She would step aboard [the bus] and from that vantage point look down upon the world as it went about its business. As the bus drew nearer the shops of Oxford Street, already clerks and assistants were walking and running purposefully towards their day's toil. And she could see the moving throng as it formed into tributaries and streams, running ever onward towards the ocean of commerce, a day's work and a day's pay. Each of the people had a life and, if they were fortunate, a family who loved them and who they loved in return--perhaps a wife at home, a babe in the nursery, an aging parent who needed help, brothers and sisters. It was as if she had been looking down upon a landscape of human activity, a charting of everyday endeavor. As she considered, not for the first time, the part she played in the grand scheme, a question came to mind. Was she forging ahead in a stream of her own making, or was she allowing herself to be carried out by a riptide, ever onward towards...what?
-From The Mapping of Love and Death (2010)