Muni Moments

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Ever since I started riding the Express Bus to work in the morning, I’ve become familiar with the different drivers who arrive at my bus stop at different times – 8:15, 8:30, 8:45. The express route is the esteemed route for all of the seasoned drivers, so most of them have paid their dues through years of service. There’s the sweet, skinny Asian man who always packs in the bus to the gills and lets you stand with your face practically smashed up against the windshield.  If you can fit your body on this bus, you’ll be dropped off at your stop with a smile and a “Have a nice day” as you walk down the steps. And there’s the grandfatherly, plump, older Hispanic man who always says “Good morning” when I walk onboard.

But then there’s the gruff, burly bus driver.

This guy has rules – no crowding, don’t stand in the doorway, don’t cross over the yellow line, move to the back of the bus – and he’s not quiet about it. He’ll bark at you if you’re late, and he definitely won’t stop or wait for you if he sees you running to the bus stop.

Yet for the past year, I’ve just decided to give him a smile when I board, and sometimes he smiles back. I also obey his rules.

The week after I got engaged, I was bursting at the seems to tell everyone I knew, including the burly bus driver. So one morning, right when I boarded, I smiled and told him with enthusiasm, “I GOT ENGAGED!” He was taken aback and said, “What?” I repeated what I said, and he beamed, saying, “Well.. congratulations!”

When I got off the bus, I apologized to him for being so excited about my news. He responded by saying, “Beautiful things happen to beautiful people.”

So, the next morning, as I’m walking to the bus stop I see that my bus has already arrived and I was still a block away. Guess whose bus it was? The burly bus driver’s. Remember, this is the guy with the rules. The guy who barks at you, shakes his head, and will not put up with any tardiness. When I got to the corner, I noticed that he was pulling over. Suddenly, he opened the doors and said, “Come on in sweetheart!” I couldn’t believe it. We chatted it up the entire ride downtown, and I learned so much about him. He’s been a bus driver for 30 years, been married for 45, has a grandson, and is about to retire so he can help take care of his wife who has health issues. I asked him for marriage advice. He just chuckled, and then said, “Well.. just love each other. Communicate. Be best friends.”

Now we know each other’s names, and it’s the highlight of my morning to to ride downtown with Charles. I’m actually making him some banana muffins right now. It’s my mission that he retires with a smile.

Flat Tires Anonymous

I have a confession. I’m a speed walker. If you’ve walked slowly in front of me in the past, you’ve probably heard an impatient sigh in your ear or you’ve suffered a flat tire on account of me. Please accept my apologies, but I really can’t help it. It’s in my genes.

 

Seriously.

 

My mom is a speed walker. My grandpa is a speed walker. And I’m sure there were many more speed walkers tucked away in my family tree. It’s how we’re wired. If we’re going to get somewhere, we’re going to get there fast. We don’t have the hip swivel, arm-pumping thing down (which I duly took note of while watching the Olympics this year), but our feet move just as fast.

 

Growing up, I’d watch my mom sprint from room to room while she cleaned the house and vacuumed, all so she could get it done faster. My grandpa has been known to leave shorter-legged people in the dust, with his mind set on his destination. And me? Well, some of my friends have vowed not to walk in front of me anymore. Their Achilles tendon’s are still recovering from the flat tires I’ve given them.

 

When we’re in motion, it’s not the slow kind.

 

I’ve recently become more aware of my walking RPM. When I lived in the suburbs, my patience would often get tested behind the driver’s wheel when slow pokes would drag along in the fast lane. (Don’t these people know that the left lane is for passing and not site-seeing?) Now that I live in the city, this frustration has transferred over to the slow walkers who lag along with seemingly no destination in sight. They meander in zig-zags, oblivious to the world as they talk on their cell phones so I can’t pass them on a narrow sidewalk. Or they walk 3-across with their friends or colleagues, so passing them is virtually impossible, unless, of course, I want to play “Frogger” in the middle of the street. I don’t know if I should carry a horn with me or cry out with fake labor pains so I can eeke my way ahead of these people.

 

Or, should I just slow down? Now there’s a thought.

 

But before I sign up for a Flat-Tires Anonymous group to help me in this regard, I first want to thank my grandpa for the speed genes he passed down to me. He’s 92, he just celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary (yes… 70!), and he still plays tennis three times a week. And, he’s as sharp as ever. Come to think of it, my metabolism thanks him too!

 

What traits have you inherited from your family for which you are thankful for?

And… here they are. My grandparents who have been married for 70 years, and who are 92-years-young.