Thursday, January 7, 2010

Grandma On the Bus! A Friend On the Bus!

Part I

So today on the bus....

visual: Bringing back the 80's, I rock my luluelmon athletica purple denim leggings, a bright blue v-neck long sleeve and royal blue Haviana sandals. My green shades add a splash of color up top, with my cumbersome backpack and yoga mat strapped on and my hair is whisked back in some high ponytail mess. Beach cruiser in hand, I wait for the bus.

I took myself on a breakfast date this morning. I figured it would be nice to sit at a lovely little coffee shop outside the bus stop and just sip a nice latte and start my day right. Well, it always sounds good in theory. But, I get so bored. So I pull out my to do list. And then I whip out the cellular device, its hits me.


I dial up my Grandparents on the speed dial on my phone. I have about thirty minutes to kill before I need to be heading for the bus. Let's catch up with one of my best friends.

So Grandma and I chat and catch up. She is having coffee in the comfort of her home that is covered in snow. Thus, we seemingly have a little coffee date going on, me in California and she in Indiana. Fast forward a half hour and I am waiting for the bus, cell phone clenched between the ear and shoulder, and beach cruiser leaning into my right hand. Yes, Grandma is still on the phone. She is a talker and I love it.

I am at a bus stop a couple blocks from my usual post, as the aforementioned cute coffee shop is a little bike ride from home. My 720 Rapid Metro arrives and I interrupt Grandma and tell her I have to put my bike on the front of the bus. I haven't done this in a while, so I am a bit out of practice. Grandma goes directly to my heart, as in I throw my phone down my sports bra and tell her to just hang on a moment. I throw down the kickstand and run to the front. Unleash the gate down and grab the bike. Now, I do not know if any of you have every picked up a beach cruiser. Well, they are heavy! This isn't a light nothing weight road bike, we are talking bike with basket and huge handle bars. I pick it up and all the sudden the front wheel does a complete turn. I'm in hell. I almost fall over, the back wheel is in its place while the front wheel is just messing up this entire process. I start to sweat. Great! Sweat is going to get on my phone! I re-focus, turn the wheel around, give a thumbs up to the bus driver and jump on.

Phew. "Grandma, you still there?"

Of course she is.

Now, as you all know, I am not a huge advocate of phone talkers on the cell phone. How can I have an authentic connection with a bus passenger while yapping away on the Blackberry?

However, when it comes to Grandma, all rules go out the window.

And I figure, if people knew I was talking to her, they would be okay with it. She makes me smile and you can tell I am beaming over her topics of conversation: family gossip, church meetings and fresh baked pies, her treadmill she thinks is broken but totally is not, my grandpa, sports, the past holiday and her favorite presents, a potential trip to Palm Desert, engagements, .... I mean anything and everything, we covered it.

As we end the conversation half way through my bus ride, I feel confident that I did not bother anyone sitting near me. I enjoyed my conversation and really do feel that being on the bus allowed me to completely be present and listen to Grandma, versus if I were driving probably on a low gas tank (as I have admitted, I am a terrible driver), worrying about a speeding ticket or cell phone while driving ticket, and paying attention to the road only half the time and the other half to my firecracker of a Grandma.

See! There are so many advantages of riding the bus. To name a few:

Going green and saving the Earth.

Saving your hard-earned money.

Meeting great people and making their day.

Connecting with family.

So, get on the bus and call Grandma!

Part II

So tonight on the bus...

visual: Bringing back the 80's, I am still rocking my luluelmon athletica purple denim leggings, a bright blue v-neck long sleeve and royal blue Haviana sandals. I carry my cumbersome backpack and yoga mat strapped to it and my hair is now tied back with a matching purple headband trying to maintain the disheveled high ponytail mess after a long day's work. Beach cruiser in hand, rolling toward the bus home.

The ride home this evening is very special. My fellow lululemon colleague, Jenna is riding the bus home with me. We live near one another and thus the Rapid 720 is our mode of transportation this eve. A friend on the bus!

After a long day of work, we mosey along down the street to the bus stop. Seeing the big red flash rush across the intersection, we rush to jump on, waiving and flailing our arms as we are crossing the street near the stop. I am pushing my beach cruiser as fast as my flip flopped feet can go. We get to the front of the bus and to my dismay, oh no, the bike rack is about to be full. There are two spaces available and a man in his helmet and blinking lights is filling the last spot. Noooo! Jenna looks to the bus driver, "can she bring it on the bus??"

I feel like we are in a movie. So much drama. Running to the bus. Over-dramatic flailing movements, our body language screaming, "Don't leave us here in Beverly Hills!". A quick rush of emotion as the spaces are full for my bike that MUST make it home. We look to the bus driver with a scared and almost begging request. And we wait for her response...on pins and needles, as if this answer will make or break our entire day! Jenna is an actress, you know.

The bus driver is a shorter woman who seems so small in her huge, lifted bus chair, over-sized steering wheel and bus driving vest. She smiles and says there is a space in the back that you can lift the seats up and hold the bike in the open space. My face lights up! Bike on the bus? I can just lift it on with me? No fear of the gate on the front falling off? I am delighted. I run my bike to the back and lift it on. What a new experience.

Jenna holds the bike as I head to the front and pay my quarters. I thank the bus driver ever so graciously, as I thought I was going to have to wait the ten to twelves minutes for the next bus. I ask the rules of bikes on the bus. She informs me that it has to do with the time of day, passenger capacity, safety, and bus driver permission.

Good to know.

So, I ride along in the back of the bus with Jenna and my bike. What a great day. First of all, a friend on the bus. This never happens! And then the bikes gets to come with me! Its like when people find out they can bring their beloved dog with them in the retail store and they don't have to chain them to a meter outside, a weight is lifted. This is how I feel about my bike.

Frosting on this cake of a bus ride!

So, now you know, when the bike rack is full up front, there is available space in back. All you have to do is ask. Just remember, time of day, passenger allowance, safety and bus driver permission.

I know I would have just waved the bus on and waited for the bus. Thank you Jenna asked for me! As they say, "that's what friends are for".

So, essentially, I got to ride the bus to and fro today with friends on the bus. The first bus I rode connectiong with Grandma, as if she were right next to me in the comfort of my favorite bus. And the bus home, I rode with my dear friend, Jenna (well, and if you consider your bike a friend. I believe I do).

So, get on the bus and invite all your friends!


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