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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Riding on the edge

There is a line between success and failure when it comes to getting around on the bus. But that line is so thin as to be the difference between two sides of a single coin. If you make the connection, it's a success. It doesn't matter how close you came to missing the connection. It doesn't matter that depending on such a connection would be beyond foolish.

No. There's nothing like success.

I'm writing this on my Amtrak run to Oakland this morning. Last night, I arrived in Sacramento at 6:37 on an Amtrak trip that wasn't scheduled to arrive until 6:48 p.m. As I walked from the train, I saw a No. 30 bus arrive. I walked over to the bus and boarded. I picked up a No. 30 schedule -- I already had a No. 82 -- and settled in the back. I minute later, the bus began its circuitous route to J Street and Sacramento State.

The No. 30 bus I was riding was scheduled to arrive at Sacramento State at 7:03 p.m.
The No. 82 bus heading from CSUS to my house was scheduled to depart at 7:03 p.m.

I suppose that if I'm going bet on connections like that I should invest in Lottery tickets. Sure, you're not likely to win, but it could happen.

And, miracle of miracles -- or, more likely, thanks to the fact that we didn't have to pick up or drop off passengers at every stop -- we arrived at Sacramento State at 7:02 p.m. I had just enough time to walk from the No. 30 bus to where the No. 82 stops before I saw the No. 82 turning on to Sacramento State.

This morning, I boarded my regular bus outside my house at 6:27 a.m. and arrived at Sacramento State at the scheduled 7 a.m. But the No. 31 I need to ride to meet my Amtrak train connection didn't arrive 7:09. The No. 31 is scheduled to arrive at the Amtrak depot at 7:31 and the train is scheduled to depart at 7:40. Since I have been making this particular run, the bus has never been early to the station, but it has never been so late that I missed the Amtrak train. At least not yet.

The No. 31 was five minutes late leaving Sacramento State. I resigned myself to my fate and tried not to watch the clock display in the front of the bus.

By the time the bus turned on 5th Street for the final leg of the route, it was 7:37. By the time the bus came to a stop and I stepped off, it was 7:39 a.m. In the distance I could see the crowd of passengers waiting for the train.

I had made it. Imagine that.


Mattie said...

Twelve days without a new post...

Hope everything's okay with the Transitarian and his wife.

John said...

I apologize for the lack of posts. Between the job and three classes at ARC and the wife's cancer treatment, I've been hard-pressed to find time to write.