I wanted to get home early today so Stephanie could go to a church function. I left work in hopes of catching an earlier bus than usual, but when I got to the stop, the bus wasn’t there. Valley Metro lost it. Yes, its missing. When I called, they told me that it was not on the GPS screens and they could not reach the bus driver over the radio. The 4:30 bus is just ‘off the map’. So I start cycling home, and I should have kept going…
I really should have, but as I get to the end of the parking lot, the bus pulls up. I turn around, ride the quater mile back to find that its not my bus. Its the blue line, I’m looking for the 186. So, I start again toward home. As I get about two miles down the road, I see my bus heading for the Mayo Hospital that I just left. So, I stop at the next stop thinking the bus was just running late and it would be back my way (the mayo hospital is the end of the east bound route, I’m headed west bound). I wait for ten minutues and here it comes – NOPE, not my bus – the blue line. I should have gotten on my bike and just cycled home.
As I’m waiting for the next twenty minutes, an enthusiastic rider walks up and starts to ask questions like “is this the bus thats going this way?” while pointing to the west. Of course, we are on the west bound side of the road, and standing at the corner were the road ends (so there is only one way to go, west). Am I thinking, here’s your sign or what? Actually I was thinking, “what bus, I don’t see a bus? Do you see a bus? A bus would be great right now” but what I said was “Yes it is”. So my new best friend asked me two more times while we wait. Then the 186 comes by – saved by the bus, right? I get on it and we are on our way.
My new best friend tells me he is going to 36th St. For those of you who don’t know, streets are on the east side, avenues are on the west side and they count down to central in the middle. We pass 36th st, but my new friend doesn’t signal the driver to stop. I feel a little obligated to ask, “wasn’t that your stop?”
“I don’t think so – I need 36th st” he replied.
“That was 36th st”
“Oh, I’m getting off at 34th st”
We past 34th st, still he doesn’t signal the driver to stop. “Wasn’t THAT your stop?” I ask.
“Yeah, why didn’t he stop?”
“You didn’t signal for him to” I tell him as I hit the push tape on the side of the bus to signal a stop. “Are you going to be ok to walk back?” I asked.
No reply from my friend as he exits the bus. Should I have done more? I start to wonder, maybe I could have witnessed to this young man instead of simply be annoyed by him. Then I notice. A man older than me starts to roll a cigarette… I think. He does have a pouch marked cigarette tobacco and he is rolling what appears to be a cigarette. I watched him for several minutes, not realizing that I was indeed staring. He didn’t realize it either.
A single mother (assumed single because of the lack of a wedding ring) gets on the bus with a beautiful ten month old bady girl. The baby grabbed my attention by smiling at me. I waved and smiled. The mother intentionally ignored my obvious flirting with her daughter. “She has gorgous eyes”, I commented. “Thank you” as the mother quickly made eye contact and then looked away, resuming her position of ignoring this 300lbs stranger on the bus. Good policy if you ask me. “The alcohol stays off the bus!”
What? Did I just hear the bus driver… “It’s not mine!” the kid getting on the bus snapped back defensively. A group of kids, most likely between the ages of 12 to 16 were getting on the bus with their skateboards. There is a skate park near 51st ave. “I don’t care, its not getting on the bus!” the driver snapped again. The last kid in the group attempts to get on the bus with a t-shirt poorly drapped over a beer can in an attempt to consel it. “It’s not getting on the bus, and you can stay with it!” the bus drive demands. This kid cannot be over 16 years old. What’s he doing with a beer? He steps out of the bus door way, takes one last swig of his illegal beverage, and then throws the can into the trash localed two feet from him. Not exactly. He lofts the can like a hand grenade over the trash and into the rocks beside the road. This was not a failed attempts at “two points” for the basket; this kid lofted the can well into the air with not even an attempt to get it in the trash.
“Can you believe that?!” I commented to Sally. Sally was an older woman, I’d guess in her 60’s, sitting in front of me. She ignored the 300lb stranger on the bus. Good policy if you ask me. I’m not convinced that she heard me to tell the truth. No matter, we are at my stop: 59th ave. “Thank you” I tell the driver as I exit the bus. I get on my bike, and start the three and a half mile ride home from Union Hills and 59th ave. I like to pray when I ride:
“Lord, give me opportunities to show your love. Put people in my path that need you, people that need the love of Christ, people whose lives I could make a difference in… I hope I’m not too late for Stephanie to get to go to church…”