February 22, 2013

Get on the Bus

What did he say he wanted to do on Saturday again? Jamie's list of to-do's scrolled through my mind as I drove to work: a trip to the store here, an errand there, another errand across town, maybe sledding, maybe work on the basement redo. Next thing I know, it'll be Sunday which means church, errands after church, maybe a nap. Then dinner.

Then Monday. Again.

My rant was interrupted by the slippery road indicator light blinking at me as my tires spun a through a four-inch snow "drift." Overtired, I giggled at the thought of a four-inch snow drift and remembered the time I got caught in a real blizzard.

In 1996, I was a faithful bus rider (faithful because I had no car, but that's another story). From our bachelorette apartment, it took a forty-five minute ride east on the Route 57 downtown, then another twenty-minute stretch northward on the Route 30 to my job at St. Mary's Hospital. At the end of the day, the rides were reversed.

This particular day, I heard the morning's prediction for an afternoon snowfall, but gave it little attention. By 5:00, the city was buried in a total and complete blizzard. Snow was blowing sideways, visibility was next to nothing and Lake Drive traffic looked more like Sunday morning than a weekday rush hour. After making it to the bus shelter, I silently thanked God for giving the city planners enough sense to build the little plexiglas havens and waited for the 30.

And waited.

I wasn't surprised at the wait. After all, this was a Snowmageddon.

Twenty-five minutes passed. The cold had turned my toes into rocks and I couldn't feel my nose anymore when I heard "Hey!" Seriously? Catcalls in this weather? Again: "Hey!" It was coming from a bus driver of a 30 going in the opposite direction. "Your bus isn't coming!" It didn't compute. I stared like he had grown a second head. Of course my bus is coming. Buses always come -- just like the mail.

"Your. Bus. Isn't. Coming!" he repeated. "You may as well get on this one."

What choice did I have? Sit there while appendages fell off as I waited for a phantom bus? I trudged across the street and boarded the steep stairs to the fare box. The driver smiled and fanned off my $1.35. It was a standing room only crowd, but I didn't care. It was warm. I joined the other south-going riders who were just as confused as I was, and we all rode together. Two hours and forty-five minutes later, I made it home.

The memory of it all had me reflecting on how different my life was back then: I had all time in the world to ride around on a bus headed in the wrong direction. No real responsibility other than paying my half of the rent and utilities. No Jamie. No Georgia. No Charley-the-Shih-Tzu-Poo.

So was I happier back then? Minimal responsibility doesn't necessarily equate to happiness or fulfillment.

I revisited my wistful rant and realized that I spend of lot time waiting for buses that aren't coming around at this phase of my life instead of being content. Too much time waiting for...
...the day we can stay at home and relax. That bus isn't coming.
...the day I'll catch up on sleep and wake up refreshed, not longing for another hour. That bus. Not coming.
... the day when everything'll be smooth sailing. That bus sure as heck isn't coming.
None of them are. At least anytime soon.

The Wife-and-Working-Mom-of-a-Ten-Year-Old Phase of life isn't a perpetual blizzard, but I figure the sooner I realize the buses I've been waiting on aren't heading my way, the sooner I can get a ride wherever I'm supposed to get it -- even if it's not on my scheduled route -- and end up where I need to be.


  1. Excellent post. I'm learning that lesson now!

    1. Thanks! It's a HARD lesson to learn...guess that's why we keep getting "homework." :)
      Thanks so much for reading.

  2. Loved this, Rochelle. I'm walking away from one "bus stop" now, because the time for waiting is about over. Your reminder feels like a confirmation!

    1. Good for you, Donna! Walking away is one of the hardest things anyone can do...and isn't it funny how confirmations can come from the strangest places right when you need them. :)