How a Snapchat from a stranger changed my life

Warning: moving and profound life lessons ahead.

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A few weeks ago, I woke up, reached over to check my phone, and found that I had a Snapchat from a stranger.

Barely even awake, I unlocked my phone with one hand, and waited for the Snapchat to load, groggily trying to work out whether someone I knew just had a weird username.

And then I opened it.

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The whirlwind of questions that filled my mind upon viewing this image is hard to describe, but I’ll give it a go:

1. Who the hell is this?
2. Is he… driving a bus?
3. Jesus Christ, am I being sent unsolicited Snapchats by a bus driver?
4. How should I know whether it’s nearly holiday time yet?
5. What’s holiday time?
6. Should I be worried?

I am, as of today, no closer to answers for any of those questions.

My bus driver remains an enigma. Just gaze into his egg-like face. That vast, mottled forehead. Those deep, bottomless eyes. That sardonic, slightly twisted, almost kinky pout.

Sexiest bus driver of the year award? Perhaps not. But there’s an admirable swagger in his cavalier attitude to driving a bus and taking selfies at the same time, not to mention the fact that he is clearly very excited about a Time in the near future when he can go on Holiday, a holiday which will no doubt involve hijinks with other bus drivers. A busman’s holiday, if you will.

Am I invited to this holiday? Is that the implication? That I have been chosen, out of all the world, to accompany my bus driver upon his yearly retreat away from the grind and bustle of perpetual stagecoach induced monotony?

The more I looked at the image, the more hidden depths I saw in it.

Take the crinkles around his eyes. Here is a man who has seen things, who has spent many unsleeping nights tossing and turning at bus-related horrors we cannot even begin to imagine.

Look at his reflective jacket, hung nonchalantly from a peg, framed so as to suggest that were he to need it, say in an emergency, our intrepid bus driver could in a very short amount of time put on the reflective jacket, disembark from his vehicle, and perhaps direct some congested traffic.

Truly, our bus driver is the Mona Lisa of Snapchats.

But in some ways, he surpasses her, for our bus driver is, unlike the Mona Lisa, alive, and therefore can continue sending Snapchats, which he did indeed proceed to do.

These popped into my eagerly-awaiting inbox over the next few weeks:

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What is he thinking of? What lights the wistful twinkle in his eye?

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A simple caption, and yet the pose is more regal than the previous works. Admire the glow in his satisfied cheeks.

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Not quite sure about this one. Suffers for not containing the beatific face we’ve come to love and crave.

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A stunning final piece. A tilted head that looks towards eternity. What is he dreaming of? Is it holiday time? Truly, will any of us on this god-forsaken war-wracked world ever reach Holiday Time?

That last work was only received a mere two days ago, and I hope with confidence for the series to continue, for the betterment of all culture.

Even with a thousand columns, I don’t think I could properly ever explain the impact this bus driver and his art has had on me.

The effects on my character have been subtle but pervasive. I am more pensive. Less quick to anger. I take more work selfies. I am partial to chill time. If I see a cat which is ginger, I feel a strong and peculiar urge to label it as such.

This mysterious bus driver has taught me that to be human, one only has to strive. One only has to live each day, and be recognised, and dream, and chill, and pout sardonically.

And maybe, just maybe, one day I will clamber aboard your bus, and our eyes will meet, and we’ll both know that holiday time has finally arrived.