The husband returned from Chicago yesterday and was able to resume his Driving Me to Work duties this morning. Of course, I got to experience one more morning commute to work aboard Port Authority Transit. On a Monday, no less.
Pittsburgh doesn’t have the worst public transit in the world, but it is beleaguered by a perfect storm of inadequate funding and the city’s troublesome topography. It’s also just not the simplest system. You kind of just have to KNOW how it all works. And with frequent service and route changes, I’ve had multiple experiences in my close to 20 years of PAT history of shuffling up to the driver and saying, “Uh, I think I screwed up. This is not where I was trying to go.” (But, then again, I’m kind of an idiot.) This has made me less than confident in my ability to get anywhere and last summer when I was in New York, I had a great deal of anxiety about navigating the subways by myself. Of course, as I soon found out, NYC’s transit is amazing and idiot-proof. After all, it’s a huge city with all manner of people in it. And really, this guy, whose mind is obviously preoccupied with other things, gets around just fine so I should really quit getting my ovaries in a bunch about it.
Anyway, yesterday the bus was a little late, but I had told my boss that I was going to be arriving around 9:30 on the days that the husband was out of town because that’s just how it is when I have to get the baby off to school first. We meandered out of Brookline and I turned my attention to my phone as we headed into downtown. I looked up a few minutes later because I noticed that the bus had been idling awhile and realized that we were in Allentown.
I immediately became concerned because while Allentown is far from the worst place on earth, for me I’m always wondering, “Why are we in Allentown?” if we hadn’t intended to go to Allentown. I glanced at my fellow passengers to gauge how I should be feeling, because I sincerely thought that maybe I had passed out or something and managed to get on the wrong bus. This seemed reasonable because I had two sleepwalking episodes (and one sleeptalking episode in which I requested some chicken) when I was a kid and now I’m just waiting to become one of those people who is like, “Oops, stepped off a building.” Everyone else had that Allentown face, too, though which brought me some relief until I realized, “Holy shit, no one knows why we’re in Allentown!”
The bus driver sped past people at two stops who were trying to flag him down and at that point I concluded, “Well, this is it. He’s driving us to the woods somewhere and is going to make us dig our own graves behind the murder shed.” But then I remembered that I hold the internet in my hands and was able to ascertain that there had been some massive power failure in the Mt. Washington tunnel. This was but a detour, which made a little more sense than my murder shed theory.
We finally pulled into town a little after 9 and a 61B quickly arrived, thus beginning the second part of my journey. I anticipated a quiet ride to work.
The 61B was filled with one of each of the characters that God created specifically to ride the bus and make your commute that much more interesting. It was like the Noah’s Ark of mass transit. Loud Talker was there, as was Smelly Guy. The lady who refuses to sit on the seats or touch any of the handles was there, stumbling about and bumping into people. I mean, I get where she’s coming from. I, too, have seen those Dateline specials that have titles like, “Fecal Matter Everywhere” and “Feces Pieces” and “How Much Feces Are You Inadvertently Eating Right Now?” But I figure at some point someone told me to, “Eat shit and die,” and I’m just kind of going along with that. But if you’re going to go the germaphobe route, own that shit (no pun intended). Get on the bus in your hazmat suit and gloves. Don’t put all of your faith in your ability to defy physics. It’s annoying.
I realize I’m being very snotty, but that’s what such an eventful bus ride will do to a person. It changes you, strips you of your compassion. This seems to be a universal experience: