Sunday, April 20, 2008

Even the Bus Driver was Grumpy

7:11 a.m. Cold. Brick Bench. Wind. Eyelids heavy. Anticipatory thoughts of the day that stretches out in front of me. I'm waiting for the bus. I sigh and pull out my book. The one I was supposed to finish last night - I had heavy eyelids then, too. I hear the low moan of the bus approaching in the distance, it's pulling up the hill. Soon I see it, the 5. It's full. I'll have to stand. I get up from the bench, adjusting my book bag so it is more secure on my body. I get out my Poly card. The bus stops. I swipe my card, wait for it to beep, then board. The bus driver greets me with a "Good morning, miss." I smile my default smile and say hello. With a warning to "please hold on," the bus pulls into motion.

Usually the bus driver (I almost always have the same one, probably because I take the same bus to school at the same time most days...) is in a chipper mood. I say chipper, even though I don't love that word, because its definition fits exactly how the bus driver comes across. He treats the passengers as though they are traveling on an airplane. "Thank you for choosing the SLO transit system. We realize you had various means of transportation, and we greatly appreciate you choosing us." I've grown to not listening to my iPod on the bus anymore, in order to be entertained by my chipper bus driver. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have clear skies which should ensure a smooth flight," "Please make sure your tray tables and seats are locked and in the upright position, we're coming in for a landing at Cal Poly - University Union, watch your step as you exit the bus. Have a great day."

To be met with such an attitude at the beginning of a long day, believe it or not, seems to help my perspective.

However, today was different. The bus driver was not chipper. He did not even say hello to me when I boarded the bus. He did not call out the stops. He did not greet anyone who boarded. He did not make any jokes. I think the only thing he said was, "you need to stand behind the yellow line" to a passenger who was inadvertently straying from the designated safe area.

This experience took place after I had been sitting, cold, on the brick bench, waiting for the bus to arrive, and wondering about disappointments in life. Disappointments like training to run a half marathon, then getting a stress fracture two weeks before the race - when I had worked up to running almost ten miles. Disappointments like realizing I have a long paper to write this week that I have not started, and that I will have to work all three days this weekend. (Fri, Sat, Sun.) Disappointments like knowing you're too broke to drive home for a three weekend coming up. (I miss my family, but gas is over $4 a gallon here!)

When I got on the bus, I think I was subconsciously expecting my mind to be distracted and my mood to be lightened by the bus driver's lively, animated service. Today his service was just service, though, nothing extra. It made me think. Other people have disappointments. One of my sisters has a weird infection in her hip that is preventing her from running and dancing. My other sister did not get accepted to a school she applied to. One of my friends didn't get a job she wanted. Everyone has to deal... even the bus driver.


Jeffery said...

Tell me about. Life sucks sometimes. All I want is to go surfing today but I have to write a paper today. This means I'll have to wait until tomorrow. Sometimes I wonder if I can take much more stess.

Randall said...

Thanks for writing Karen.


Carla said...

wow, good blog. i'm sorry you have had these disappointments though, karen! it makes me sad. i miss you...hang in there, you're doing a great job in life!

Autie said...

Funny- I didn't know you had a blog until today. I'm so glad to see it thought since you love to journal. You have good insights too.
I ride a bus every day too, its "the 5". Don't take your bus driver's attitude for granted- I've never met one like that in SF.