I’ve spent roughly 620 hours of my life waiting for buses, and at least 375 of those hours involved waiting for the number 51 bus in Berkeley, CA. I took that bus all through grad school and law school at Cal — the stop is right across the street from a fraternity, which provided either an entertaining way to while away time while waiting for the 51, or excrutiating, depending on the day of the week, the level of drunkenness at the frat, and how late the bus was running that particular day. I’ll let you guess how many hours fell into each category.
One clue: I’ve never longed for the time when I could go back to using the bus for all my transportation needs.
It turns out I’ve become less impatient, and apparently I’ve seen so much public drunkenness that I don’t even notice it anymore. As a result, when we were in Seattle, and had all the time in the world, waiting for the bus that took us from downtown Seattle to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal was not a problem. In fact, because it was the day of the gay pride parade, it was pretty entertaining. Although really, I think the S&M contingent could have toned it down some. The guy with the multi-color painted penis? Needed to stay home. Ditto the ladies with the targets painted on their breasts. After William and I walked away from that, and I said I didn’t think I’d be able to scrub those images out of my head, he advised me to think about ballerinas. Apparently, it works every time.
We waited a long time for that bus. And even though I’ve become mellower about waiting, I still love that moment when the bus comes into view.
I’m aware that most of the world gets around without a car and it’s not news to anyone that we should be driving way less, but we seem to have gotten around to this realization only recently in any kind of serious way. I can see how ingrained the car culture is by the fact that I assumed I’d rent a car to get around this weekend when I’m up in Seattle for my brother’s wedding party.
But, really, why do that? Oil is gushing into the Gulf. The least I can do is print out some transit schedules and figure out how to get from SeaTac to downtown Seattle, to Vashon Island to see my friend Karen, and then to the airport. We have everything we need: a lot of transit schedules, small wheeled suitcases and something to read while we’re waiting for the light rail/ferry/bus.
Oh, and the other things we need we already have: plenty of time and our own two feet.