Thursday, July 31, 2008

live and learn.

Well... my first try riding the bus was, well, interesting. Needless to say I won't be posting any pictures because I am trying to forget most of the experience. The best word to describe the whole scenario: awkward. I was really excited yesterday to give the old CARTA a shot, so I woke up early, check the schedule, and trudged the quarter mile to my stop. The day was looking up, because my stop had a bench AND was in the shade. I was rockin out to my i-pod, reading my latest national geographic, and relaxing in my usual earliness. Then enters.... the creepy guy. He is a wiry, middle aged, three toothed Indian man with breath I won't even try to describe. Since I find it almost impossible NOT to talk to strangers I started asking him questions (clearly before I realized that his breath could incapacitate a 300 lb man) . At first I thought the conversation would be short because he kept answering "9:02" to everything I asked (that being the time when the bus was suppose to come). Then he started opening up. The conversation took a turn for the worst when he asked if I was married (note to self, always just say yes) and realized that I was single. When the bus finally came, I let him get on first so that I could put some distance between us, but low and behold, he turns his body completely around to stare at me.... It was so ridiculous that the lady next to me goes "ooooooh girl. you need to watch out for him." I ended up riding the bus all the way to the last stop just so he would have to get off first. Yes, I had to walk about 2 miles with all of my stuff, but at least I was safe from Hubert. Yes, his name was Hubert.

On a more practical note... I did get to ride the bus for free because I am a student- which is awesome. I also realized that the route maps are ridiculously out of date and there are actually twice as many stops as listed- also very cool. Just for you, and well me too, I went through all of this blindly so we could learn a few things. Make sure you are near the sign and the enter through the front door, flash your student/faculty ID, and exit through the back door when you get off. If you need to stop, you should pull the yellow cord hanging by the windows, which will light up the sign at the front which will say "Stop Requested". This does require that you know the general vicinity of the next stop- something that I learned the hard way. You don't want to have to walk a mile and a half, arms full, when it is 101 degrees out side... trust me. If it is a popular stop or you can already see people waiting, this is not necessary. Know which side of the street you need to be on depending on which direction the bus is going and PAY ATTENTION to what the sign says on the front of the bus. A general rule- whatever direction the bus is facing when it stops is the direction that it is headed, which sounds obvious but whatever. There are also express buses that pick up at one central location and drop off at a central location, ie, Citadel Mall to Downtown; if you get on one of these they will not make any stops in between. If you are a bike/bus rider combo, there are two racks at the front of the bus for bikes, but if they are both full, be prepared for the bus to fly past you (unless its at night and they will sometimes let you walk it on). My friend told me that sometimes they will stop and you can find out when one of the other bikers will get off, so you can try and haul ass to their stop and take their place. Since I am a sissy and totally out of shape, I'd sooner ride at my own pace all the way downtown and skip the bus all together. Also, make sure you dress for the weather; be prepared to be rained on, sun-burned, and frozen. At the end of the day, its really nice not having to park, get gas, or in my case, worry about the car breaking down.

All and all, it was a good "learning experience" and I am hoping that my next try will be a little less creepy/awkward/sweaty/frustrating. I am definitely saving tons of money and I am going to have some sweet calves after all the biking/walking. Problems I still haven't worked out: Do I have to buy one of those old lady carts for my groceries? Should I switch vets since I can't take Sadie on the bus? If I am going to a business meeting, should I bring a change of clothes? How much does a taser gun really cost?
Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Magellan said...

If you ever have a 911 vet vist need you can always call me my car is a dog taxi. Other then that YIPPIE Bus! I take the express its awesome.