Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dr. Seuss, the bus and the true meaning of the season.

I'd like to say "to their dismay", yet my friends and family know me well.  A seed gets planted in my brain and it takes a life of it's own. It grows and unexpected things happen. In this particular space of life, I have decided to save on finances and shrink my carbon footprint by using public transit. The bus. Following the wise words of Dr Seuss, "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."  This will be easy. Use my feet to walk to Arapahoe and catch the JUMP to the Village.  Walk to work. Save money, use time for work or reading on the bus.

Let's break down what really happened. 

I get motion sick reading on the bus. If I sit facing forward and it's not too hot, I'm okay. Otherwise, forget it. If it is too warm, I doze, barely able to remember to wake for my stop.

The bus is actually very popular therefore making it crowded, especially at 7:30 in the morning. Standing in a crowded bus at 105lbs with a full backpack as it starts and stops is comical.  I like to compare it to pinball with me being the little silver ball.

Even in present day, crossing a busy street not intended for pedestrians.  The trek can be dicey when the walk signal gives false info. Like running for a bus, running across the street is never, ever glamorous.

While sitting on a crowded bus a big guy with the headphones and runny nose keeps clearing his throat, I get the giggles. It's was funny. He had a rhythm about it and I envisioned a SNL skit with another passenger breaking out in some counter rhythm, another adding some bass, throw in some lyrics and it's busriffic. 

Then there is being overlooked by the bus driver while standing at the bus stop as he speeds by. This has gone from a jaw dropper into a shoulder shrug. Having your "stop requested" overlooked is always cause for a censored "wtf"?

Okay, okay they say, why do you insist on riding?

Short answer - the perspective of the human race is different here. 

Maybe it is where we live or how we live but riding the bus has helped me see people in the best of light. One morning, before the sun had risen, at a stop on the way into town, a passenger got off as another got on. Quickly the new passenger runs to the front of the bus with a lunch bag. Runs half a block to catch up and give back the lunch.  Everyone on the bus smiles.  Everyone feels good.

The human pinball day was the same day I almost got hit by a car crossing on a yellow light (not recommended). It was a day within which I really did not want to ride the bus. After rolling and stumbling from one pole hold to another a lovely man took pity (thank you!) and gave me his seat with a smile. He simply said, "I think you could use this seat more than I." Hence I will no longer over stuff my 1980's backpack with reading material and Boulder Body Wear merchandise.

And finally, one morning a young high school student is making her trek down Arapahoe on the early bus.  She is tired. Her baby is in it's car seat and sitting across 2 seats as she tries to bottle feed it and sleep at the same time.  The bus is filling up and people are a little upset that the car seat is taking up precious room.  It easily could be turned and another seat made available. But really, no one is going to say anything, it's much easier to shoot dirty looks at her. A crying baby is not what this young woman needed but it is what she got. Passengers fidget with a little more  grumpy than before. That is with exception of one woman standing who remembers what it is like to have a crying baby. Most parents have been there, your anxiety rises because your baby is loud, louder than you have quite possibly ever heard them which makes you sweat and try frantically to calm them. An easy fix as this passenger lifts her morning newspaper to hide her face and quickly unveil it with a "boo!". The baby giggles....the tension leaves and soon more strangers want to play peekaboo.

How we all think life is about us, what we do and how we do it. I can be this person but riding the bus helped me to let go of some of that. Most people are doing the best they can, no matter who they are, trying to keep focused and achieve goals.  Life is easier when we are human towards one another. It  simply makes us feel better and smile.

So, even when I walk up to the bus stop just as the bus goes by, I'm sure there will be another one coming along and quite possibly I will get to listen to someone new clear their throat rhythmically on the ride into town. Either way, it will be an experience shared with people I don't know who are now a part of this day.

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