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

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Rather Blustery Day

Standing at the bus stop waiting for my bus to work, I was reminded of this Pooh story. At least, I was reminded of the English version. But even in Swedish, you get the idea.

Having made such a big deal about how standing in the rain was just fine for a transitarian, I get to do it at least through Thursday, according to the weather guessers. This is an example of karma.

My personal definition of karma: Every thought, word or deed plants a seed, either good or bad, that manifests itself later. This works for bus drivers, too.

The bus was traveling along Morse, headed for the Winterstein Adult School at the intersection of Morse and Northrup. A Winterstein student pulled the stop request, but didn't realize there was another stop before the school.

The bus stopped at Amberwood. The driver opened the door. He waited.

"Somebody requested a stop," the driver said.


"Who's getting off," the driver asked, his annoyance made clear by his tone of voice.

Finally, a meek voice from the very back of the bus admitted to the error, and the driver, having secured the confession of the miscreant, proceeded to the next stop, where a number of Winterstein students departed.

Perhaps, if the driver was paying attention to the events that followed, he noticed that he is not immune to error.

While driving down Northrop toward Fulton, a woman asked the driver which was the closest stop to Fulton. The driver, who is not the regular No. 82 operator, stopped at Jonas. The woman, who walked with a severe limp, was getting up to leave the bus and walk two blocks to Fulton when another passenger, a woman who regularly rides the No. 82, suggested that there was a stop closer. Sure enough, there are stops on either side of Fulton.

And if the driver failed to get the point, a short while later he rolled through the guy who chases co-ed's stop at Howe and Northrup with the "Stop Request" sign clearly illuminated.

"Hey, stop, stop," the guy yelled from the side door. When the bus did stop, the guy muttered "jerk" and gave the driver a quick middle-finger salute as he scurried off to work.

Finally, just to underline the point, the driver nearly missed the turn from Folsom into the 65th Street transit center. He had to brake sharply when he finally realized his mistake and was just able to make the turn using outbound traffic lane.

So, maybe a little sympathy or at least a little tolerance for the erroneous stop requests by adults taking classes at Winterstein might offer some karmic relief for the driver. That, of course, assumes a certain self-awareness, a measure of enlightenment, and that wasn't exactly in evidence on the run today.

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