Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Short Bus

After wrestling with my stupid car that seems to be taken a cue from my other household Nemisis. I decided it's time to board the bus with buddy Al and get on with making the world a greener, more energy efficient place. As much as I am loathe to spend time in tight quarters with other people - especially first thing in the morning, it was time to give mass transit a try. I had yet to attempt a bus ride to anywhere since we moved out of Uptown.
After a particularly harrowing commute to work on Tuesday, I decided it was time to stop being stupid and start getting real - a convertible, on Minnesota roads, under foot of thousands of inconsiderate SUV drivers is a truly useless mode of transportation.
So, I carefully checked the schedule and printed out my best route last night.
Then I left the paper sitting on my desk.
I got up at the crack of dawn this morning and grabbed my laptop. I tried to sneak over to the couch in the dark. As I lowered my left foot there was a distinctively delicate, grating crunch. I had just stepped into a giant pile of glass that had as recently as last night been a Guinness glass. Gingerly I retracted my foot, "Shit!"
"Mmm, whazizz it, sweethaat?" came from the bedroom.
"I just stepped in a huge pile of glass!" The glass you left on the coffee table even though you know it's the cat's favorite game to play in the night - glass tipping. It's like cow tipping, but all the rage with the urban feline of today.
"You okay?"
I wiggled my toes, still standing in an improvised crane. "I think so." Ever so slowly I lowered my foot behind me and limped back to the light switch. There weren't any more noises from the bedroom. I don't know what I expected, but in my dull, coffee starved brain I was thinking, "Well the least you could do is come OUT here and SEE if I'm okay since it's all pretty much YOUR fault." But I didn't. Two and a half years of marriage have taught me not to share those sorts of things. No, instead you just bottle them up into a tight little package that will eventually explode into a tearful tirade somewhere inappropriate and somewhere probably around the 14th of the month.
I got out the broom and swept up the glass and glared at that cat. She slowly blinked. Devil spawn.
Finally, I was able to pull up the laptop and find what my route was supposed to be. I could either take a bus going into downtown St. Paul, transfer to another bus OR I could take a bus to the airport, board a train and take that downtown. I like the trains. They're all cute and new and zippy. They make driving down Hiawatha a nightmare, but they were shiny! Also, I've nearly been run off the road by that reckless 94 Express bus that connects the Twin Cities. No way.
So, I tossed back a reheated two day old cup of coffee, gritted my teeth and bundled up. I waddled down the snow covered street. No one had shoveled their sidewalks since the last time it snowed and my Rocket Dog tennies are not built for practicality. I made my way over to the bus bench in front of the Holiday. Okay..... bus come now! No...... I tried to stand patiently. I slid my hands into my pockets and tucked in my elbows. There were about five school buses that passed me, but no city bus.
I don't know if you noticed, but it was FREEZING. Bus come... NOOOW? Bus now! Grarrgh. I huffed, which steamed up the inside of my parking and immediately that froze into little ice crystals and if I had a bit of a mustache - and I'm not saying I do, because that would just be a lapse in keeping up with a certain beauty regime. But if I did, the metal from the top snap would have them frozen to the front of my face in a rather unappealing and painful manner. FINALLY, the bus arrived. I climbed on, dumped two dollars worth of quarters down the gullet of the beast and grabbed my transfer. There was an open seat near the front. I plunked down and started to thaw.
I couldn't believe how quickly it zipped along! In no time I was at the airport. I glanced around nervously. My strategy was to watch everyone else disembark before I did. I figured chances were good that most of these people would be headed for the train. They probably were. But I lost most of the group as I followed the one guy that was heading to the tram that goes to the main terminal. Thank God I didn't get on that thing. I realized that it didn't look quiiiiite right then looked around. There was a large, idiot proof sign pointing me to the train station. Seeing that there were stairs or an escalator, I idiotically chose the stairs. I didn't realize that they were crafted after that stairway bought by the lady we all kno-ooo-ooow (insert Bonham drum solo here.) I was getting vertigo going all the way down these suckers. Where's exactly do the trains depart from? And who is that conductor? SATAN? Am I in hell, or just feel like it? No, I couldn't be in hell because the temperature was steadily dropping.
It really was beautiful. There were the two tunnels and a big dragon fly wing etching on the floor. It's just so pretty! And urban! I didn't feel like I was even in Minnesota! The train whooshed in and hopped on board. A transit cop asked to see my ticket and I showed him and sat down. I tried to read my book and look like a normal commuter, when really I felt like a country child in the city. Geezum! Wouldja lookit that?
In no time at all I was dropped off in front of Neiman Marcus. I'd made it! I'm a commuter! I'm a commuter!


At 1:45 PM , Anonymous Peggy said...

Congratulations you green person you! I trust you made it home as well?

At 1:54 PM , Blogger Joy Estelle said...

The return trip was less than enchanting. My seat smelled like stale beer and I'm pretty sure the bus was inhabited by convicts. Other than that, it was perfect.


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