There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The art of getting settled

I know why the dog circles several times before finally laying down. In a previous lifetime, the dog was a transitarian. A transitarian just can't get comfortable immediately.

Or so it seemed this week.

I've rearranged some prework morning activities, which has left me ready to leave for work at 8 a.m. instead of 8:30. Rather than puttering around the house for a half-hour, I've been going to work early and devoting some of that extra time to walking.

Having used the 30 line bus the previous week, I decided try it again.

Monday and Tuesday worked well. I arrived at Sac State on the 82 bus. The 30 bus was parked and waiting. I got off and walked over to the 30 bus and boarded. Better than the torment of just missing the early train at the 65th Street station and waiting for the scheduled connection 15 minutes later.

This was looking good. The transitarian circled again and considered committing to this route. Then Wednesday arrived and when I got off the bus at Sac State there was no 30 bus waiting. Before I figured out I could just get back on the 82 and take the train, the 82 bus was gone. So I sat down on a bench and waited.

Shortly a DASH bus -- the special 15 minute service for J Street -- arrived. The driver got out, shut the bus doors and left. So I waited.

Eventually the DASH driver returned, and as she walked toward the bus, I got up and walked over to join several passengers waiting outside the closed bus doors. But the driver stopped before she got to the bus. The passengers and I watched her, but she kept her distance. She didn't move and she didn't attempt to explain the nature of the standoff.

The puzzle was finally solved a couple of minutes later when a 30 bus pulled up behind the DASH bus. The DASH driver silently motioned the passengers to board the other bus.

So on Thursday I approached Sac State a little apprehensive. I reassured myself: If the 30 isn't waiting, just continue to light rail. But the 30 bus was there. I exited and hurried to it.

Just as I boarded the driver closed the door and started off. I nearly toppled into a seat. This was new. On the trips Monday and Tuesday the driver had waited several minutes before starting.

So I circled again Friday.

When the 82 bus arrived at Sac State at 8:49 there was another bus waiting, but the "Not in service sign" glowed in the rear.

Remembering Wednesday, I wasn't comfortable waiting for the next bus. I decided to stay on the 82 and take light rail. As the 82 bus left Sac State a DASH bus and another bus were pulling in. The second bus didn't have its rear sign illuminated.

It was too late to change my mind. I had the 30 bus schedule in my backpack, but it didn't matter now. I should have consulted it before the 82 arrived at Sac State.

The rest of the trip to work was uneventful. At my office I pulled out the 30 schedule and discovered that the next 30 bus leaves Sac State three minutes after I arrived. The second bus I had seen as I left Sac State was undoubtedly the 30 bus arriving.

And so the transitarian circles, seeking that comfortable spot.

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