Monday, June 9, 2014

Adventures with Public Transportation: The Rainy Day 25 Cent Bus Ride

Got writer's block?  Try riding the bus!
Picture by Mike Imprixis
Riding the bus on Long Island is not easy.  It's harder because you have people always telling you riding the bus on Long Island isn't easy because the public transportation system sucks.
Personally, I don't mind.  I know that the infrastructure of Long Island wasn't designed with pedestrians or bicyclists in mind.  Most people own cars.  I own a car myself.  However, back in 2011, I crashed my truck, my baby, a dark blue 2003 Ford Ranger with over 200,000 miles, during a snow storm.  I ended up borrowing my parents' SUV (don't ever buy an Explorer and expect to live on a modest budget), but even that truck ended up being more problems than it was worth.  So between February and July of 2013, I started using public transportation.  Even when I ended up getting a 1997 Honda Civic, I still ended up taking the bus when I could.

Why, you may ask.  Because the bus is full of stories!  It's a writer's dream come true for curing the dreaded Writer's Block.  I have a lot of stories about the people I've run into and talked to.  Today was no different.

I had to get to the post office today to send out some paperwork.  It was miserable out.  Rainy, a little humid, probably not the best day to go walking.  I've been walking in weather like this since my teens though.  Don't ask why, but I get these bouts of claustrophobia something awful.  Bad weather makes it worse.  Last winter was like a death sentence to me, and we all know how bad the weather was last winter.
The bus stop is about a 15 minute walk from my house.  There are two bus stops actually.  One is by the King Kullen and is a little farther away, but it has a shelter, unlike the closer stop.  I also had to stop at the ATM and my bank is there.

So I'm sitting in the bus stop shelter with another guy who has a bike.  The rain is coming down steadily, like a shower with bad water pressure, the kind Kramer on Seinfeld would hate.  (I have to agree with Kramer; give me the Silkwood shower anytime.)  All of a sudden, a woman came from no where (or at least I wasn't paying attention) and asked us if we wanted bus tokens.  I'm used to this.  People who have to attend mandatory drug rehab programs get bus tokens.

See?  It even says "Special Program"!
Found here.
Sometimes these people decide they'd be better off selling these tokens, usually for a dollar, which is half the price of a ride on the bus.  I don't want to speculate why they sell their tokens.  I do know however that tokens and cigarettes are also considered fair trades.

So, I asked this young lady, "How much?'  She said no charge, had four tokens, and ended up splitting them between me and the guy with the bike.  Then she vanished.  I mean, I seriously did not see which way she went.

So thanks to this random act of kindness, I only ended up paying 25 cents for the transfer (when I travel locally, I take one bus to my destination and take a different route home, so a $4.00 round trip ride goes down to $2.25).  I have no clue why this woman did this.  Was she a Joan of Arcadia-like vision?  Was she fulfilling some Step 9 obligation?  All I know is that this randomness doesn't happen while driving a car.  Walking in the rain didn't seem so bad after that.  And I got a story besides.

As a post-script to this story, when the bus did arrive, the bike rack in the front of the bus was full.  For some reason, the bike guy left his bike in the shelter unlocked.  That makes me wonder what that story might be.
Adventures with Public Transportation: The Rainy Day 25 Cent Bus Ride

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