I thought I was going to hate riding the bus. Luckily, I still have the capacity to surprise myself (wouldn't it be the worst thing to lose? Our ability to surprise ourselves, I mean?) and instead I find myself looking forward to it. I don't blame myself for not expecting to like it though, because a bus ride is like the greatest hits record of all the things I dislike most: crowded spaces, lots of people, unexpected loud noises, waiting around for unpredictable schedules, the smell of gas, and of course, traffic. I really hate being stuck in traffic. You'll have to forgive me for not being optimistic about my chances on public transportation, but it really did look like the odds were stacked against me.
But I had no choice. I had to get to downtown every day, and tempting as it was, I couldn't afford to spend my life savings on parking. So the bus it was.
And that's where my pleasant surprise comes in. All those things I thought I'd hate? It really hasn't been so bad. I mostly take the bus on "off hours", so I'm not stuck in too much commuter traffic when the bus is very busy. I know the schedule well enough now that I can almost always time it exactly right, so that when I walk up to the stop the bus is meeting there. I am beginning to recognize the drivers, and they are beginning to recognize me, so there's a friendly face right off the bat. And then I find my usual seat and pull out my book, and before I know it we're already wherever I need to go. Perhaps this the crux of it: I like the bus because it turns my commute time into reading time, and that's all I'm really ever in anything for anyway.
But I like the light too, how it comes in through the windows and splashes across people's feet as we roll along. I like the windows, so I can see huge swaths of the city go by if I don't feel like reading. I like crossing the bridge on the bus, the perspective totally new from Tillikum. I like not having to drive. My god, I love not driving in the city. I am so content to be a passenger among all that chaos.
There are a lot of pros to the bus, only a few cons. Sometimes people wear too much perfume, and that drives me nuts. Also, once a man turned and asked me if I'd ever seen a rat dance. I was so startled I automatically issued a polite, "no thank you", and turned back to my book. Although now I am a little curious about what a rat dancing would look like, or what that actually means. No, you know what, never mind. Not interested in a rat dance on any front.
Even when the bus is crowded and I have to stand in the aisle is it that bad. Everyone sways at the same time, and I feel like things are a little more united among all of us. I like it when we all sit in companionable silence, all on our way somewhere but taking the bus time to pause. All these strangers, made my friends momentarily by the bus. It's not so bad.