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

Monday, April 2, 2007

The day after April Fool's Day


Four of us crowded around the side door of the bus as it arrived at the 65th Street station. I knew better, but I had succumbed to the mob mentality. We watched the downtown train doors open as the leader of our group pushed futilely to open the bus doors. In unison we each silently hoped for something to delay that train just a few seconds. A handicapped rider, a stuck door, anything and we would all have time to rush across the street, through the station and up the stairs.

But it was clear before our little group crossed the street that none of us was going to reach the train. The clang of the bell announced the departure before the fastest of our runners reached the station.

I was embarrassed. I have two months of experience with this 82 bus and that downtown train. At the start of my third month of leaving my car at home and relying on Sacramento Regional Transit to get to work I know that the 82 bus isn't scheduled to arrive until long after that downtown train has departed.

One of the benefits of being an RT rider by choice is that I can smile at the irony of a schedule that torments the overanxious. Yes, the dilemma of whether to run or not to catch that early train frustrates, but I have never been late to work. And that, really, is the bottom line. Riding the bus and train over these two months has proven to be a reliable alternative to my solo commuting.

4 comments:

Maya said...

That's cool. You must have more flexible hours than I do (or ones that better coincide with your particular blend of transit modes). I am fine getting to work on days I am scheduled to be in at 8:30am, but on my 8:00 days, there's just no way for me to get there on time, short of getting there 30 minutes early...and I just don't like working that much!

John said...

Yes, I'm lucky to have a bus stop in front of my house and a job that lets me set my hours.

Perhaps you could guilt your supervisor into allowing you to shift your schedule so you can take advantage of transit. After all, it's good for the environment, socially responsible, etc., etc.

Maya said...

I would like to find these flexible, values-oriented employers who treat their employees like professionals. Mine always have ridiculously strict personnel policies and interminably long "core hours" (i.e. 8am-5pm and nothing less).

I see that I missed my opportunity to complain about my dilemma--as the downtown bitchfest was last night.

Ah well.

John said...

I suppose, like the poor, we will always have with us office managers who give preference to strict attendance rather than productivity.

Of course, if you take the bus that gets you to work a half-hour early you don't have to work right away. Taking in some of this fine Spring morning before surrendering to your office could take the edge off the day. A little meditation on a park bench with a cup of coffee, watching the humanity rush by into the office buildings might give the day some perspective.

You can call me Polly Anna. As I walked to work today at 10 minutes to 10 a.m. I pondered the fact that I had left my house at 8:35. I weighed the relative values. I teetered a little. It would be nice to live closer to my work. But I fell back to the overriding concept: It is what you do with your time, not how much of it you have.