The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

I've always had a fascination with public transportation. I blame my grandmother.
When I was little, I would go my my grandmother's for a week in the summer. My mother would always take me by train and then by bus to Hamilton and leave me with my grandmother for a week. That was always cool. We would go to my great aunts' apartments and I would play with their purses and hats and eat store bought cookies and drink gingerale. It was a great way to spend a week. My grandmother didn't set a spoon at each place: you could choose one out of a purple sugar bowl in the middle of the table. My favourites were the grapefruit spoons with the stars on the handle. But the coolest thing at Grandma's? We got to take the bus.
We were a one car family when I was growing up. My mom would go out in the morning when my dad was working at home, and we stayed pretty close to home in the afternoon. But my grandmother didn't own a car. That meant to shop or go to market on Saturday, we had to take the bus - something I never did at home. I loved asking for a transfer, and was interested in how to read them. I liked to be the one to pull the wire and ring the bell for the stop. Riding the bus was an adventure!
Fast forward to university. I wasn't as enamored with buses anymore. But they were the way to get around, and I accessed the whole city of Toronto with a bus pass in one hand and a map of the city in the other. I think if I'd stayed in Toronto, I wouldn't have been in any rush to buy a car, but would have stayed closer to the core of the city and kept my bus pass. When I think of the things that I carried home from IKEA on the TTC, it amazes me that they let me on.
But moving to small town Ontario, a car was a necessity. Despite the fact that currently we live close enough to a grocery store to walk, I can't get to my bank or work without a car. It just doesn't make sense.
J, on the other hand, needs public transportation. Like I told my insurance company, if he takes off in my car, I'm calling the police. As a result, we need to live close to public transportation. Our new house is on the bus line. But how would we know how long it takes to get to J's work? How would he know the land marks along the way?
Enter me and March Break. I spent a couple of hours this morning riding the bus to see how long things would take, and to see how hard it would be. And frankly, it's not hard. But it gave me the chance to do something I hadn't done in a while, ride the bus. It was a fun way to spend a morning and think about my grandma, and bus rides of a long time ago.


suze said...

Ummm, you know when Mike and I first moved in together, and his car insurance agent told him that meant I'd have to be added to his car insurance, even though at that point I didn't know how to drive stick, he told the agent the exact same thing - "if she takes off in my car, I'm calling the police..."


I still have to meet your husband, btw. We should remedy that someday.

Lauren said...

I never grew up taking the bus (frankly, it frightened me) so I never developed a taste for public transportation. Mike takes the bus every day to work so I can have the car, and he doesn't understand why I don't understand why he doesn't seem to mind.

My first adventures in figuring out public transportation were in Paris & London in the spring. It was surprisingly easy & un-scary once I got the hang of it!

Leanne said...

I didn't ride a bus until 1997. I was 19, living away from home, out of groceries and I ventured out for the first time on the bus. I had no idea how to make the bus stop where I wanted it to, and no idea how transfers worked. I too was a little too excited to pull the little rope thing to make the bus stop...even at 19.
Thank God for my room-mate who helped me figure out this crazy new experience.
Growing up I lived in a 5000 population town. Busses...ya right. We walked everywhere.
After moving to Toronto the bus system was great but after being introduced to the subway, well, that was the real way to go.
Oh but speaking of the way to go...
I later discovered GO Transit. Now that is public transportation at its finest!