Three separate voices, each having their own conversation, each of a similar volume, but at three varying tones. Two females, one slightly higher in pitch than that other, and one young adult male. All sitting behind me. I am reminded of the telephone switch board operators that you see in old movies, where a whole bunch of people would be sitting in a room together, speaking loudly but not to each other. I sometimes fear that my ability to describe things has been ruined by cinema, it is very easy to refer straight back to a scene from a film to get your point across, something which has increased with the development of CGI and computer wizardry. The further that technology develops the less we need to use our imaginations, as well as our natural human strength and problem solving skills. Perhaps we are a few generations away from being fleshy blobs that live for 200 years, convenience getting to a point where we no longer need muscle or brain. What evolution built up, technology will break down. Hell, perhaps humanity is in a constant loop where we evolve up to a point of saturation, master technology then begin to decline, ready to start again. Maybe not.
I digress. Three voices, from behind me. They are the only ones I can hear on the bus, which make them stand out. All the seats are full, but being home time for most 9 to 5’ers no one is really saying much, eyes to the floor, the familiar whiff of defeat in the air. I try to ignore them, and rest my head against the window. After a while the gentle rocking of the bus, coupled with the steady blast of the heater against my leg make me drift towards sleep. I find it hard to properly fall asleep on busses and trains, no matter how tired I am. So I drift around a sort of semi-conscious twilight, warm and numb. Suddenly my three voices loose there singularity and become one sound, a sort of rhythmic beat, like Morse code tapped out under water. They are in my head, sitting right in the centre of my mind, not coming in through my ears, put pulsing from within, I can easily forget all of the other things around me, the cool window against my head, the fact that the warm heater is slowly burning my leg and my forward motion. Sometimes it feels easier to concentrate in such a state. Perhaps it is in a similar vain to meditation, all the static of everyday life lifts like a clearing fog and one true thought remains. In this instance it is a sound more than a thought, but similar rules apply. I am reminded of The Doors of Perception, by Aldous Huxley, a book I enjoyed, but only in parts. He wrote of the effects of drugs on our perception of the world, how perhaps it is only when we rid ourselves of all the unnecessary noise that we can truly see what is really there. It has been a while since I read it, but I’m sure he also mentioned the fasting and sleep depravation in certain cultures and religions, where people would have “visions” after giving up on natural urges of the body. Do we ignore so many obvious and glorious things while we fire on through our everyday lives? Do these religious visions and the drug induced beauty of usually mundane things point to a world sitting on the edge of our usual perception, things that we should try hard to involve ourselves in? Or is this just the mind playing tricks on us, and just drug induced stupidity? I can’t really decide.
Ten minutes into my journey one of the voices stops. Then one of the others, until eventually all three have ceased. I have shaken back into reality, and force myself to stay awake, not through any war on reality, but merely to stop myself from dribbling on my black jacket. The silence on this busy bus feels almost unnatural. As we approach my stop I run through the usual checks, wallet, phone, keys etc, I have everything I got on the bus with, so I shuffle to the end of my seat, press the buzzer and stand up. The people sitting around me all face forwards. Motionless. As I step into the aisle I notice an iPhone laying on the floor to my left, so I look back a little to see where it had come from, there is blood on the floor. Three bodies lay sprawled up the walkway of the bus. Each with their throats cut. The people in the seats sit still, faces as unimpressed as they were when they got on, no one is shocked by the sight, no one looks guilty or appalled. I try to catch their eyes but they stay looking down at their feet. I get off the bus, thanking the driver as I pass him.