Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Bus Blues

It's no secret that I hate the bus. For the past few months, I've dealt with having to sit next to smelly smoker people, smelly nondeodorant users (I've discovered I actually "prefer" BO to smoke) and listen to a woman file her nails for half an hour and a man with an unfortunate phlegm problem and an apparent ignorance of Kleenex snort the entire one-hour trip to the North Shore. I've even barely escaped a would-be crime on my bus driver by an angry Revere man over an abandoned Starbucks coffee cup.

But none of that compares with having to wait fifteen, twenty, sometimes even more than thirty minutes past the scheduled time my bus is supposed to pick me up every day after work. It's a weird feeling to want something that you have a miserable experience on on a regular basis, but after a long day at work, and facing an already long commute, those extra minutes of waiting time seem like an eternity.

My regular bus driver had a two-week long vacation, during which the bus came on time. Once, it was late by five minutes, and the bus driver apologized for her delay as I stepped on the bus.

"Are you kidding me? This is early as far as I'm concerned." I was giddy just thinking about how I'd be able to catch all of The Insider when I got home.

But my regular bus driver came back last week, and every day since then, it's been back to being obscenely late. This time, however, I knew that things could be different. The other bus drivers had spoiled me, and I was now accustomed to a life of luxury being picked up at 5:21 on the dot and getting home to watch my entertainment shows.

So, while I was waiting for the bus, I called the MBTA and made a formal complaint. I hated doing it because I personally like my regular bus driver, but things just couldn't continue as they were. If Deborah Norville had something to say, damn it, I was a gonna do everything in my power to make sure I got to hear it.

The next day, I decided to walk to the next stop while I waited, figuring it was a nice day and I might as well get a little exercise while my bus took its sweet time getting to me.

What seemed like an hour later, the bus pulled up to the stop, and I stepped on. The bus driver, looking at me like I had just insulted his momma, said, "What? You trying to throw me off?!"

My heart dropped to the floor. Oh Lord, I thought, he knew I had called the authorities on him! He thinks I'm trying to get him fired! Crap. It's a long walk to Boston.

"Uh ... uh ... what do you mean?!" I fired back. Since I couldn't feign sleep this time, I figured ignorance was the way to go.

"You're not at your usual stop! You trying to throw me off my schedule?" he laughed.

My heart started beating again. "Oh! Ha! What? A girl can't try out new stops?"

We continued our usual banter, and I took a seat. In my relief, I'd forgotten all about being upset that the driver was really late. Of course, when I got home and realized I'd missed The Insider yet again, I got all riled up and put in another formal complaint against the driver. I'm sure I'll be in great shape this summer with all the walking I'll be doing.