Friday, May 8, 2009

Bus Stop

I have entered a brave new world by moving to the boonies. I am now taking a transit bus from the boonies to the big city. I have taken public transportation for years, but I used to drive 8 miles to the subway station (we call it Metro here in these parts), park my car and then take the train to my office downtown. The train would be packed with people, some of whom didn't smell so good. Sometimes the trains broke down and we'd have to get out and cram ourselves onto the platform and wait for the next train. Sometimes in the evening I would have to stand the whole way home, which killed my back. The morning trains were usually quiet cause everyone was half asleep, but the evening trains could get pretty rowdy. There was constant starting and stopping and door chimes. Now I drive 3 miles to a Park and Ride lot and get on a cushy motor coach that whisks me downtown in silence and comfort. I am at the second stop of 3 that the bus makes so i always get a seat. We each have our own reading light but most people just sleep so the bus is dark and quiet in the morning. The drivers are all professional and courteous. So far everyone has smelled just fine.

The most interesting part of this whole new world is the morning bus stop. There is a definite code of conduct that you can only learn by watching the others around you. The weirdest thing that I still haven't gotten used to is that we do not line up single file facing the person in front of you. The first person stands facing the street and the next person stands to the left about a foot away also facing the street. As each person arrives they stop and turn and face the street. Some put their bags down, some hold on to them. Some grip travel coffee mugs like their very life depends on it. When the line reaches the end of the building the next person stands behind the last person and the line continues to the right. The line snakes around this way, usually three rows deep by the time the bus arrives. When the bus pulls up the front line turns to the right and files onto the bus but the rest of the line stays in place and waits for the end of the line to get in front of them, at which point they just walk forward. It is the weirdest thing I have ever witnessed. On top of all that we are facing a row of abandoned buildings and there is a spotlight shining on us. I always feel like I'm in one of those prison movies and I'm waiting for the firing squad to arrive and pick us off one by one.

I always sit as close to the front as I can and on the right side of the bus because there is a partition behind the driver and you can't see out through the windshield. The afternoon stop is much more typical although no one can seem to decide which way the line should go, so some days it goes one way down the street and other days it goes the other way. I am usually the first one there, so I let the rest of them fight it out.

I have fallen asleep every day on this bus. Morning and afternoon. It is lovely to get another hour or so of sleep. This raises two concerns though. One is that I am terrified that I will sleep through my stop, but so far I always wake when the bus gets off the highway and begins stopping at stoplights. Secondly it has been reported by Sheldon and Miles that I snore. I have never snored before in my life. My ex-husband who slept in the same bed with me for 16 years assures me that I never snored when we were together, so I suppose this is a new and lovely by-product of old age. So every day I worry that I am snoring while passed out on the bus. So far no one has pinched me or poked me, but I'm curious to see if people stop sitting by me. I'll keep you posted.

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