Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm a newly converted bus rider. Join me.

I now ride the bus to and from work because it became too ridiculous not to. The number five bus rolls up 100 feet from my house in the morning and 45 minutes later rolls in twenty feet from my office. I have no excuse.

I went on Capital Metro's website and found this commuting calculator that fully validated my desire to save money and the environment by riding the bus. Through a bunch of data I filled in, it calculated I spend $197 a month commuting to my job nine miles north of my house. That's $2373 a year I could be using for much more interesting things than a car. Like gaycations!! In the present too, the bus gives me more of an opportunity to draw, write, read, watch movies, listen to music, meditate, etc. because I'm not on Mopac navigating the highway like a zen surfer in a metal rocket on tires. 

I am also now predictably on time! My own car could wait for me indefinitely as I changed outfits three times, but the bus will leave me behind if I don't hustle. Now I arrive at work at 8:45 daily, as smoothly as a clock.

Riding the bus thusfar has produced: 2 poems, 3 small painting/drawings, the reading of two books, and the rediscovery of ancient gems in my iTunes including thought-provoking slam poems by the Suicide Kings and Saul Williams left over from my performance poet days. Too, my sense of connection to humanity and interest in learning about others has been effortlessly heightened as I sit next to blind teenagers and aging construction workers, professionals in ties and high heels bound by their laptop cases, young men headed to school or jobs who shout and laugh in Hindi while riding for only a few stops and then departing, and so on. 

The seclusion of our automobiles can feel like a cozy, moving shrine at times, or an extension of ourselves, but during other times, like 5:30 pm Mopac rush hour, cars can feel like boxy weights holding us back from the joy of home. I'm glad to be moving in a new direction. Try it out. I'll see you on the bus.

(This Friday, May 15th, is Bike to Work Day. Many local bike-loving businesses are providing breakfast for the cyclists: see a map of all the food stops here.) I'll be riding!