What the Bus?

by E. Joyce profile

Surreal/Humor
2020

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Number of Reviews: 7
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Made me miss my commute, December 13, 2020
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020

Weird confession: I’ve been a public-transit user all my life, and now that I haven’t had a commute in over six months – I kind of miss it? Despite the fact that What the Bus? presents public transit commuting (accurately, at least by my experience living in LA!) as a surrealistic nightmare of mysterious delays, interminable transfers, and subterranean disorientation, I sank into it like a warm blanket, partially because it was scratching an itch I didn’t know I had. Again and again I smiled in fond recognition at things that are, objectively, awful:

“You follow signs for the Blue Line through a long tunnel, up a flight of stairs, down a shorter flight of stairs, up another flight of stairs, through some sort of central lobby with an insane number of passages branching off of it, and then down a hallway that you feel like has one too many right turns.”

Yup, I’ve transferred from the 1 to the A-C-E in New York by going through that awful Times Square to Port Authority tunnel, this is exactly right.

“The train is packed, other than one conspicuously empty seat, which you avoid.”

This is obviously correct behavior.

After complaining to a friend about delays:

“Yeah, I hate that, Chris replies. Especially when it’s due to an unspecified emergency or the existence of seasons. Those are the worst.”

Indeed, who at a transit agency could have ever predicted seasons!

Admittedly, there’s not much to the game besides navigating the Kafkaesque labyrinth in search of the ten endings, which are helpfully tracked for you – though I like to think the fact that I got to my office successfully on my second try indicates that real-life skill with public transit translates. But there’s plenty to enjoy along each of the branches, and the “Back” button at the bottom of each passage makes it easy to check out other paths. And now that I’ve played What the Bus?, I think I miss my commute a little less!