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

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Blue funk

I've been in a blue funk for nearly a week. I lost my wallet last Thursday. I know when I last made a purchase. And I know when I first realized the wallet was missing.

For two days I hunted high and low around my house and at work. Nothing. I even made a trip to work on the bus Saturday to look again. No luck.

Sunday I started closing the credit cards. I figured that was the best way to locate the wallet. As soon as you close the cards, they magically reappear. This is similar to the way turning off your heater's pilot light or putting away the comforter will cause a weeklong spring cold snap. Closing the credit cards didn't return the wallet.

So on Monday I decided to get a new driver's license. I tried the appointment option. Two weeks was the earliest I could get in. Don't think so.

There's a DMV less than two miles from my house, but getting there on the bus and then to work is just too complicated. Sure, I could walk to DMV and then walk to a bus route, but the DMV on Broadway is on the No. 38 route and I often take the No. 38 from the 65th Street Transit Center when I don't want to wait for the inbound train.

Now to understand the depth of my blue funk you must first appreciate that it took not one, not two, but three trips to DMV to order a replacement driver's license. I'm not blaming DMV; it was all my fault. Shortly after I arrived Monday and I was filling out the paperwork, it dawned on me that I didn't have a wallet. No wallet meant I didn't have any money. That night I found two credit cards in a drawer and so Tuesday I returned to DMV, only to learn that DMV doesn't take credit cards. ATM or cash; no credit. That was all just as well since I later discovered at Safeway that the credit cards were expired. Really, I wasn't paying attention. It was a good thing I wasn't driving. This is how accidents happen.

Finally, today I arrived with enough cash to cover the $22 driver's license replacement fee and enough left over to buy some fruit at Safeway on the way to work.

Being a transitarian has a lot of advantages when dealing with DMV, even when you have to deal with it three times. After all, anyone who enjoys stretching a 20-minute solo commute into an hour of reading is going to find three 45-minute waits in the DMV office hardly worth mentioning. Needless to say, I got lots of reading done.

I did have a little good fortune in all of this. The No. 82 that I take to 65th Street is scheduled to arrive at 8:53 a.m. The No. 38 is scheduled to depart at 8:58. In a year of riding Sacramento Regional Transit buses, I have learned that a five-minute window of opportunity is very narrow, especially during commute hours. It's nice when it works, but can you count on it?

In three days that I needed to make the connection, the No. 82 arrived 65th Street at 8:53 just one day -- today. On Monday, it arrived at 8:57. The No. 38 was already boarding passengers, and as soon as I boarded, it departed. On Tuesday, the No. 82 didn't arrive at 65th Street until 9 a.m. But when I got off the bus and looked south on 65th Street, I could see the No. 38 in the distance on its way to the transit center. Serendipitous latest all around.

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