Summer 2012 Week 2 {Transportation Week} : A “City” Bus

The truth is we adventure a lot and these days we drive a lot.

Andrew and I did drive one car for five out of our almost nine years of marriage.  I loved it, and it worked for us. But add a little guy into the equation and two commutes (even though mine is under four miles) and we have two cars and drive everywhere.

A couple of years ago we took  the “No Impact Challenge” for a month, and worked to drive less, but taking a bus to the places we needed to get to was not an option . . . and for us adventuring out is also what brings us great joy.  The long-lasting impact of the challenge, for us, was more about recycling than transportation.

I did some reflecting about our transportation when Susan came to stay with us.  Her family did not have a car, so she was very interested in driving.  And we did go to all kinds of activities and on various adventures, but I also started looking for bus stops and ways to get around.  We are in suburbia, so it is limiting.

Colton has spent many hours restrained in a carseat, always a back seat view on the world (here he was modeling his “mad face”).

He finds other modes of transport intriguing and spends hours playing with busses, trucks, airplanes, and trains . . . so this week is all about Transportation Adventures.

To Colton a bus has great mystique and holds much more adventure than a car.

So we kicked off transportation week, a week talking about different ways to get around by hopping on the local bus.

Ok, it was not that easy.  First I pulled up a schedule, tried to decipher it and realized we needed to move quickly if we were going to make a morning bus and not spend the entire day waiting on busses.

Hurrying a three year old . . . now that seems to be an oxymoron to me.  This I do not understand.  Colton loves to run everywhere, but when it is time to move, he always finds some stationary activity he would rather be doing.

We got to the bus stop with a stroller three minutes before it was supposed to arrive – and I realized . . . I did not have any cash on me.  I had no idea how much this was going to cost.  I realized I was going to have to go find an ATM and get out cash (paying a fee) and then probably wait an hour for the next bus.

So I explained to Cole what was happening and that if we missed the bus that was just fine, we would get another one (this was not ideal, we had no car, I had put that in the shop).  It was what it was and we went off to find an ATM, we withdrew a $20 bill, accepted the fee and ran.

When I got there, there was still no bus.  I asked a young smoker if she had seen the bus, she said no.

We waited. *New Phase Alert – Cole has taken to lying down in new places and pretending he is asleep (truth: I celebrate it, love when he is in one place).

When the bus came, I got Cole out of the stroller, folded it up (though it broke a few months back, so does not stay folded).  Twenty dollar bill and a stroller in one hand, a bag over my shoulder and my camera and Cole in the other hand I waited for all the people to disperse . . .

And there before me was the bus lady.  She seemed mortified at my unorganized state. I told her I had a $20 and she began to moan and frustratingly explain that if I put that $20 in there I would get $18 of bus credit back, and did I want that?  Did I actually ever ride the bus.  I said no, apologized and was ready to call it a day. But she continued to berate me.

I apologized and as I tried to exit I asked, “The next bus is in an hour?”  I stepped tentatively and carefully backwards with the stroller, my bag, my child and the $20 bill.

She laughed out loud at me.  “No it’ll be here in 15 minutes or so” and she slammed the door, except those doors don’t slam, they kind of whoosh.  She whooshed the door and was gone.

Back I went and I found a toy for Cole and we bought it (it was a little animal and when I found out it was $4.99 I resolved to bring it back).

And then I searched for a way to ditch my stroller.  We did not need it.  I had taken it out of the car so I could race to the bus stop, but now it was just a burden . . .  I found a place.  Stroller in hiding, then I hid the toy and Cole returned his focus to the one thing he had been anticipating . . . the bus . . .

This time it was a very nice man driving the bus, and I had less in my hands and had two dollars ready to give him . . . it is $1.50 and they require exact change . . . and I asked him what to do, and he shooed me away, taking $1.00, telling me I was getting the best deal of the day.

Relieved, I thanked him graciously . . .

But internally $1.00 seemed like a great deal of money to transport us less than a mile. But he was kind and I was relieved, and my child . . .

It is hard to tell, but he was gleeful!

Our return route was not as eventful.  I had an exact $1.50 in my hand and Cole holding the other when we hopped aboard the return bus (ok, we hopped on the wrong bus at first, but we got on the right bus and it was tremendously easier).

Transportation week started with a little adventure that I have never been on, taking a “city” bus in my own area.  And I felt like I learned a half-dozen lessons at least:

  • It is not about rushing, but experiencing
  • Always carry cash and change
  • Slow down
  • Bring as little as possible when trying a new experience
  • The Bus system will humble you
  • One’s words and actions can encourage or discourage, and I want to be an encourager

And did Cole learn any lessons?  I am not sure.  I asked him about it and he told me that it was fun and that a bus is bumpy and better than a car.

And I am grateful for the lessons in adventuring for me and for the joy in the adventuring for him.

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