The Uphill Slide

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Buses Rule

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I could tell you I never rode a bus before coming to the city. That’s a lie though. I rode the Greyhound from State College to Pittsburgh stopping in little towns most people never heard of, a 3-hour ride taking 6. I rode the Greyhound from Cedar Point to State College stopping in Cleveland where a man chatted me up. He thought I was going somewhere with him. Bus stations? A hunting ground. We (Cary, Jacob and I) rode a bus up a steep switchback road on Santorini. At least it seemed like that looking down. Those are the buses I remember. But there are three years of riding the school bus from my small town to the two-room schoolhouse in an even smaller town when I was in 1st, 2nd and 4th grades. Where are those memories? Why can’t I remember them? Caleb and I ride the bus some mornings. Cary takes the car before the buses start running. She was going to ride my dark bike on dark city streets. Not happening. I’ve passed those bikers without lights before and as I pass think that a second of distraction might have me killing one. I don’t want to kill anyone. Altruistic and selfish reasons. Save a life and save my conscience. So we take the bus to pick up the car to drive the rest of the way to daycare.

Caleb loves the bus. I love the bus. I greet the same two women in the front who share the ride. One asks how old. “He’ll be three in a week or so,” I respond. Her grandson also with that same birthday coming up in July. And twins in North Dakota from her son’s previous marriage coming to visit. The other woman dressed in black, a uniform for somewhere. She gets off at the busway while the woman with the grandson gets off on the next stop in front of a Giant Eagle. Then the man in business casual at Penn and East Liberty departs. Caleb and I get off with another 30ish man at our stop. The man crosses against the light while Caleb pushes the button for the walk sign.

Buses rule. Don’t try to play Dodge’em with them. If they want in your lane, just cede to them. Don’t wobble your bike in front of them. Don’t pull out in front of them. Don’t run in front of them. Bus drivers? All different kinds. Friendly. Unfriendly. Rude even. Bossy.  It’s a job. A job where they’re in charge. They’re your boss. Some are better bosses than others.

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