Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ATA Adventure

Sigh. Ok, so I'm the only person at the bus stop, and yeah, I'm talking on a cell phone, so was that it? I make eye contact with my #30 bus driver, whose bus is on time, and who notes me as standing on the sidewalk, looking up in anticipation, but the stupid man doesn't slow down. . . and . . .yeah, he just passes me up. . . .

Ummmm. . . .

So, am I supposed to be standing in the weeds and trash of the easement in order to indicate my "want to take bus" status? this is a bus stop, right? Am I supposed to flag down the Metro, as if it were a New York cab?

Was this driver hoping I was really waiting for the other line that stops at St. John and Lawndale? Color me naive.

I hate to say, "Paxil told you so," but it turns out that all my pre-bus-taking anxiety was not for naught.

I wasn't afraid of encounters with humans, but with being late. I gave myself 50 minutes to make a seven-minute car trip. Or a 70-minute walk.

Twenty-eight minutes and about 21 blocks later (all uphill), I connect with the very next 30 bus, which I "greet" emphatically by stepping into the weeds and mud at Benton, even raising my hand a little, just to be sure.

So, eight minutes before I'm supposed to be where I'm supposed to be (about 12 more blocks), I'm finally on the $1.25 bus, paying to rest for about six blocks. Of course, there's that detour I spoke of, and then I'm back off track, ringing the "get me off" chime. I didn't want to get even further off track, you know. . . .

Since I'm kind-of dumb about what order all the streets are, even though I have been trying to pay attention for six years, it turns out I disembarked too early, but it could have been too late, since, with the detour, I'm five blocks off target anyway. I guess. Maybe. I didn't pick up a printed schedule on the bus. Too embarassed about not knowing where the money hole was. Dropping a penny and sweating all over the place, etc.


pomegranate said...

I'm a little sad that I have no idea how to take the bus or navigate somehow via the bus here. I've done so in Chicago and thought it great fun but never here. I wanna try it.

trAcy said...

my husbando told me that, yes, one does indeed have to be agressively flagging in order to attract the attention of a bus driver in k.c.

sheesh, i contend. i have navigated the bus systems of wales, london, st. louis and japan (rural and urban nihon) (at least, memory failing), and have also had very few issues with the underground/elevated train systems of new york, fukuoka, london, paris, barcelona, etc., nor with the regular above-ground train systems of many countries, including our own, which is hardly a supporter of rail traffic, except in the case of commerce or nostalgia, maybe east-coast job-facilitation - but that's it.

i have taken the k.c. metro a few times before today's attempt. a couple of those were to the baseball game, a 40-minute $5 ride which we all know is subsidised by tax payers.

anyway, it's all about attitude and habit. if i were in another country, i would have asked people for help/information and thus not walked as much.

but walking is not a bad thing for people who eat cheese.

"cheese, grommit, cheese!"

i'm not referring to the heroin/tylenol-p.m. cocktail, that the news is alarming us all about: a.k.a. "cheese."

hint: you know you're old when the kids are doing drugs you never have heard of much less can understand as a way to get "high."

hello? tylenol-p.m. knocks me out for 14 hours. it says good for eight. what's the use of that?

and heroin? again, a sarcastic greeting i throw in all your directions.

sheesh (to be repetative), everyone knows heroin is just a really grand way to waste time.

(meaning, it's not worth it.)

((despite its "tune in, tune out" attractiveness. the more you _, the less you care, after all.))

and knowing is half the battle, according to an animated version of an 80s-revival 1960s army doll motif.

G.I. Joe, he's a real American Hero.

And Don't I Know It.

: )

Josh said...

Yes, G.I. Joe was a real american hero, but I much prefer Mr. Body Massage Machine (http://www.fenslerfilm.com/moviesF/PSAsmall/FenslerFilm_PSA03_small.mpg).

It's frustrating to think of other cities' bus and rail systems in comparison to ours. San Francisco has a fantastic bus and rail system that's very heavily ridden, but in KC you actually have to let the driver know that you want them to stop, which is just ass-backwards. What are the tells they're looking for when they decide whether or not to stop? Maybe they just want to see a little skin. I'll have to remember that when I'm trying to take the bus downtown.

square peg said...

I don't know what you're on but I'm lovin' it :) Public transportation is extremely embarassing when you're just trying to learn it for the first time. All the PT veterans stand there and watch you and JUDGE you when you insert your fare card in the wrong way and don't know that all the seats in the back are empty.

A testament to my own hubris, I thought because I had mastered the el and the buses in Chi the Iowa City public transport would be a BREEZE. I actually got on the wrong bus and ended up at a Proctor and Gamble factory 5 miles outside of the city. The good thing about small towns though is that the bus driver felt so sorry for me she just drove me right to my own subdivision.