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, March 24, 2008

Beginner's luck

I waved goodbye to the wife and the kid as the Dodge Caravan backed out of the driveway and onto Edison Avenue. They were late. Well, not late but they had missed their 7:15 target departure. It was closer to 7:18.

The wife waved back. She told the kid to wave and he leaned so he could see me in the kitchen window and waved.

They drove off and then the nerves set in and I fretted: Would the wife get to the stop in time? Would the bus arrive on time? Would the bus make the light rail connection? Would light rail arrive in time to meet the second bus? Would the wife ever make it to work? Would I be left to raise a teenage son alone?

I went back to bed.

The wife arrived at the stop in time to walk to the bus stop bench, set her bags down and sit and take out her phone. When she looked up, she saw the bus coming up the street.

As the wife gathered up her bags the bus stopped -- 20 feet short of the bench.

The wife is convinced that the driver saw that she had three bags and deliberately stopped short of the bench so that she would have to get up and lug the bags the extra distance. She's new. She'll learn. Last week, I watched a driver roll past a stop where a woman was waiting in the bus shelter. This was a shelter near my house. There is only one bus that serves that location, and it was the one that didn't stop. The lady just sat and watched the bus roll by. She didn't get up. She didn't wave or shout. I think she would have settled for an extra 20-foot walk instead of the extra 30-minute wait for the next bus.

Beginners luck held for the wife. The bus deposited the wife at the Watt/Manlove light rail station exactly on schedule. Seven minutes later, the train to Rancho Cordova arrived and the wife was on her way. At the Mather Field station, the wife got off and immediately boarded a No. 73 bus for the final leg of the trip. The wife arrived at work after a short walk from the nearby bus stop, confident, she says, that she will lose 10 pounds in two months.

The wife should have purchased a Lotto ticket, judging from her luck today.

On the trip home, the connections are even closer together. The bus from work to the Mather Field light rail station arrived on time, but the train was a minute or two late. By the time the train arrived at Watt/Manlove, it was four minutes behind schedule. As the train pulled into the station, the wife saw her bus waiting at the curb on Folsom. Another minute later and . . .

Everything went fine on the last leg of the commute until she arrived at her final destination and got off the bus. No son.

The wife had called the kid when she boarded the bus and told him to meet her bus in a half-hour. Well, that was just too much to ask. When the wife got off the bus she called the ungrateful wretch. He was still at his girlfriend's house. So the wife started hoofing it home. After about five blocks the kid finally caught up with her.

When I arrived home later in the evening, the wife dictated a detailed summary of the adventure. I laughed until I cried when she described as her "biggest" complaint: No benches at the White Rock and Prospect Park bus stops.

Beginners luck. Tomorrow she tries it again.


Anonymous said...

"I laughed until I cried when she described as her "biggest" complaint: No benches at the White Rock and Prospect Park bus stops."

Benches have been requested.

Brian Goldner said...

congrats on getting her to try something new!
I remember how much I had to cajole my girlfriend into biking around the city, and now she loves it!
I hope your wife has more transit luck!