Recent News In Public Transit

I showed up at the train station this morning with a couple of minutes to spare (which is nice, but happens rarely these days...) only to learn that a Union Pacific train had hopped the rails and ended up on the trax line. It was only three cars, thank goodness, nothing tipped, thank goodness, no one was hurt, thank goodness, Joe got me a working key to the car last weekend thank goodness, and the car was at the station, thank goodness. So I drove to work today.

I don't much like relying on other people for my transportation. Besides people driving me in their car, I guess. Well, I guess really what I don't like is when the train is late. Or the bus is late. Which makes me late. For work. Or when my airplane is late. Which makes me late. For sleep.

I've noticed how rude people can be to bus drivers, though! It's outrageous! I don't know much about bus driving, or bus drivers. All I know comes from what I've observed in the months and years I've spent taking the bus and train and planes and automobiles and suddenly Steve Martin appears and

Where was I?

If a bus driver is late, it's rarely because he decided to run by a 7-11 and get a slurpee. Chances are he was late because of the passengers on his bus. Maybe they were in wheelchairs and needed a bit of help getting on and off. Maybe a preschool got on and had to get all seated down (cough). So if the bus driver shows up late, maybe you shouldn't spit your words in his face and tell him to hurry up so you can catch your train.

Especially in the evening. 30 minutes late to work can get you in trouble with your boss. I guess 30 minutes late to home can get you in trouble with an on edge spouse or something, but if there's one thing I've learned, it's that stress kills, and 30 minutes spent in stress is 30 minutes spent in agony.

I observed four people in one day. The bus was 10 minutes late. I got on, and the driver cheerily asked me how my day was, and I told him it was wonderful, thank you...

The next stop was the same thing for him, cheery, "How's your day going, ma'am?"


She stormed to the back of the bus and sat there and fumed.

The next person, the same thing. Happy bus driver, angry passenger.

The third person was different. This time the bus driver was obviously stressed.

And the fourth person on the bus told him to hurry up. We were two blocks from the station. He wanted the bus driver to make up the lost 10 minutes in those two blocks. A feat which is impossible, unless this bus be the Knight Bus! Avast!

I just sat there a little stunned. Three days earlier, a train in Spain derailed, killing nearly 80 people, injuring nearly the same amount, because the driver was speeding.

The day prior, I had just exited an airplane to be greeted by a television broadcasting a bus crash in Italy that killed 11. I don't know what happened there, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that speed was a factor in that as well.

And a man just got on the bus and told the driver to hurry up and defy physics. He didn't, he drove the speed limit to the train station, and the train was just pulling into the platform when we got there. We'd made it with no problem, there was no reason to stress for 30 minutes.

I exited the bus and told the bus driver to have a good day and wearily he said he'd try his best. Not only did those four people ruin their own days, but they ruined this old man's day as well.

I guess it just gave me a reality check. I'm not a person who *cares* very much. I care about people. I care about sad things that happen. But if things don't go as I expect, I don't really care, because it causes me to worry which causes me to stress which just ruins things. So despite my not caring-ness, I realized how short I can be with people who are providing a service to me, or how ill tempered I can become when people don't do what I want them to do when I want them to do it.

So I guess I've decided to stop that.

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