I was startled to discover that the number 1 bus actually exists. Buses should have numbers such as 83, 176, 214 or maybe 47 if you’re being generous. The number 1 is far too obvious and confident, asserting itself as if it is the most solely important route in London. That goes for all the buses numbered from 1-9, 10 and upwards is where I will reluctantly accept buses as they are. But number 1 is the most glaring, stealing out of the gloom like a pirate vessel.
Can it have been the first route in London? What system was there for its numbering that so determined it is worthy of the number 1? Does it overlap with 2 and 3, or 10, or 100? I demand answers. All these things I could find out I suppose with a little bit of time and care but I’d rather prefer to conjecture and hypothesise.
Perhaps the bus numberers only go route by route, each one spidering out from the centre until they reach zones 8 and 9 where you can see cows from the tube. Or maybe they roll the dice and throw darts at the map and decide on that basis - it makes no difference to them.
But it makes a difference to me - I must know why number 1 is what it is. It hasn’t earnt that title has it - for buses are collective mass, thousands of them bumbling over each other like termites, ants and centipedes, numbered in their thousands so they are indistinguishable. How then can there be a number 1 - it might as well be zero or infinity.
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