Monday, September 22, 2014

I Get Around

With the exception of the big yellow school bus that picked me up at the bottom of the hill every morning and one brief east-west bus ride in New York, I had not ridden a bus in my life until I moved into Seattle, sold my ailing Accord and became a full-time, car-free bus rider for three years. A move south of the city and a pregnancy put me back in a car, and I haven't ridden a city bus since except for once with Sicily when she was five.

Until Saturday.

We planned a two-festival day, taking the car to the first one in Hampden. When we returned home for a break before heading to the next festival in Canton, we decided to park the car and Uber down to the waterfront, where parking would be scarce, hotly contested, and a serious PITA. This was our first time Uber-ing, and it was worth the $13.91 fare (which is about ten bucks cheaper than a cab). We figured we would Uber home and everything would be awesome.

Until we decided to Uber on a Saturday night at peak time when fares go up times three. So our affordable ride down turned into a $36 quote for a ride home.

Enter the city bus.

In nearly no time, and with minimal fuss, Yogi and I were installed in the comfortable back seats of a city bus, a one-bus, 30-minute ride home, pockets just $3.20 lighter (total). We got to watch the Baltimore go by and let the city worry about their shocks and struts. We found a mobile site that listed all routes and times and also found a thing that texts you when the next bus is coming to your location.



Now we are bus riders. Maybe not everywhere, but certainly to downtown. Maybe not all the time, but definitely when we can slow down and don't have to be any particular place.

It is pretty liberating to be able to navigate the city by bus. It is hard to explain, but somehow I feel more confident every time I do something simple like this.

I am 43 years old, and I rode the bus, and it makes me feel good.

Some will read that and think about the sheltered life I have lead, and they are to some extent absolutely correct. It's like I have been in hiding for awhile. Within the confines of everyday life I have become comfortable and that has made me unadventurous.

When Sicily was little she desperately wanted to ride the bus. So I planned an excursion to the International Farmer's Market in Dekalb county. This is about 25 miles as the crow flies, but in a car it's about an hour and 15 minutes, and by bus GOOD LORD it's a forever kind of time period that is based on late arrivals and full buses and transferring then walking and who knows what else.

We rode the bus for a couple hours, walked around the farmer's market for 15 minutes, then got back on the bus to go home. Sicily loved every minute of it.

That's kind of how I felt when we rode the bus home. I get around now, and I don't need a car. And that's liberating.


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