Breathing Deeply

Toronto buses.

The older buses sometimes leak fumes from the diesel they use into the rear half of the bus, which is where I’m often seated. The natural rejection from my lungs and a mild sense of panic means I don’t need a scientific PPM measurement to prove that the fumes aren’t healthy.

Recently on my usual route I said to myself, “I can’t take this any more, I’m going to complain to the driver.” As I exited the bus, I kindly reported the problem to him. The look in the driver’s eyes and the sound in his voice said, “I will do nothing about this.” I walked away in disappointment.

Later that week, I reported it a second time, on the same bus and route, to the same driver. But he got defensive and again left me with an impression of inaction.

So a few days ago, on another bus route, I was breathing the fumes again. They were so strong that I nearly gagged. But I had already been walking around downtown, irked by fumes and garbage smells on the street. Exhausted from my work day, knocked-down by the environment, I decided to remain where I was.

I breathed deeply, and embraced the fumes as they entered me. I was the city’s victim, relieved in some sad way to give in.