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.