There’s a special freedom that comes with riding the bus. It’s not perfect, but then no freedom is absolute; everything requires certain trade-offs and sacrifices, as well as benefits. Driving has its advantages, like allowing me to set my own schedule, and while the distance to the parking garage is about the same as the distance to the bus stop the distance from the driveway to the door isn’t as far as I have to walk when I disembark from the bus. Still when I ride the bus I can read a book, or even listen to an interesting podcast, things I really can’t do while driving. I realize a podcast only occupies my ears and not my hands or my eyes, but sometimes I can get so engrossed in a story it’s hard to focus on anything else, or, especially if it’s a comedy podcast and I’m listening while walking to the bus, someone will say something that makes me laugh so hard I have to stop for a minute, even if it means potentially missing the next bus. Another one will be along eventually. And I can never predict when someone’s going to say something really funny. If I could I’d steal their line and use it here, and then later when I heard it on the podcast I’d say, “Hey, they stole my line,” and then I’d start wondering why they were on a podcast and I wasn’t, and that’s the sort of distraction that would be really bad if I were driving.
Anyway the other day I stepped out of the building where I work and it was raining. I hadn’t noticed it was raining earlier, probably because my cubicle doesn’t have any windows, and I was distracted by the thought of getting home. And I had two options to consider. One option would be to catch the bus at a stop right across the street from my office, where there’s a covered bus shelter. That would mean taking the bus all the way downtown so I could catch my regular bus, which would add about half an hour to my commute, and although I wasn’t in a hurry and could use the time to read or catch up on podcasts I also had to wonder if the extra time was worth it. My other option was to go back up to my office and get an umbrella. It was only a light rain, but I’ve noticed that a light rain will get you just as soaked as a hard rain if you stay out in it long enough, and even if I did take the bus downtown it might still be raining when I got to my findal stop and I’d still have the walk home. So I went back to my office and got an umbrella and set out for my regular bus stop several blocks away. And then I got distracted because I was listening to a podcast while I walked and someone said something funny about octopuses, and while it wasn’t a line I’ve used in anything I’ve written it was a line I think I could have come up with if they’d invited me on, and if they had it would have been better for me not to have used that line before because it wouldn’t be as funny if people knew I was going to say it, but that’s another story.
Anyway I managed to get to the street where I catch the bus just in time to see the bus on the other side of the street roll up to the stop and then roll away before I could cross over to it, but at least I had my umbrella so I could enjoy the freedom of not getting soaked while waiting for the next bus.