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Why am I such a bus spazz?

June 17, 2010

A kindred spirit in bus spazziness

Admittedly, buses aren’t the only thing I’m a spazz about.

In addition, I tend to:

  • Flip out when I misplace my wallet, which is usually just in a bottom corner of my too-big and too-shapeless bag,
  • Gush about Cubs games, which are usually less mentally-stimulating than watching ivy grow, and 
  • Get over-excited and run through closed screen doors, which needs more explanation than I have time for in this post.

But you’d think that after four car-free years, I’d be able to manage a bus trip that didn’t involve one or more of the following:

  • Frantically running down the street to catch a leaving bus
  • Frantically scouring posted schedules in search of a non-existent bus route
  • Frantically turning to the passenger next to me to ask if this bus is taking me to my destination or to a far-away and unfamiliar hell.

Yesterday, I had an appointment at a destination not more than five miles from my residence, and here’s what happened:

  1. The day before my appointment, I dutifully mapped my route on Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) website, jotting detailed instructions to myself in my planner.
  2. Allowing a lot of extra time for potential screw-ups, I left home more than an hour before the appointment and long before my bus would arrive at my stop.
  3. Upon arrival at the appointed corner where the bus stop was supposed to be, I found an empty sidewalk and, accordingly, began to walk quickly up and down the block in my heels, which were already starting to hurt my feet.
  4. Having wisely entered the RTD number in my phone, I dialed them up and then proceeded to accuse the kind woman on the other end of the line of lying to me about the location of the bus stop.
  5. Having finally stumbled upon the bus stop, a half block from where I was convinced it should be, I boarded the first bus that pulled up and dumped into the ticket thing-y a fist-full of change that I had rummaged from a piggy bank, since I hadn’t been able to find enough one-dollar bills to make fare, while the bus driver gave me an “I-know-your-kind” look. 
  6. Moments after the bus pulled away from the stop, I spotted a sign denoting this as the “0” bus—and therefore decidedly not the “83” bus I was supposed to be on—and so lunged from my seat to yank the stop-request cord, stumbling around the moving vehicle and probably taking out a small child or two.
  7. After a weak apology to the driver and my fellow passengers, I exited the bus into the hot sun and began the run/hobble back to the original bus stop two blocks away.
  8. Back at the correct stop, I interrogated other riders about arriving buses, worried over the minutes ticking by, and just as I stood up to hunt down a taxi, the “83” pulled up.

The bus delivered me handily right outside the doors of my destination a solid 20 minutes before my appointment time—but my brow was furrowed, my armpits soaked, and my blood pressure probably several points higher.

Sure, I’m still new to Denver’s bus system, but a little bit of puzzling and figuring should not necessitate that I arrive at my destination panting and sweating through my shirt, should it?

Am I a freak or are there other bus spazzes out there? If you’re a bus spazz like me, please, step forward—we sweaters and hand-wringers need to unite. And if you’re a bus cucumber, cool at every stop and station, do tell us: What’s your secret?


4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2010 4:46 pm

    Get a Prius!!!

  2. Melanie permalink
    June 17, 2010 6:46 pm

    Hi Amy – sorry about your trials!!! I, too, am a bus spazz because I use it so infrequently…..busses don’t go from where I live to where I need to go…..but that’s another story. I feel like a kid on a field trip when I’m on a bus ride. Or maybe it reminds me of the times I been in Europe and gotten around so handily on their mass transit. Hope you’re very well!!! Melanie

  3. June 18, 2010 12:25 pm

    You are not a spazz and never will be. It just takes a little practice. Soon you’ll be a bus riding pro, with lots of compassion for the next newbies who come along!

    Also, loved this blog! Sorry to laugh, but it was very entertaining.

  4. avaerewyck permalink
    June 25, 2010 1:57 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion, Father. I’ll think it over, but I’d probably be more likely to get a Vespa, since parking in the city is less than fun and sunshine in Denver is abundant. Plus, if I don’t keep cycling, how will I keep up with you and Amy on rides?

    Thanks for fessing up, Melanie! It makes me feel better, especially since I had another morning full of public transport mistakes today on the light rail. I can’t even blame RTD. It’s really a great system for the most part. We spazzes just need to be patient with ourselves, I guess.

    Amy, I’d be more hurt if you didn’t laugh. That’s half my goal in sharing these stories. I hope I’ll have more tolerance and patience with other newbies, given my experience, but it’s also possible that I’ll laugh at them too. 🙂

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