The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

My Photo
Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thank You, Driver, For Getting Me Here

This morning I was afforded another opportunity to use River City's mass transit system. Rare, though those opportunities are. With my own vehicle still out of commission, and any assurances that I'll have it back being tenuous at best, I ventured out into the wee hours today to experience, firsthand, what 75 cents' worth of transportation buys you.

Lucky for me, the route from the stop closest to our apartment (less than a block from my front door) to my downtown office (again, the stop is less than a block from my building) is a relatively straight shot and a single bus journey (unlike Highlander who has to transfer midway on a much longer and much more meandering route...::shudder::...daily).

And so, this morning, after plunking down my fare and grabbing a seat on the already quite crowded bus, I began to look around at my fellow passengers. See, like Lisa, when circumstances permit, I nurture that little voyeur that lives inside me. For far less than the price of even a matinee, I was treated to a number of vignettes. Some, of course, were better than others. Then, there are always those that I feel obligated to "embellish".

Like the clean-shaven man in nice clothes carrying a suitcase, who got off the bus in front of a homeless shelter at 7:00 in this morning. It makes you wonder. You wonder if his life just took an abrupt turn. You wonder if maybe his weekend started out okay and then went completely in the crapper. One too many trips to the strip club, Charlie and your wife told the last time that if you did it again you'd be out on the streets.

I was, literally, the last person left on the bus this morning, so I got to watch all of the other passengers as they went off into their respective Mondays. The large group that got off at the courthouse. Most dressed professionally, who presumably work there, a few more casually attired folks who might have been going to see relatives incarcerated over the weekend.

The three stoners, two teenaged boys and a girl, who were stumbling so badly they were holding each other up as they made their way to the front door of the rehab clinic. I found myself wondering if they were all going for treatment en masse, or which were the escorts and which was the new admission. I hate to quote someone like Danny Bonaduce, but the scene reminded me of something I once heard him say, in a tone that clearly indicated any contradiction of the statement would be insane. "Nobody goes to rehab sober."

The bus driver, who I'd like to note did a superb job routing us through the pre-rush hour traffic in a timely fashion (I do realize I could have done far worse in this department), bellowed a "Good Day to you, Thomas.", back towards the rear doors as an African boy in a McDonald's uniform disembarked. Thomas' own thick accent made it difficult to completely understand him, but I'm pretty sure he was returning the well-wishes as he stepped down onto the sidewalk.

Now, considering that I live with someone who regularly utilizes the local bus system, it was interesting to me that it never occurred to me that people would strike up friendships in this environment, but, just as Thomas and the bus driver had obviously seen each other on a regular basis and become familiar, 'crocheting woman' and 'reading Dean R. Koontz woman' were chatting back and forth across the aisle in front of me. Neighbors maybe, but I'd ruled that out when they had gotten on at different stops. The coworkers angle met a similar fate when they got off at different stops. Bus friends. Someone with whom to pass the time while they ride the same bus each day. Hmmmmm. Interesting concept.

I looked around, wondering with whom on this bus I'd be likely to strike up such a friendship. 'Guy in suit reading Wall Street Journal' wasn't a likely candidate. Oh, I could be surprised, don't get me wrong. Just that someone with interests of that nature isn't someone with whom I'm likely to have much in common. Perhaps 'Goth chick with safety pin in nose' could offer some fashion tips I could pass along to my teens, but I'm just not sure. I know I have something in common with 'Guy bitching about the price of gas forcing him to start taking the bus'. But somehow, the thought of spending every morning having a bitch-fest free for all, didn't appeal. Well, not overly anyway. Frankly, there didn't seem to be any shortage of "characters" (heh, including me) to choose from.

It was interesting to me to think about all of the different people on the bus this morning. Wondering if any of them were irregular riders, only there because of singular incidents. Not knowing which were the ones who 'belonged' on there and which were the 'interlopers'. Each of them on individual tracks that somehow all intersected at the same place this morning, and I found myself wondering where theirs would take them after they were gone.

As we pulled to my stop, the last one on the route, the driver bade me a 'good day'. I immediately mused how it had been well worth the price of admission, not to mention the ride to work and all. I just couldn't bring myself to say it out loud to him...;)


Blogger Tony Collett said...

I was relaying what you said about taking the bus and having to walk a block at each end to Kathy, and she was amazed at that and the $1.50 each day cost. She has to pay $2 each day for someone to take her to work, and Saturday I have to take her in at 5am and pick her up.
Curse living here in the sticks! Curse having debts that keep me here!

7/24/2006 5:53 PM  
Anonymous jeorg said...

i am the variety of person who does not want to talk on the bus. mainly because i get motion sick on the bus and if i have to be on it for longer than ten minutes, i really could harf on the person next to me.

7/25/2006 11:27 AM  
Blogger Drew said...

I had to ride the bus in LA for a short period. It was fun and games until the crazy woman yelled at the driver until he stopped the bus and got out to cool down. Then it was just fun.

7/25/2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Tony -

I'm sure you walked right by my bus stop when you were here. $2 a day for door to door ain't bad, though. And if you really feel jealous, just drive down here and ride the bus all you want. You'll get that out of your system, reeeeaaaal quick.

Jeorg -

Do you have to wear a special pin or something to alert the other passengers? You know, kind of like a med-alert bracelet or something? Remind me when we do lunch that we want something in walking distance...;)

Drew -

It was another uneventful trip watching the peeps today. Starting to think that for the next couple weeks anyway (until my youngest is back and school and I have to shuttle her) that it might be a way to save some bucks. Used to be that I was running many errands at work, but right now, I'm kind of in between and it would be a good time. Until something crazy happens on the bus and I curse myself for not driving.

7/25/2006 2:09 PM  
Blogger Tony Collett said...

It's not jealousy as much as...I've had my share of the mass transit the year I went to IU, but when you have have to factor in close to $100 a week for gas when looking at prospective jobs, plus when your little town's merchantile system consists of a pizza place and a Dollar General store.
To paraphrase Ferris Bueller "I don't even have a piece of shit transit system, I have to envy yours"

7/26/2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Heh. I totally understand. My ride yesterday was not as nice. I got a bus home that had no A/C and the driver didn't seem overly concerned with watching the other traffic and narrowly averted TWO accidents.

Hee verification word is 'no buz gu'. Yeah, easily amused. Like it's the first time I've ever heard that...

7/26/2006 4:36 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home