Three Buses Sent From Hell

Posted: December 16, 2011 in Everyday life, The Crazy

It was an ordinary weekday morning, as far as I could tell — I wasn’t running late, I wasn’t wildly flailing at my alarm clock in a frenzied half-awake attempt to smash it, and I wasn’t tripping over my gigantic cat while hurriedly walking from the bathroom.

I left the house in my normal leisurely fashion. The 545 express bus to Redmond came at pretty much the exact same time every morning, and it always came every eight minutes — give or take, of course. I hadn’t had any reason to be suspicious about arrival or departure times in the past, and it’s always nice to know you won’t be waiting in the morning cold forever. Especially in the company of 10 to 20 socially awkward hipsters who have their iPods turned all the way up in desperate attempts at avoiding eye contact or small talk. (The most amusing part about that, to me, is their desperate attempts to not be awkward only make the entire situation exponentially more awkward by design. But that’s a psychological case study I don’t have the credentials to explore any further.)

The wait time on this particular morning, however, turned out to be a little longer than expected. Said socially awkward hipsters were checking their watches (okay, phones) impatiently, silently huffing under their breath and looking around as if the bus was a ninja hiding behind the bushes.

Fast forward 10 minutes, and the bus finally rolls up, quite noticeably late because of the number of people at my stop. Much to our horror, however, the number of people on the bus easily tripled the number of us sitting at the stop. No matter, I thought. These things happen and plenty of people stand the whole time anyway. Hell, I sit the whole time at work anyway. Might as well stand up and get some…um….exercise. No, wait, that’s not it….oh, fuck, whatever. The point is I didn’t really care about being forced to stand up for the 25-minute commute to the Evil Empire in Redmond.

Right as I stepped off the curb and almost had one foot on board the bus, the door unceremoniously shut in front of me and the bus took off. I exchanged looks with a nerdy-looking guy clinging to a Starbucks beverage helplessly staring out of the glass door. He appeared squished between three people and probably couldn’t even so much as turn around without slapping someone in the crotch with his backpack. My god, I thought, the poor bastard almost looks remorseful to be on that bus.

I shrugged. “Fuck it,” I said out loud to the forsaken people next to me. “I didn’t want to go to work today anyway.”

Walking away from the bus stop, I checked the “OneBusAway” app that I had recently downloaded that gives you real-time updates of buses in the area (oh shut up, it’s convenient) and found that the next 545 wasn’t scheduled to hit our stop for another 10 minutes. Good, I thought. Enough time to go grab a coffee at City Market and come back out.

Once inside the store, which is a good 100 feet from the bus stop, I decided to not fuck around too long and just grabbed a Monster instead of waiting for the espresso machine. Their espresso tastes like death anyway and probably causes face cancer.

Right as I walked out the front door, I discovered I was standing there with the perfect amount of time to witness the 545 turning the corner onto Olive and head for the freeway on-ramp. For the second straight time, I locked eyes with a passenger on the bus; this time an attractive brunette who I was standing next to at the stop earlier. She gave me a look of recognition that said “wow, sucks to be you,” and smiled.

I smiled back while staring incredulously at the giant people-moving vessel that was shunning me for the second straight time. HOW DARE IT MOCK ME, I thought.

It was just then that I had a fleeting fantasy of running after the bus driver screaming “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! GOD DAMN YOU, I PAY YOUR FUCKING SALARY, GET BACK HERE AND DO MY BIDDING!!!” But, probably for the sake of everyone around me, I threw that idea in my brain’s Ideas Not For Here bin, which had the freshly-crumpled idea “GO TO WORK WITHOUT PANTS” sitting in it from earlier.

I sat back down at the bench, now contemplating my options for the commute in to work. Option A was just saying “fuck it, I’m already down here waiting for the bus, and it can’t possibly be that much longer til the next one comes.” Option B was also saying “fuck it,” but followed by “why don’t I just sprint back up the hill in protest of Evil Bus Overlord Corporation and drive my ass to the office,” but the thought of 520 traffic getting increasingly horrific by the minute extinguished those crazy notions.

I’m a guy who loves his car, but I also love it enough to not abuse the shit out of the gas mileage in stop-and-go traffic for 45 minutes, resulting in me being late to my morning meeting.

Another five minutes goes by. I look around. Look at my phone. 8:10 a.m., it says.

Hmm.

Enough time to still miss the worst of the traffic at 8:30-9 if I get in and go now. Now now now!!!!!!!!!!!!

My brain was giving me the urge to take Option B. I was starting to feel ridiculous just sitting here waiting for more buses from another realm to come and taunt me. But I also felt conflicted.

I halfheartedly got up, started walking up the hill back to my house, while looking behind me constantly. The bus gods were not on my side today, so god knows what other forces of nature were out for my soul today. The squirrels were eying me suspiciously. but maybe the Monster hadn’t quite kicked in yet….

Just then, the noise of a large vehicle approached and got louder. I got half a block up the hill and looked behind me.

There was the bus, coming at of course the most inconvenient and annoying point it possibly could have.

“BALLS!” I shouted as I changed directions and charged down the hill. Good thing it wasn’t icy out this morning, otherwise I’d have taken an ambulance ride to the hospital as opposed to a bus ride to work.

Which is more preferable? Depends on the day, I imagine.

I stumbled down the hill and gracefully shot into the rear door of the bus. (File that one under “Sentences that sound dirty but really aren’t.”) Settling into a seat with no one next to me, I was amazed to see probably a third of the number of people on this bus as the first one that came by this morning.

Was that bus giving away free beer?! Were there strippers on board doling out handjobs?! God knows most of those bastards needed one, from the look of things. What I do know is the bus ride in was almost painfully routine that morning compared to my frenzied antics just to board one.

Which, when all’s said and done, is probably a good thing.

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