I do my best to be a good mother.* I also (usually) do my best to be a good bus citizen. During the first year of Chicklet’s life, these goals were complementary. As long as I made sure my little one’s needs were met and paid plenty of attention to her, she was well-behaved and quiet on our rides.
Now that we’re knee-deep in the willful toddler phase (she’ll be 18 months on May 1st), these goals are often in conflict. Good parenting practices require that I establish clear boundaries and thus to deny some of Chicklet’s many requests/demands, while good bus citizenship requires that I prevent her from disturbing our fellow passengers.
I managed this balancing act fairly well until last Friday, which shall be known henceforth as The Day of Chicklet’s First Bus Meltdown. (The details aren’t particularly interesting. She wanted more snacks than I thought appropriate in a moving public space–so soon after her recovery from a long bout with the stomach flu.) The howling only lasted for two of the 30+ minutes it took us to get to Green Lake, and I’m happy to report that we both survived. (So, thankfully, did our fellow passengers.) I’d be totally over it by now, if I didn’t know for sure that there are many more similar battles of will to come. Two is approaching, after all.
To all those who have the misfortune to encounter Meltdown Chicklet on a future ride: My apologies. I am hoping to exchange a couple of years of occasional bad bus citizenship for a lifetime of good world citizenship.
* OK, I obsess about it constantly.
A high-school age boy and girl, both carrying instruments (and presumably just leaving band/orchestra practice) are passing the time while waiting for the 48. They call a few friends who are also waiting for the 48 several stops north, then spend a few moments discussing whether they missed it or it’s really, really late. This apparently reminds the girl of a recent adventure.
Band Nerd Girl: “Last summer, when I was in Israel …”
Band Nerd Boy: “Dude, are you Jewish?”
BNG: “Yes.” [long pause, long sigh] “But just ’cause I went to Israel doesn’t make me Jewish.”
BNB: “Oh I know. But well, if you went to Israel and you’re still in high school, then that would probably mean … Well I guess maybe not with your parents …”
He continues to flail until the girl interrupts him.
BNG: “As I was saying, last summer, when I was in Israel …”
I could learn a thing or two from this young bus chick.
The conversation recovers, and they return to the safer territory of class work and mutual friends, until the boy becomes too distracted by his impatience for the bus to arrive. A 4 passes. An 8 (which can look promising to the untrained eye) turns right before it reaches us. An empty artic is headed “To Terminal.” Finally, a fourth bus approaches in the distance.
BNB: “This one better be the 48.”
BNG: “If it’s not, what are you going to do?”
Excellent question, my dear. Excellent question.
Posts will continue to be slow in the coming days. (The project is not yet complete, I’ve just recovered from a nasty bug, and my poor little Chicklet is still sick.) In the meantime, get thee to a library and check out The Subway Chronicles, a fabulous collection of essays by well-known New York writers (Colson Whitehead, for one) about their experiences getting around on PT. Talk about a perfect ride read!
And yes, I know that the book came out in 2006, but 1) I’m almost always late to the party (that is, when I’m not leaving early) on stuff like this*, and 2) my “to read” list is so long, I have actual relatives whose books are waiting to be cracked.
Speaking of New York…
Streetfilms is celebrating 200 fun, informative films–all free and easy to watch and share–with a cool promo. Congrats (and thanks) to the Streetfilms team.
* And by “stuff like this,” I mean any newly released form of art that is not related to Toni Morrison.