July 7, 2008

My Little Adventure

Which takes longer to travel from the Salmon Creek area to my house?

a. the bus
b. my bike

Answer: the bus

And why would I know this, you ask? Is it because I'm doing a science experiment? No. Is it because I want to convince others to save $2.35 and ride their bike? No... Is it because it's my summer vacation and I was bored enough to try such a thing? No... Did I want to get to know the folks that hang out at bus stops? No.... Did I want to test my motion sickness and see the difference I felt sitting facing forward, versus facing sideways? Nope...

Did I get a flat tire and knowingly not travel with my pump because I couldn't find it when I left the house and thought I'd take a chance with one ride of only about 90 minutes to the medical lab and back and figured I wouldn't get a flat... and did?


About 4:00, I finally pull myself away from my book and decide to go for my ride. While I was getting dressed, I felt the familiar grumble that as going to be more than a fart. YES! I can do the next round of poop samples the doctor wants, then ride it up to the lab. I wasn't going to drive two times to the lab in one day. THis morning I got to get blood drawn to check me out. Even on vacation, I find ways to multi- task.

The ride was awesome. I felt pretty good, except when going uphill, it was sunny and warm, and all the cars were polite. The lab person was even smiley at 5:10 pm, which is pretty amazing. It must have been my bright yellow Livestrong outfit I was wearing, which by the way, gets a lot of looks inside the doctors office!

I had made it about half a mile towards my home, when I felt a squishiness. No, it wasn't in my pants, but in my rear tire. I call Logan in the off chance that they weren't already in Bend. Nope. I call Norrene, with hopes that she had decided not to do PIR. Nope. I stood at the light at 134th Street and 20th Ave. for about a minute when I looked over my shoulder at my last resort...

Public transportation.

Luckily, I only had to walk about 200 yards to the Park-n-Ride. The first person to talk to me, of course wanted to know if I was OK. He was nice enough, and would later, break my $5 bill into 5 $1 bills for the fare. The second conversation with another man went something like this...

"Excuse me me, I'm just an old, jolly hippy, and my friends and I are trying to get money for the bus, and-"

I wanted to say, does it look like I have money? But to the trained eye, here I sit with my Orbea bike, my full team kit, including my Oakley glasses, Giro Atmos helmet, and expensive Nike shoes. So the answer would be yes.

"I'm not sure that I have money for the bus."

"Then can I have your bike to sell and have money?"

For which I snapped, "NO!" Little did he know that he could probably purchase a first class ticket to fly anywhere in the world if he sold my bike.

Then he turned around to a poor kid with his mother and said, "Don't you grow up to be all uptight like that lady. Life isn't about money. It's about friends, yadda, yadda, yadda."

Dude, if it isn't about money, then how come you wanted some of mine.

Finally our bus comes. Yes, all of us. Nice Guy, Hippy and his friends, and me. I used the front end bike rack for the first time ever and plopped my full race kit self on what I must admit was a pretty nice bus seat. I'd consider riding one more often. Hippy and his friend were lucky to get the 3 for 1 deal and the bus driver let them know, when he got on his microphone to tell them to be quiet and not to use profanity.

Next stop... the 99th street transit station, where I was to catch the #2 bus to my 'hood. As soon as I get to my little bus shelter, a dumpy guy, with some special qualities finishes zipping up his backpack.

Right as I sit down he says, "Oh sorry... (apparently he farted)... I had the buffet today at Izzy's and I don't think the pizza agreed with me. I've been passing gas all afternoon."

SERIOUSLY? You just told this to a stranger, who honestly has bigger intestinal issues lately than your pizza farts.

I politely told him it was OK. He leaves for a few minutes, probably for the same reason I keep walking away from people lately (except when trapped in my car with Jeannie- ha ha ha.) When he returns, he tells me that the bus should be coming in 9 minutes, unless it's late, which it often is this time of day. And that usually he rides this bus all the way home, but today he was getting off downtown because.....

After he finishes telling me all the things you tell strangers at the bus stop, I pull my phone out of my back pocket and call anyone I can think of. Cari, that's when I called you, again.

Finally this bus does come approximately 9 minutes later and we get on, along with a young mother and her sleeping baby, and their stroller, a quirky fellow, from the Parks and Recreation (or so his bright red t-shirt announced,) and another man who helps Young Mom with her stroller, after a long day of doing some sort of labor job.

By the way, to all the guys who work construction of some sort and ride the bus home, and are still nice, friendly, and helpful to everyone you see... THANK YOU!

Anyway, Parks Guy goes to sit next to Young Mom, but she can't move over. That's when Fart Boy tells him, it's because she has a baby on the other side. Parks Guy gives him a funny look and sits anyway.

So, eventually, Young Mom and Nice Labor Man get off at the same stop. Yes, he helped her with the stroller again. And it was just me and Fart Boy. As I sat there, I started thinking about those Chicken Soup For the Soul books with the stories about folks who go about their lives much more positively than I was feeling. I thought about Fart Boy, and although he gave me some unnecessary information, was just being friendly and nice. He let me on the bus first and probably just wanted to visit with someone.

So, knowing that I was getting close to my stop, I asked, "Is this the button you push to signal for a stop? It's been a long time since I've ridden a bus, where they have the cables."

"Yes maam," he smiled.

We spent the next couple of minutes talking about bike and the weather and his getting off the bus downtown to go do something, instead of ride all the way home and then he was going to walk. As I got off the bike, I thanked him for his help, thanked the bus driver, and click clacked the three blocks to my house.

How much longer was the bus adventure than the easy ride? About 10 minutes.