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Bus Story: The Trauma Bond

March 4, 2011

We’re scooting along our regular route, in a section where there are many vehicles merging and swapping lanes. Buses here have a Universal Right of Way; at least that’s how I think of it. They are always to be given the right of way, but the capricious nature of other drivers doesn’t lend itself to this working all the time. So here we are, moving along, none of the passengers talking, everyone with their head down in a book or looking out the window when we come to a screeching halt. Everyone is jostled forward with a fair bit of a jolt; but we’re all seated and, thankfully, no one was hurt. Kindly Driver Guy gets on speaker and checks to make sure all is well and to apologize for the momentary kerfuffle. And then the interesting thing happened: people who, moments before were in their own worlds and disconnected from the other riders, turn to their neighbors and begin talking about The Incident. Those without seat-mates look across aisles and share meaningful glances. We humans have an odd but rather predictable response to being startled or scared: we need others to confirm that it was indeed scary and to share in the experience. Think about why watching scary movies is always better in a group. There is a parable in here somewhere about life in general and even about scary things at work. We are an odd species, that’s for sure.

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