When car-free life hands you lemons, pour yourself a glass of eggnog.
Last weekend, public transportation made me hate my life.
I was on my way from Denver to Boulder to see my friend, Rebecca, perform with her belly-dancing class at Naropa University. Despite an as-yet-undiagnosed left-big-toe malady that made walking rather painful, I’d decided the event was worth the trip.
I had walked to Civic Center Station, taken RTD‘s FREE MallRide to Market Street Station, and positioned myself at gate 8 to await the 5:38 p.m. B bus. If things had gone according to my plan, I would have boarded that bus, arrived at Boulder’s Walnut Street Station at 6:29 p.m. , walked the remaining distance to Naropa, and arrived at 7 p.m., right in time for the hip-shaking.
The B bus was a half-hour late.
This made it impossible for me to make it to the show on time. The reason for the bus’s tardiness was a large amount of traffic—both auto and foot—in the downtown area, due to Denver’s annual Parade of Lights. After a small stomping fit, I recalculated my options for the evening and made the quick decision to abort the trip and join up with other friends in Denver.
Because of the gridlocked traffic and closed streets downtown, I couldn’t ask anyone to come pick me up at the station. No problem. I’d just take the Mall shuttle back to my neighborhood and meet up with them somewhere there. Steeling myself against both the cold and the big-toe pain, I went outside to the shuttle stop, just in time to hear the driver announce that, due to the parade, the Mall shuttle would be closed for the next 90 minutes.
I considered my situation: Nearly two miles from home, with a toe-ache and no means of transportation but my two feet.
Just then, a giant, inflated penguin wearing a drum major hat floated by.
I hit the pause button my grumpiness for a minute and looked around me. The streets of downtown Denver were packed with people, all bundled up against the December chill, pushing strollers and dragging toddlers by the hand, clutching cups of coffee and cocoa.
And most of them were smiling.
I began the walk home. I settled into a pace that kept the toe pain to a minimum. This pace also allowed me to take in the vision of a carousel float blaring Mannheim Steamroller and to catch a glimpse of a high school marching band decked out in twinkle lights. I stopped at the Denver Municipal Building to snap a picture of its cupola, which is illuminated special for the holidays each year.
Then, I remembered something: I freaking love this time of year.
While I hated to disappoint Rebecca, I suddenly felt lucky to be stuck in Denver. If the bus hadn’t been late, I would’ve totally missed the parade, with all its holiday cheer, community togetherness, and general warm fuzziness.
I continued my leisurely pace, stopping now and then to check out a float or listen to carols. When I got home, I poured myself a glass of eggnog, turned on the Christmas radio station, and soaked my toe in hot water and Epsom salt.