My bus rides are never boring, and Friday’s was no exception.
I had woken up at 4:30 that morning with a bad migraine, so by the time 6am rolled around, it took longer than normal to get ready for work. My migraine was down to a dull roar at that point, thanks to my life-saving T-3’s, but by the time I left the house, I was running late.
I have about a thirty second walk to the intersection I have to cross to get to my bus stop, and I swear there is a guy controlling those damn lights who has some kind of evil vendetta against me, because without fail, no matter what time I leave my apartment, the damn lights are just finishing the rotation that would allow me to simply prance across the street unhindered.
So now I’m running late and praying the evil light gremlin took a day off when I see the bus driving happily down the street toward me…and panic!
As I’m standing helplessly on the curb watching cars race by (keep in mind, this intersection is never normally very busy at this particular hour), I look to my right and see another stranded pedestrian panicking about missing the bus as well.
He wasn’t even at a light…just at a random spot on the curb.
I look to my left again at the stream of cars, and when I turn back to him I see him running across the icy street, narrowly escaping death.
I took a moment to admire his balls of steel before noticing a break in traffic and running across myself, feverishly praying I wouldn’t slip half way and break something important – like my pride.
I reached the center median with my pride intact and turned again to see what the guy was planning. Cars were streaming past and the bus had now reached the stop. I glanced at the destination on the top of the bus and saw that it was definitely my bus and panicked further. I do not like being late for anything and have only been about 5 mins late for work once (because of very bad, snowy conditions affecting traffic). Missing this bus would make my lateness possible if there was a lot of traffic on the way.
In the tiniest break possibly, balls-of-steel leapt from the curb and ran in front the bus, narrowly avoiding getting squished, and got on in record time.
In a split second decision, I thought, “Well if he made it without getting hit, obviously that tiny break in traffic is enough for me to make it too,” and promptly took off like a bat out of hell.
I managed to survive and got to the far curb just as the bus was taking off from its stop.
Now my thought here was, “Yo stupid bus driver man…obviously if you see someone risking their life to cross a busy street while LOOKING at your bus…it’s obvious they intend to get on it. Why the hell would you start driving away???”
I stood on the curb and flagged Mr. Clueless down. Thankfully he stopped.
I forced a pleasant smile as I got on, thanked him for stopping, and turned to figure out where I would sit.
This is always the most anxiety provoking part of my bus travels because for that 10 seconds, the person who just got on is the focus of EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE DAMN BUS!
This kind of attention would be enough to make me swear off buses completely if it weren’t for the fact that the alternative would cost me about $100 a month more than my bus pass costs (parking and gas)…not to mention the added stress of traffic, and starting the car at the end of the day and having to sit in it while it warms up, shivering to death.
So as every single person stares at me, waiting for my decision…it slowly dawns on me that there are a hell of a lot more seats available than usual. In fact…there are only about 10 people on the bus.
Suddenly, the bus starts turning right when it should be going straight.
At this moment I realize three things simultaneously.
The first is that I can’t read and got on the wrong damn bus.
The second is that this particular bus will drop me about 3 (very long) blocks away from work.
The third is that with the wind-chill being about -40…I was going to freeze my ass off.
I should explain to you here that this bus turns the corner and stops almost immediately at another stop on the street it turned onto.
I could have gotten right off and walked 2 seconds back to the original stop to wait for the bus I was supposed to take.
But…this would have meant the 10 people on the bus, plus the driver, would have realized that I had raced across the street narrowly avoiding death, flagged down the bus making it stop at an undesignated stop, all for nothing…because I had gotten on the WRONG FRIGGING BUS!!!
There was absolutely no way in hell I was giving the bus driver the satisfaction of laughing at me when I had been so annoyed with him for trying to leave me behind in the first place. Nor would I give the bus zombies the satisfaction of having an idiot to laugh at.
Nope! I was staying on that damn bus until I got to my stop and then I’d walk three VERY LONG blocks to my work in -40 degree weather!!! It was a matter of pride at that point. Since I hadn’t broken my very fragile pride crossing the street like a crazy woman…I was intent on keeping it intact the rest of the day.
As I sat contemplating my idiocracy, a woman dragging a screaming, crying child got on. The level of this child’s cries were directly proportionate to the level of pain I was feeling due to the migraine.
Luckily, the woman hadn’t made the child pee before leaving home (seriously…who packs their child into a snowsuit and goes to get on a bus without first making them sit on the potty??? The kid was like 3 or 4 years old!!!). Because of this oversight, she had to get off at the next stop to avoid a very wet snowsuit and bus seat. I silently thanked every single God who had heard my prayers that the cute little child would just shhhhhhhhh! <– maybe not exactly the words going through my head at that moment.
Thankfully I eventually made it to my stop in one piece, shivered my way to work, and went on with my uneventful, very slow work day.
I did end up having a very crappy drive on the highway later to drop my girls to their dad in blizzard-like conditions, but that’s a story for another day. Thank God Friday is over!