[Meditation sparked by bus riding while sideways.]

I noticed today that the bus drivers use a special code in my town. When one driver---like Aloysius, who drives the 13---passes by another driver on the same route, they will often communicate in this code. Today I saw Sam and Aloysius do it, and I learned some secrets of the code.

Sam was heading North, while I was on the bus with Loek (Aloysius) heading South. I watched as Loek noticed Sam's bus, then quickly looked back to the road. As they got closer, and could spare a moment of attention,

  • Sam's First Burst, With Interpretation
    Eyebrows raise
    Hi Loek!
    Left eyebrow arch
    Want data?
I didn't see Loek do this next bit, but I've seen the same look on the faces of other drivers. It lights up the face, with hope for good news of the route to come, or wonder about whether to hurry or not---it's the desire for information.
  • Loek's First Burst, With Interpretation
    A returned nod and smile
    Sam's hands flash, in what I now know is Bus Driver Communication Protocol (BDCP---a universal code with regional variations)
    2 stops until next passenger
    1 passenger there
    4 at next stop: 1 rowdy, 1 handicapped
    2 at next stop
    0 at next stop
    Summation of route to come: Busy!

    (This can be many things . . .
Like slow, wet, calm, sniffly---it depends on the level ] of expertise the two drivers can communicate at, like modems negotiating a connection. Some are amazingly fluent with this code, usually partners or good working buddies. They can communicate all the particulars of that day as a bus driver. They do it with lightning fast facial and hand gestures, communicating what I'm sure are vast heaps of data in a very short time. . . almost just a glance.

The personality type attracted to bus driving is, I will speculate, a type which enjoys communicating with lots of people---getting to see how Slobovia City is feeling and what it is thinking on any particular day. This drive to socialize creates a person who is good at quick, sure communication; in short, the type who could become an expert at a language like BDCP. Thus the job of bus-driving self-selects for people who are good communicators and could easily learn BDCP.

Bus Drivers are taught many of the mysteries of BDCP immediately upon being hired, during training. Bus drivers in many towns take supplemental classes off the job. The funny thing about all this is that it isn't a mystery! You can go down to the local bookstore and buy a BDCP textbook, even a videotape. What's more, the drivers are perfectly willing to talk about it, and like being asked, and there's no rule against hiding it. It is public knowledge.

"Why have I not heard of this?" you may well wonder. I wonder too. After all, and in retrospect, I've been collecting data all along but never looked at it with the right interpretation. Once I go back to old data and filter for this stuff (I am aware that this is not a reliable process, and one that produces much confabulation), pictures of bus drivers in my mind, I can see that bus drivers everywhere I've been have used this code.

Can you not say the same?

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