In my last post, I mentioned that Bus Nerd recently (last weekend, in fact) took a trip to Chicago. As is our custom, I “saw him off” by accompanying him on the bus ride to the airport. Unfortunately, Bus Nerd’s departing flight left at 11:30 PM, which meant, of course, that I’d miss the last 194 and would be returning home–after dark, no less–on its ugly steproute, the 174.
It’s not like me to be skittish about riding at night (I happen to love it, as long as I don’t have to wait at isolated stops or walk long distances), or for that matter, about any particular route. Sure, there are some routes I don’t care for, but I have yet to encounter one that inspires fear. And yet, for some reason I can’t name, last Thursday, I was feeling nervous about riding the 174 late at night, alone. (I choose to blame it on my condition, which makes me conspicuous, messes with my state of mind, prevents me from running–at least from running fast–and generally makes me feel like a big, waddling target.)
I decided to go, despite my misgivings. (What’s a minor case of nerves compared to a lovely, romantic bus tradition?) After I said goodbye to Bus Nerd, I joined the crowd of airport workers, returning travelers, smokers, and generally trife people waiting at the Seatac bus stop. Within minutes, I spotted a familiar face: none other than Mr. Clato Barnes, an elder at my church who also happens to work for TSA. Mr. Barnes lives in my neighborhood and was waiting for the 174, too. I didn’t say hi (wanted to let him read his paper in peace), but his presence helped me relax–and remember why I don’t fear buses, no matter what time of night I ride:
The folks riding with me may be strangers, but one of those strangers is an elder at someone’s church. Another is someone’s grandfather, neighbor, or best friend. Yes, there are occasionally troublemakers who make it less-than-pleasant to ride, but among my community of fellow passengers, I always feel safe.