Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tri-met gets an A for Friday, a D for Monday

Last Friday I took the 5:30 bus home, according to Plan B, which is to switch from biking to public transportation in case of the deadly combination of Dark plus Deluge.

It was so easy I felt like I’d been lifted from my hideout and magically transported across town by some kind of giant crane from the Jetsons, and lowered into my warm and cozy home. Fatigue factor? Zero. Weatherbeaten factor? One per cent.

The bus stop is directly across the street from my hideout, and the bus arrived right on time. I stuck my bike onto the bike rack in front. When the bus landed at my home stop -- also on time -- I took down my bike, hopped on it, and rode the last ten blocks or so to my house. Total commute time? 40 minutes.

Monday? Different story – the kind to make you never want to take the bus again in your life. I go out to the bus stop at least four minutes early, maybe more. The bus doesn’t come. I wait twenty five freakin minutes in the pouring rain, and even though I have my rain gear on, I’m miserable – unlike when I’m riding my bike, in which case I’m not miserable because I’m warm from moving, I have something to do, and I’m getting somewhere. And of course you can never relax while waiting for a bus because you’re constantly on the lookout for the bus.

Another would-be passenger waiting there said he had phoned the special number that lets you know exactly where any bus is at any given time (cool – will have to get that number – another reason to have a cellphone). He said that the bus we were waiting for appeared to have been “skipped.” Skipped? What does that mean? Did our bus get lost? Did the driver decide to take the passengers on a spontaneous night field trip to Sauvie's Island? I don’t know. He didn't either.

However, the next one came, at 5:50, and I got on that. For some reason, lifting my bike onto the bike rack that time just about murdered my back. It didn’t seem that bad last Friday. I think I need to work on this at the gym some more. My bike is a tank. When I had difficulty lifting my bike onto the hook on the Max train to Gresham, some really nice person wrote in with exact instructions on the whole trick of it. Maybe that person has a trick for this too, and can post the detailed instructions again.

The bus then proceeded to crawl across town at the pace of a paraplegic snail. Crawl... crawl.... crawl. It was all I could do to keep from leaping off of it, grabbing my bike back, and plunging into the downpour outside. The bus driver blamed the one-lane closing of the Steel Bridge for the traffic back-up throughout downtown. He also said that 5:30 was the worst time – which doesn’t explain why it was so quick on Friday. Anyway, I finally got home. My total commute time, from shop to my garage, including putting on and taking off rain gear? One hour and thirty minutes!

Once home, I plopped down on the couch, exhausted. Was it the wait in the rain? the tiring anticipation? the irritation factor? The inch-along, stop-n-go type traffic, as if I’d driven the bus myself? The combination of all of those?

Groan! I just don’t know if this is going to work for me.


At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Kate, I have no experience with buses.


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