenly half the people on the bus were leaning out the window to check out the bike. Pretty soon everyone on the bus was discussing the merits of the bike, the price, and whether the driver was getting ripped off. One guy actually got off the bus to try to convince the driver not to buy the bike. It was then that the seller opened his jacket and tried to sell the driver his shirt instead. That led those of us on the bus to speculate that the seller couldn’t afford his ticket and was trying to negotiate his way onto the bus. We were heckling him through the window to sell his pants instead.

When the driver actually bought the bicycle for $40, some of the people on the bus started teasing him about wasting his money or offering to sell him other pieces of their baggage. We were all laughing and joking, and the driver complained that he wasn’t a pawn shop, although it didn’t stop him from offering to sell the bike to one of us for $45. It was a fun moment of togetherness among strangers, which you rarely see. The seller used the money to buy a bus ticket at the counter, but it must have been for a different bus, because he put his suitcase into a luggage locker and wandered off, while our bus continued on its way south toward Nanaimo.