Sunday, February 27, 2011
I have no qualms about catching the bus. I mean, I don't have to worry about fighting traffic cause someone else is driving, it's always air conditioned (oftentimes near frigid temperatures), I can always get a seat, and the best reason . . . in the quiet hours of the morning I can put on my earphones, select my playlist, close my eyes and catch up on some sleep.
There's a lot of effort that goes into being a passenger of public transportation. We have our routines that we follow. Like, seats we absolutely have to sit in; (the longs seats that face each other or the two passenger seat), do we sit in the front, middle, or back of the bus? Do we sit near the air or some place warmer? Do we sit where it's quiet or where all the action is taking place? These are all valid questions. And if you, like me, are a frequent bus traveler (no mileage program currently available) those questions have already been answered. And no matter how hectic your day may be, riding the bus remains a constant.
And yet, even the most constant routine can have a monkey wrench thrown into the works. Case in point, when your regular bus driver has rotated out of his route and now you have a new driver. But for the most part, not much changes unless . . .
Unless . . . as it happens, on that particular morning, I struggled to get out of bed, and had to race out the door to catch my bus on time. Slightly out of breath, with beads of perspiration slowly rolling down the sides of my face, I stand at the crosswalk for what seems like ages until the light finally changes just as the bus pulls up to the bus stop. With bus pass in hand, I drag myself up the steps and briefly acknowledge the new driver on my beloved 93 Express. My favorite seats (long seats at the front of the bus) are all taken so I grab the first open seat next to a lady who's bundled up like Nanook of the North and curled up by the window in deep hibernation. I settle in with earphones in place, playlist qued and eagerly look forward to the moment I can close my eyes and drift off to sleep.
From the motion of the bus, I can tell that the new driver is moving that bus along and soon we hit the Zipper Lane and zoom along nicely. Fifteen to twenty minutes into the ride, as I am dozing in and out of sleep, I become aware of a conversation going on between one of the passengers up front (on the long seats) and the driver. I try to push it from my mind because I tell myself that "he's (bus driver) done a good job so far."
At one point along our journey, there's a slight rumble under the tires of the bus. It's only been about thirty minutes (that's a quick ride!) The rumble is a tell-tale sign that the bus is moving out of the Zipper lane and merging onto the freeway near the airport. Since we didn't hit a lot of traffic, I realize my nap time has been slightly diminished and so I close my eyes to get in whatever bit of dozing I can get. It's about this time, that the conversation of the passenger and the driver that I overheard earlier has now become animated, loud, and intrusive (on my sleep time). As we quickly pass the airport, and make the turn towards the tunnel to merge from the H2 freeway onto the H1 freeway, an irritating noise fills the airway. It's the sound of the driver's intercom.
With eyes still close, I feel a scowl begin to form above the brows on my forehead.
**My internal voice:
"Really? We're getting a public address now?!"
**The actual words of the driver over the intercom:
"Good morning ladies and gentlemen! If I can direct your attention out the right side window of the bus, that wonderful smell you're getting is from Love's Bakery!Mmmm...all we need now is some hot coffee, some cream, sugar and we're good to go -- alright!!!"
"WTF?! That's what you woke me up for? The smell of bread? I freakin' smell that every morning, but you want to make mention of it now?! Ugh! Someone is in totally gonna get some CRACKS!"
A slight chuckle passes through the bus from the passengers. I gingerly open my eyes (because my thoughts are still in disbelief) to scowl more profoundly in the direction of the new driver. My internal voice begins to shout: "Don't encourage him! He has just one task and one task only -- to drive the bus! That's all. There's no commentary; this is not a tour bus, you are not a tour bus driver, we are not passengers on a tour. No! Absolutely not! Just do your job and drive the damn bus!"
..... to be continued