on waiting for the bus

we waited 20 minutes -- and this wasn't actually our bus. I was too excited when our bus arrived to take its picture.

I’ve spent roughly 620 hours of my life waiting for buses, and at least 375 of those hours involved waiting for the number 51 bus in Berkeley, CA.  I took that bus all through grad school and law school at Cal — the stop is right across the street from a fraternity, which provided either an entertaining way to while away time while waiting for the 51, or excrutiating, depending on the day of the week, the level of drunkenness at the frat, and how late the bus was running that particular day.  I’ll let you guess how many hours fell into each category.

One clue:  I’ve never longed for the time when I could go back to using the bus for all my transportation needs.

It turns out I’ve become less impatient, and apparently I’ve seen so much public drunkenness that I don’t even notice it anymore.  As a result, when we were in Seattle, and had all the time in the world, waiting for the bus that took us from downtown Seattle to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal was not a problem.  In fact, because it was the day of the gay pride parade, it was pretty entertaining.  Although really, I think the S&M contingent could have toned it down some.  The guy with the multi-color painted penis?  Needed to stay home.  Ditto the ladies with the targets painted on their breasts.  After William and I walked away from that, and I said I didn’t think I’d be able to scrub those images out of my head, he advised me to think about ballerinas.  Apparently, it works every time.

We waited a long time for that bus.  And even though I’ve become mellower about waiting, I still love that moment when the bus comes into view.


9 thoughts on “on waiting for the bus

  1. I didn’t have a car when I lived in San Francisco and so the bus and my feet were my only modes of transportation (rarely took cabs – too expensive). Didn’t mind it one bit. Each bus has its own “personality” – depending on where it goes and who rides it. One thing I learned though – wash your hands after riding the bus!

  2. I miss taking the bus. Or maybe I just use the excuse that it’s a big pain to drag a baby and her stroller and all her other stuff on board with me. This post is making me rethink my bus usage.

    Oh, and William is a genius. Ballerinas. Yes. Very good.

  3. Rotten public transportation where I live. Wish I could ride the bus more often. A few years ago, when it made sense to take the bus (it actually went to general vicinity of my job) My boss asked if I was riding the bus because of a DUI. Apparently one if the other categories of riders besides drunks.

  4. That William. I just love him.

    I didn’t buy my first car until I was 25, so there was a time I rode the bus daily. It’s nice to read & let someone else worry about the traffic. And books are useful deflectors for letches and sundry. But overall, I much prefer a home office. 🙂

  5. The act of waiting can be so creative. Remember when waiting for the bus or train meant daydreaming and fidgeting instead of gazing at smartphones? I fear an entire generation may have daydream deficit.

  6. Tai — what an interesting observation. Can you daydream when you’re idly thumbing through your phone? Probably not properly, if there’s such a thing as proper daydreaming.

    Courtney! It’s true — you are reading blogs during your break. I’m so happy to hear from you. It’s true, a good visual image in the middle of a difficult experience can work wonders. And congrats on that committee.

    You’re so right, Marie. Buses are perfect places to read, if you have a seat. The trouble for me back in school was that I was such an idiot that I took the bus home even though it was about a mile and a half and I could have just walked or biked. But I didn’t know how easy that was back then. And so the ride was really short! Silly, the things we don’t see.

    Cam — that is really funny! It sums up an entire mindset about why people take the bus: they’re forbidden to use their cars, because otherwise any sane person would drive. Ha.

    Mari, how IS it taking the bus in southern california? When I lived in LA I don’t think I ever took one. And I could have.

    C — I too feel loyal to the 51, although I also take the 49, which used to be the 7, because it goes from the Rockridge BART station up Clarement. But now that I have the beautiful aqua bike, well, it”s the bus-less life for me.

    Deb — That handwashing tip? It’s why I love you. xo

  7. I remember waiting for the bus as a kid, freezing, crossing through a snow bank to get to it when it finally finally came, usually one of three in a row. I like taking the subway, but I am still not keen on waiting for a bus! (I’ll have to remember the ballerina tip).

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