To account for the recent Seattle snowstorm, I left work at 2:30 PM to make the 13-mile commute back home. I didn’t walk into the door until after 8:30 PM. Are you good at math? Did you get that my whole journey took SIX HOURS?! The first leg was a bus ride downtown where I transferred buses. That ride was easy enough and I expected it would take a little longer than usual. Fine. I listened to a podcast. I sent some emails. Then I hopped on the second bus and that’s where I was trapped for FIVE HOURS. FIVE! CINCO! CINQ! WHATEVER “FIVE” IS IN ESPERANTO! OR THE UNSPOKEN LANGUAGE THAT TWINS SPEAK!
The first two hours were uncomfortable then as the time ticked away, my iPhone battery dying a sad one bar death in the process, it became surreal. We had barely moved out of downtown when people started leaving the bus and walking through the wind chill. I pondered about that–what escape routes I had if the bus never moved. I could spend the night at a motel nearby that offered free WIFI and HBO (Are there any motels that charge for HBO?) but I would miss my babies too much. And my poor husband who had to manage a house with a baby and a boy and intermittent phone calls from his wife who would say, “UPDATE! I DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM BUT MY PHONE IS DYING! BYEEEE!”
I became accustomed to the faces that surrounded me for five hours. There was the Filipino couple who had hopped out of the bus, walked to the Jack and the Box, had a full meal and then walked back to the bus because we had not moved! Another woman tapped out on her Blackberry and listened to an iPod. That was a smart move–backup tunes! That’s what I needed, an emergency playlist of J. Lo circa 2002 to get me through a wretched trip.
As the hours rolled into each other, I thought about the Stephen King story about the family that has to fall asleep to travel through space but the little boy holds his breath to find out what happens. When the family wakes up after a nanosecond, they find him gray-haired and crazy because a blip in time for them was an eternity and a second for him. I imagined leaving the bus and making the two-hour trek through the wind chill home and when I collapsed in the doorway and Mike asked how long the walk was, I would barely eek out, “It’s longer than you think!”
Thankfully, no babies were on board. Not chronologically-aged babies that can legally sit on your lap on a plane ride, but more like the teenage babies who kept moaning about how they wanted to jump out the window because they had been on the bus for so long. Why didn’t they! Take initiative, future leaders of America! I am done with your double negative usage, your love of making a scene, and especially your constant addressing me as “MA’AM”! I am not that different from you! Hath not an almost-thirty-year-old woman eyes? If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you hand me the remote control, will I not automatically change the channel to MTV and then tell you if this is a new episode of Teen Mom?!
Finally, the bus crawled close enough to my neighborhood that I could make the last leg of the trek by foot. Snow crushed under my heavy boots, my footprints the only marks left in the white path. Mike had turned on the lamp near the window. The light ricocheted through the blinds, a beacon that reached its yellow fingers out to me as if to say, don’t give up, you are almost home.
But enough Hallmarky-sentiment! Check out this video of cars and a BUS sliding down Seattle hills!