Waiting To Go.

Even when I drive to work I have a pretty good hike to where my office is because my wife and I both work for the same major university, but we work on opposite sides and park in the lot nearest her office. And we have a parking sticker that only allows us to park in that one lot without being ticketed, towed, or getting one of those big metal boot things stuck on one of the wheels, which I have seen happen and I hope it doesn’t make me a terrible person that I’ve laughed and said, “That’ll teach you to park on the sidewalk, schmuck!” but that’s another story.

So my wife had the day off and I was flying, or rather walking and driving, solo. When I came out of the building where I work there was a bus parked right across the street, and this bus, I knew, would take me by the lot where I’d left the car.

It was also starting to rain. Who am I to turn down such convenience when it offers itself? I climbed on board, took a seat, got back up and swiped my bus pass which is a step most drivers won’t let you skip, then took a completely different seat just for a change of view because I was the only person on the bus. And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

It was a Friday afternoon and I was eager to get home.

Maybe it was because I was the sole passenger, but this has happened before. There have been many times when I’ve been on a bus and the driver has pulled over and stopped for what feels like an hour but has been, according to the clock, a staggeringly long five or six minutes. I can’t explain why but I’ve never asked the driver why we’ve stopped. There was one time that I sat behind a guy who whipped out his phone, called customer service, and demanded to know why we weren’t going forward. Why he was asking someone in a call center at least ten miles away when the driver who knew why we weren’t going forward was just a few feet away is something I can’t explain and I doubt he could either. I’ve never asked because I assume the drivers know what they’re doing. I assume they’ve gotten a few minutes ahead of schedule and are stopping out of courtesy to the people at stops up ahead who expect the bus to arrive at or even after a specific time, not before it. And at least the bus drivers aren’t blocking traffic, unlike a jerk UPS driver who used to park his delivery van in the vicinity of my building. There’s an alley that’s slightly bigger than a single vehicle and he liked to park in the middle of it and sit there. The one time I overheard someone ask him if he could move he replied, “Figure out another way around,” and used his hand cart to carry away his obviously heavy load of a single box about the size of a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

Anyway after what seemed like an hour but was probably only a staggeringly long ten minutes, time that allowed several people who greeted the driver by name to board. And then we finally got moving.

I was tired and impatient to get going, but I couldn’t be angry at the driver. Besides, by the time I got off it had stopped raining.

 

6 Comments

  1. mydangblog

    The Toronto subway actually will respond via Twitter if you ask them why your train is delayed or stopped on the tracks. It’s not as great as it sounds though because if the train has stopped dead in the middle of a tunnel, you can’t get a signal anyway. At least on the bus, you have the option of asking the driver. Sounds like it was a good ride for you though because you got this great post out of it!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Do you ever get the reply that there are leaves on the track? That’s a common joke about what holds up British trains. And sometimes it’s best not to ask the driver. They can get a bit grumpy if they’re stuck in traffic. Then again if we’re stuck in traffic it’s obvious even without asking the driver.

      Reply
  2. Ann Koplow

    As I often like to say, the wai-ai-ting is the hardest part. Your posts are always worth waiting for, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you, Ann, for another comment that was more than worth waiting for.

      Reply
  3. Red

    Once, at Newark airport, our gate changed, and we found out at the very last minute. We ran downstairs to where a bus was leaving to the other terminal “in 5 minutes” and proceeded to wait more than 10 minutes while the driver waited until the bus was full.

    Finally we got to the other terminal, too late for our plane. Oh, and this was United. United, who didn’t announce the gate change, but blamed us for not checking the board often enough to know it had changed. They were total jerks and I’m glad their PR is a mess now.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Holy mackerel. That’s a good example of United living up to its reputation. And also Newark. Bus drivers and airlines should both know better. Planes aren’t like buses. With a bus you can usually count on another one being along in a few minutes. The same can’t be said for planes. Or even trains.

      Reply

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