Sunday, September 25, 2016

I Rode The Bus And I Liked It

"Your self-imposed prison. That thing called your comfort zone. Challenge it. Stretch it. You will thank yourself." -Tony Curl

If every bus stop sat in such a glorious patch of sunshine and shadow, I might just ride forever.

* * * * *
"Mom, what if you took the bus?"

Since my car died last weekend after 348,000 miles of service, my family of five adults has been relying on my eldest daughter's Kia as our only set of wheels. 

Complicated? You betcha. 

Thank goodness my husband takes public transportation to his Seattle office. Once his employer began to offer free bus passes, he gave up his daily drive and our second car and has never looked back. 

My second- and fourth-borns usually ride the bus to work too. Convenient, fast and way cheaper than a car, the bus has been a great option in their lives since middle school mall days. They've had nothing but great experiences on our bus system and I'm proud of them for their street smarts. 

But me take the bus? ME? 

No no no no no.

Back in Chicago, I rode my fair share of those smelly, headache-making machines. I put up with the weirdos and the sardine-tin camaraderie for quite a few years, and have no desire to climb aboard a commuter bus ever again.

Still, as my daughter so rightly pointed out, the only logical way to get everyone where they needed to be was for me to take the bus.

So you know what I did?

I scrounged up two singles and a quarter out of the rarely-used cash section of my wallet.
I marched myself across the mall parking lot to the 113 bus stop.
And I rode the bus home.

You know what?

I liked it. 

The seats were neat and clean.
The windows freshly washed.
And the air did not reek of diesel fumes.

My fellow riders were a well-mannered cross-section of suburban America - mothers and toddlers, businessmen, young couples, college students, and a take-no-prisoners grandma riding a mountain bike. Different races, different cultures, different ring tones - on just a twenty-minute ride, I felt reconnected with the great American melting pot.

As they hopped off the bus, most passengers called out a thank-you to the driver.

No one in Chicago ever thanked the drivers.

* * * * * 

My bus ride took just a few minutes longer than if I had driven myself, but as I walked the last block home, I marveled at the difference.

Instead of bombing along the highway in a private bubble, wrapped up in my own concerns, my bus ride had opened me to the world.

Instead of feeling hassled and stressed by the normal traffic headaches, my bus ride tuned me in to the peaceful zen of my fellow passengers.

Instead of storming into the house with my mental to-do list pulsing in my brain, I came home refreshed, rejuvenated and relaxed.

* * * * *

Now, make no mistake, I'm still going full steam ahead on buying a new car. I'm totally pumped to get behind the wheel of a new machine, and I plan to drive it hard.

But every now and then, I think I will make a point to leave my keys at home, track down some actual dollar bills, and treat myself to a bus ride. 


  1. I was in the same situation when our only car died and I still had to get to work in the city. I cringed that first day waiting for the bus, but I found it to be quite enjoyable. For the handful of change, I didn't have to worry about gas, traffic, or engine troubles. I closed my eyes and rested to and from work.

    Jeromy @ Fiesta Kia

    1. Such a peace we find when we let go of being in control. I wish there were bus routes that would take me where I need to go. I would seriously cut back in driving. 😊


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