#258. I Avoided Doing This Super Easy Thing for Five Years (!)

Metro Transit. So easy, even I could do it. 
Metro Transit. So easy, even I could do it.

Her symptoms were serious, but vague. Check engine light on, tire pressure notification blinking. And then there was the fact that I’d been avoiding an oil change for a bit too long.

I had to bring the Jetta in for a check up.

I dropped her off first thing in the morning. She was okay, but the mechanic needed to order a part that wouldn’t arrive until the next day. Which was fine, but meant I was stranded at work. It was no big deal though. I could just take the bus home.

Except I’ve never done that before.

I’ve bussed it downtown Minneapolis a lot of times, but in my real life, I walk, bike or drive most places. Sometimes I splurge and take a cab. Sometimes when I feel super fancy, I Uber. I weirdly felt very ballsy at the prospect of bussing home.

Since I had no idea how to get from my office to my home, I Googled it. I was shocked at the results: Catch the 12 literally .5 blocks from my office. Ride for 15 minutes. Get off the bus literally 1.5 blocks from my house.

I didn’t even have to transfer! Why had I NEVER done this before?!

At 5:24pm, I walked to the bus stop. Two minutes later, I boarded the bus, taking the only seat available: next to the guy with super loud headphones who was, of course, sitting like this.

I spent the next 18 minutes texting, buzzing around the Internet and just hanging out. All of a sudden, we were at my stop. I got off the bus, walked for three minutes and arrived at home.

In total, it was about 25 minutes.

So easy. And I could text and do all sorts of other things that I can’t normally do when driving.

Because I like to run errands after work, can park for free and it only takes me about 15 minutes to drive to the office regularly (plus, I think it would actually cost me more than driving), I don’t see myself being a regular bus commuter. However, this experience did illuminate a few things:

1. How complacent we can get in our day to day lives.

Honestly, how have I worked in this building for years and never even bothered to look up how I might get here by bus?! What else am I simply not seeing because I am so locked into my routine?!

2. I love the flexibility of driving, but feel more connected on public transportation.

Sure, the ability to go wherever I want before or after work is nice. But it’s also great not relying on a car. It’s freeing. You see a lot of things you’d normally miss and feel more connected to your city and community.

3. I could probably get away with not driving for awhile if I tried a little harder.

Which is a Hey Eleanor challenge that’s just around the corner! Yikes. Wanna pick me up?

* * *

PS there’s been a lot of car talk on this blog… surprising, since I know little to nothing about them. There was the time I bought one (and the time I talked about it in my first standup comedy set), the time I put air in my tires, the time I jump started my car.

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Comments (10)

  • April Hill 3 years ago Reply

    I currently live in STL and while we do have busses and a (rather limited) rail system, it is not the greatest city for mass transit. I am moving to Dallas soon however and I’m looking forward to being able to commute around the city on the rail, especially to and from work. I do not do well with heavy traffic, I get too much road rage lol Sitting in traffic for 2 hours everyday is for the birds!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Psshhht, totally agree. I always wonder how much smarter I would be if I spent 30 minutes reading to & from work every day instead of listening to junk on the radio while being stuck in traffic.

    April Hill 3 years ago

    Right! Learn sudoku, knit/crochet, do statistics homework…. (well statistics is awful no matter when or where you do it haha).

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago

    crossword puzzles! podcasts! reading! So many things.

  • JJ 3 years ago Reply

    I just moved from STL to Boston, sold my car and now 100% rely on the train, buses, and walking. It has been an awesome experience overall. I wish every city could be set up where it’s possible to go about daily life easily without a car. They are so much more expensive than we realize: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Yes– Boston is especially well quipped for that! Looking forward to digging into that article, too.

  • yesandyes 3 years ago Reply

    Giiiiirl, yes. I ride public transport in other cities and countries ALL THE TIME, but when it comes to MSP, I’m all "I don’t understand maps and transfers." I’m going to do this! You’re an inspiration!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    I KNOW!!!! I think it’s a real challenge to embody your traveler personality (which in my opinion, is probably a really good version of yourself) when you’re at home. Maybe that’s a good Hey Eleanor challenge– pretend to be a tourist in your own town for a week. I might try that! There are all sorts of things I never do in the Twin Cities because I live here.

  • Joss 3 years ago Reply

    My sister and I went to Nashville a couple of years ago on holiday, and in the UK where we’re from my sister hates going on buses. In Nashville she loved it! I swear by the end of the holiday, she could’ve been advertising the nashville bus service for a living.
    I’ve just got a new job where I have to drive to work, and I do miss commuting, just for people watching opportunities. But I do get to sing to all my favourite songs to work, not sure whether people on the bus would like that!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Oh, I completely feel you on the singing in the car thing. It’s my favorite. And no, people on the bus probably wouldn’t like it very much!

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