It's always good to have friends who will push you. Not literally push you so that you fall flat on your face or rear and are injured, but metaphorically push you, encourage you, spur you on to something that will be good for you or challenging. I think you get the point. I have friends who do that. Sometimes let myself be pushed. Other times my feet are planted firmly in cement and there is NO.WAY. that I will move. Stubbornness runs in my family.
Wednesday afternoon, K texted me. She asked about the job and something else and then said "so, have you taken the bus yet?". No... K's reply was "I'm teaching over there tomorrow, we can carpool home." Push.
I deliberated for awhile and then I got in my car to go home at 5:15pm. It took 15 minutes to go two blocks. I stopped in at a Target instead. I got home a little after 7pm, stressed out and not looking forward to driving again the next day. I guess I was taking the bus.
Thursday morning I got up extra early. I went to my favorite coffee spot, which was so much quieter at that time of the day than when I had been there two days before an hour and a half later. Favorite coffee in hand I went to the bus center. I was 5 minutes too late for one bus and 15 minutes too early for the next one. But people were already starting to head down to the center, so I got myself together and went down the hill.
Now, there are no markings anywhere that say which side of the center the bus will stop at. There are no markings that say "stand here for Bus B". There were a group of people lining up, so I kinda lined up with them. A bus came and I thought, "wait a minute this doesn't look right." So I spoke up. "okay, I'm new here. Is this the express bus?" "Yes", was the reply, "for company-named-after-fruit." Ohhhh....private bus for that company-named-after-fruit, got it. Not mine.
I turned around and saw another group of people lining up. I meandered their way. That's when I clued into the phenomenon that I hadn't clued into with the company-named-after-fruit line, which is they were getting in a line. It was fascinating. Just like school children waiting for the school bus, they all lined up. I wasn't in the line, I was clearly breaking code.
When the express bus pulled up, that line marched right on. I muscled my way into the line, got on the bus and spotted a seat along the back of the bus. It was a bench seat with two people already seated but room for at least two more. Someone else sat next to me and the bus got on it's way.
The bus ride was quiet. Super-duper quiet. No one talked. No one. The lady to my right was on her smartphone for half the trip. The lady to my left was doing schoolwork. Two others were sleeping, one doing that awful head-nod-JERK! thing. Another lady went between reading her book and using her phone and sighing whenever she checked to see how far along the bus had gotten. Another one had her headphones in and so on. The whole bus was quiet...and segregated. With the exception of the young woman who had a rolling soup cart, the men were in the front of the bus, the women in the back. I finally gave in and pulled out my iPod and started listening to the audiobook I had gotten from the library (Sandra Day O'Connor, The Majesty of the Law).
As the express bus made it's way over the hill (which is literally how this commute is referred to in this part of the country) I began to pay attention to the movement of the bus or rather, how I moved with the bus as it took some of the turns on this commute. Having nothing to lean on, I began to brace myself with my right or left foot, so I didn't slide into my neighbors. Maybe this wasn't the best seat. (Or was it? That seat shall hereto after be referred to as the bus-butt-workout-seat. My glutes and hamstrings were sore on Friday!) We finally made it down the hill and to the bus stops.
This is where my anxiety started to rise again. I had made it onto the bus, would I get off at the right stop? Luckily, this bus is also equipped with an automated voice system and scrolling information bar that helps out. It announced where we were at various intervals on the trip, including the upcoming stops. Soon my stop was listed and the next thing I knew I was on the street, looking for the light rail.
A short, anti-climatic ride later and I was at my office door...a full 20 minutes before my scheduled start time. I had survived the bus. One way, at least. I will be attempting a round trip ride on Monday. I wonder if people are friendlier on the way home?