Saturday, April 12, 2008

Transportation: Adventures in bus riding

I don't know about you, but when I drive, I end up angry and frustrated. In the time it takes me to get from point A to point B, I always run in to an endless supply of people who a) don't know how to use a turn signal, b) change lanes with kamikaze abandon, and c) can't be bothered to keep their hands on the wheel because they are too busy talking on the phone, eating, and putting makeup on all at the same time.  What is up with that????  

So rather than submit myself to the frantic pace of traffic, arriving at my destination feeling tense, I just don't drive.  Now, I can - I know how. I have a license and my hubby has a car that I've been known to borrow on occasion, but for the most part, I rely on walking, biking or riding the bus.  Not only do I get plenty of natural exercise and fresh air (no need to spend money on expensive gym memberships or equipment), but I have some amazing experiences and meet unique individuals from all walks of life. 

For instance, yesterday I picked up the city bus in Northgate to travel from work to home. Shortly after the bus picked me up, we approached the light at College Main and University.  There were several cars in front who were stopped at the red light and a Budweiser truck off to the side unloading cargo for the local beer joints. So, the bus driver pulls over next to the Budweiser delivery driver, stops, opens the door and yells, "Hey! It's my birthday. You think we could have a free 12-pack in here. We could sure use it!"  The poor guy's face went blank as he stared at her nervously, trying to figure out if she was serious or not, while the dozen or so of us in the bus were rolling in our seats with laughter. For must of the rest of the ride, we talked amongst ourselves, laughed at jokes and stories, and I heard a few things about the WIC program that I never knew (as a result, I'm planning on talking to our local farmers market and see if we can do anything to help with WIC).  Now, when was the last time a drive to or from work made you laugh and feel connected with others in a meaningful way?

These kinds of things just don't happen when we drive to work, day in and day out, alone in our cars. I got a good laugh and learned a few things. I never knew how WIC worked, only that it exists. It turns out, I might be able to do something that could make it better. And then, maybe there's not anything I can do, but now I have the opportunity to try.  

Who needs to "get away from it all," when all you have to do is simply step out of your element for a change of pace. Take the bus, walk in a different part of town, or ride a bike on an errand.  Chances are you'll up end with a new experience, a good laugh, and perhaps a good story or two.

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