In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Tag Archives: 14
A fiftysomething woman with crutches is sitting in the sideways-facing seat behind the driver, holding her nose while surveying the chaos surrounding her. She catches the eye of the woman across from her, chuckles, shakes her head, and announces to everyone within earshot, “I’ve got a get a car.”
Older gentleman waiting nearby, after some initial pleasantries: “You in love with somebody?”
Bus Chick: “I’m married.”
Older gent: “That’s not what I asked.”
Touché. And yes.
Earlier this month, I celebrated my car-free anniversary. As of March 5th (or was it the 6th?), I’m officially seven years in.
It’s been an eventful seven years. I bought a home, got married, lost my beloved mother to cancer, and had two children. Navigating so many major life events without a car in a city that all but requires one has certainly had its challenges, but it has also integrated the bus into all of my significant recent memories*–and made it impossible for me to imagine my life without Metro. As I wrote in my …
A cell phone snippet from a young gentleman on his way to band practice:
“Yeah, I was going to try to show you my nipple.”
A 60-ish, somewhat disheveled man approaches and addresses me in several languages (Amharic, Spanish, Italian) trying to figure out which I speak. We finally settle on a mix of French and English, and (thanks to my growing belly) immediately start talking parenthood. He tells me I remind him of his daughter, who was recently married. “It was in the New York Times,” he says, fishing a crumpled piece of newsprint out of his wallet.
He points to some text under the photo of the handsome, smiling couple, the part that tells about the bride’s family in …
A bus newbie, to the driver: “Hey, do they always gas the buses up at night or something? Because I never see buses at the gas station.”
A man sitting directly behind me is chatting up the woman next to him.
Man: “Oh, you hurt your finger! Want me to kiss it and make it better?”
Man: “You know, like when you were little, and you hurt yourself, and your mom would kiss it to make it better?”
Woman: “No. Mom wasn’t around. My grandma always said, ‘quit your whining and keep moving.’”
This morning, I had a meeting at 2nd & Jackson at 8 AM and so had to catch the 14 at 23rd & Jackson at 7:44 AM. When I got to the bus stop (a few minutes early, as usual), I immediately took out my pass. Then I sat down to wait, clutching it with the confidence and satisfaction of a transit geek who’s got an annual, peak-fare pass and is ready to use it.
Except, my friends, it was no longer a peak-fare pass. (Ahem.)
This morning’s ride was my first peak trip since the fare increase, …