In a large European city (most probably London), there are bus drivers who go round and round on their routes. The purpose of their work is not to take people from point A to point B, but to maintain the balance of the bus system.
If you finish the run too early, you will be chided. If you finish too late, you will also be chided. When obstacles are in the way (such as street repairs), the managers throw hissy fits and the drivers become stressed out.
The conversations between the bus drivers goes something like this. Jeff comments: . “ “Is there a difference between early running and running early?” he enquired. “Not really, “ I said. “Early running is the generic form. Running early is the deed itself.””
As in all of Mills’ novels so far, there are wry comments and commentaries on British life. For example, during a break, the guys were talking about the university graduates (who were hired by the company) and their failure to come up with an appropriate slogan. The narrator commented that it was a waste of taxes. However, Edward remarked “”The purpose of taxation is to spend other people’s money, “ he explained. “Therefore, by definition, it cannot be wasted. “”
In another phase of Mills’ life, he worked as a bus driver in London. So, the novel probably has some realistic scenes in it.