What do you do when you need to get somewhere fast, don’t feel like walking (for once in a blue moon), and don’t have the license you told everyone you were going to start studying for by getting your permit this summer (one step at a time), then didn’t? You take the bus.
I generally like the bus in the summer. It’s a nice change of pace from the public transport I take during the school year; overcrowded, awkward, smelly, and crushingly, overpoweringly, loud loud LOUD. In the summer I have to pay, I can’t just show my school given slip to the driver- but in the summer, things are a little better. There are always empty seats. Sometimes there are only empty seats. When people talk they are not obnoxious teenagers who are excited to get drunk or get in the girl’s pants or do any one of those things that drive home the stereotypes like nothing else can. The people on the bus are older, and they talk about their mutual acquaintances, or they snap at their children to hold still. However, even the snapping seems to be more placid in the summer, dulled by the heat or the quiet of the bus, or the slower pace- no rush; no screaming.
The other day however, I had a bad bus experience. It started when I thought I had more time than I did. Not thinking, I glanced at the clock, did math, and decided I had time to kill. I had a plan- I would go to the bus stop early, get money out of the bank, break the bill at the conveniently placed convenience store (rhetorical, eh?), and board my bus. I would listen to Imagine Dragons and finish the last chapter of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Then I realized I had done my math wrong, that the twenty minutes was actually nine, and I ran very fast out of the house. My book was left behind, still waiting to be finished. I had no chance to go to the bank, much less break the bill, and I thought for sure I would miss my bus. But then, thanks to the tortoise like pace of the public transit system, miracle of slow miracles, I didn’t.
Being absent minded and forgetting the time, for some reason, didn’t really bug me. I’ve become accustomed to my occasionally dysfunctional memory I suppose. The first thing to happen at the bus that gave me a slightly twisted feeling in my stomach was when a lady, standing by the doors of the bus, gave me what I thought was a go ahead to get on before she got off. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t. But instead of looking like mild teenage jerk, I looked like an obnoxious teenage jerk, only lacking the shouting about getting drunk and in girl’s pants. The lady was on crutches.
And yes, this would probably have been enough to make me apologize profusely in a highly Canadian manner. Except then the bus driver- older, heavy set, with an aura of brusque manners that comes with being very tired of driving a bus on a very nice day- told me off in a special tone of voice that I assume was reserved for “teenagers who piss me off because they run over physically disabled people and then proceed to shout about their drunken sexual activity.” Righto then.
The second stomach set of cringes began when, having boarded the bus without getting in anyone’s way, I had to pay my fare. This was where the “bank and bill breaking” part of my plan came into play. I dropped coins in the slot, and began the walk of bad-person-who-didn’t-pay-the-fare shame to a seat when I heard brusque, very tired of stupid teenagers like me, tones inquire, “Is that $2.75?”
Nervously, “…um…crap..It should be?”
It was actually $1.20.
I promised myself that I would pay the correct fare, plus the imbalance, on my ride home. However, in order to get the change for the ride home, I had to break a bill. Which I did by buying Jones Soda. Which leaves you with only ten cents over the bus fare if you pay from a five dollar bill. A ten cents which I placatingly told my conscience I would put in the till.
Guess what hid in a corner of my wallet when I went to put my money in the till?
Some days I realize that I really over think extremely small social situations. That I justify things that don’t particularly matter in strange ways: “Karmic Balancing- the buses were late and not on time, but I will not complain about this as much as I usually would, especially seeing as it was to my advantage for once.” So, I blog about it, because what else do you do in situations like that?
Well, what else but promise to put the extra $1.55 in next time you ride the bus.
PS: I also regularly jay-walk, lick the butter knife clean of jam, pick my teeth in public, and make people feel uncomfortable by cracking my joints. I don’t shout about drunk sex. Balance?