It was early September, 2001. Maybe 1:00 AM. I had been downtown with some friends, and they were going off somewhere else. I was out of money, and had to be up early the next morning, so I headed home. I made my way to Bathurst station, and took the 7, which takes me within two blocks of my house.
I chose my preferred seat on a bus, the seat farthest back on the row of seats lining the right side of the bus. On the back row, in the middle, was another fellow. He was older than me, maybe 21 or 22. Other than us, the bus was empty.
The bus left the station shortly after I got on, and began the journey north along Bathurst St. I noticed the driver looked cheerful when I got on the bus, but didn't think twice about it. However, the names over the streets we passed, recited over the intercom, weren't the same dull, well-rehearsed incantations I was used to. Every stop was cheerfuly named. Every name was cheerfully sung.
I wondered aloud, "Did he just sing the name of that stop?"
My fellow traveller replied, "Yeah."
"I've never heard that before."
"Oh, it happens all the time. Not just this driver, all of them. The school year hasn't started yet, so the busses are free of rowdy high school students. The weather is warm and all the windows are open, so the drivers get all the fresh air they could want. It'd be odd for a bus driver not to sing the name of the stops."
With that, the bus stopped, and the nameless traveller stepped off into the night. I was left alone on the bus, to ponder his profound words.
The bus driver kept up his performance for the half-asleep audience of one. Each stop had its own melody, and it was a delight to hear the variety. I never got to hear the conclusion of the riveting opera that the bus driver had created. "Briar Hill", he sang, and I stepped off the bus, leaving the driver alone.
He probably continued his performance, to himself. It was his job, and he was enjoying it.
On my walk home, I realized the traveller I had met was right. The bus driver didn't need a reason to sing, and he didn't have a reason not to sing. "Neither do I," I thought to myself, as I walked the few blocks to my door.
I began to hum in the night, occasionally breaking out into song.
"Chaplin Crescent", the song began.