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, April 1, 2008


The hardest thing to do is admit you goofed. Don't believe me? Just look at the Bush administration and it's "So?" sorry attitude.

I had not been waiting long at the 65th Street transit center when the No. 82 bus rolled to a stop in front of me. I closed my book and showed my pass to the driver and took a seat.

Almost immediately the driver closed the door and started to leave. This was unusual. Normally, there's a wait of several minutes before we leave. But I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth, or a gift bus driver, for that matter.

As the driver pulled away from the curb I saw a regular rider wave the bus down. The driver stopped and let the guy board.

"You're leaving a little early," the guy said as he showed the driver his pass.

The driver demurred, saying something that included the word "approximate" and the word "schedule."

The guy disagreed, but he let the subject drop, satisfied to have his ride home.

Earlier in the evening the wife had called me at the office to find out whether she should get off light rail at Starfire or wait until her train arrived at Watt. I checked RT's and told her to get off at Starfire. The bus she wanted would be there in just four minutes.

Ten minutes later, the wife called back: "Where's my bus?"

I explained that she is not allowed to ask until the bus is 15 minutes late. (See this post.) I checked the schedule of the bus. Her train was on time, so she didn't miss the bus. "It must be late," I said. At that time I was not yet aware of the "approximate" nature of the "schedule."

"When the bus is 15 minutes late you can call 321-BUSS and find out what happened," I told her. "Or you can call now and wait on hold for five minutes. That'll work, too."

"Nevermind," the wife said, "here comes the bus -- 15 minutes late."

Better late than sorry, I thought at the time. Better late than early, I considered as my bus left the transit center and turned onto 65th Street.

"Well, I guess you were right," the driver said to the guy who had mentioned that the bus was leaving early. "Now I see we left three minutes early."

The driver then turned right on Folsom and then right again back into the transit center while he explained his confusion with the schedule of the No. 82.

"Maybe another train has arrived since we left and more people are waiting," the driver said as he worked his way to the No. 82 bus stop.

The driver parked the bus and opened the door and waited. No one was waiting to get on, and no one else arrived before we left again.

Better on time than early, I thought as I returned to my book.

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