Thursday, January 3, 2013

My First Bus Ride: The Terror!

My First Bus Ride: The Terror!

Let me just start off by saying that I understand bus systems in larger cities are a wonderful mode of transportation. Even in college my bus experiences were wonderful. Free or cheap transportation. Never worrying about gas or parking. It's great. Even some pretty original bus drivers to make the ride entertaining. In High School, I took the bus to school as well (the school bus, so I guess this doesn't count), but nothing compares to my first bus ride home on public transportation.

It all starts when I fall asleep at my boyfriend's house (ON ACCIDENT!!!!) and get grounded for a month afterward which included being grounded from my car. Total utter devastation for a seventeen-year-old girl.

Anyways, grounded from my car. Still have to go to school. I bum a ride from my neighbor who goes to the same high school I attend 15 miles away. Not too far normally, but with traffic it takes an hour. So we set out to school. As is good. I realize she's a lot of fun to ride with.

Then I have cheerleading practice after school and she can't wait around for me the extra 3 hours. My parents can't get me either, since they have to charter my sis and bro around who are a lot younger than I. So, I'm left with one option. To take to bus...dum, dum, dum.

Problem #1...I have no idea where the bus stop is. I figure I'll walk to the main road since my school is imbedded in a residential neighborhood. No biggie! I'll find one. The second I get to the main road I look up and there's a bus route sign. Oh thank God! I notice there's one on the other side too. How thorough. This is going to be great, I think to myself.

I wait for the bus on one of the busiest roads with my backpack for over an hour. No bus comes. I see a bus stopping on the other side of the road and think, "oh no! that's the one I need, since it's heading toward home". Oh well, I missed my chance there. I'll keep on waiting, a bus is bound to come any minute now. I would have checked the bus schedule on my phone these days but this is in 1998 people! Cell phones didn't have internet yet. They didn't even have texting. I didn't even have a color screen! So, I'm waiting and waiting and finally I see a bus coming. Yay!

I climb on and pay the fare. The bus is going in the opposite direction of my home and I know already this is going to be a long ride. I ask the bus driver where this bus is headed. She tells me to the beach then out to where I live. Great, I think, at least the bus will take me where I need to go.

The bus heads to the beach. I'm the only rider at this point. The bus stops in a McDonald's parking lot and the driver gets out. I wait twenty minutes. The driver returns and we are on out way back in the direction I came. We pass the bus stop that was on the other side of the main road where I was waiting originally.

Another hour in to the bus ride. The bus is half full and I'm sitting against the window dreading the bus route. It's going so far out of the way it's not even funny. This blows! At this point, my cell phone's dead so I can't even call my parents to pick me up along the way to end this torture. It's another hour in now. For a total of 2 hours. Double my trip if I were driving myself.

I'm starving and we are only halfway to my destination when the bus takes a sudden turn into the most dangerous neighbor. Before this there were rarely any riders, but now. At every stop there are several to the point that many of them have to stand. About 3 stops in I start to look around. I see a guy with a gun poking out of the waist band of his boxers (yes, I said boxers, not pants) and a bunch of guys with similiar bulges. Scantily clad women, a drug dealer where I see a little baggie change hands. The dealer even makes an exchange with the driver before he hops off. The new riders in this neighborhood don't stay on for long. A stop or two and they are off.

Here I am, the scared vulnerable teenage girl among many scary people. I see one of the scatily clad women doing blow off of a bus seat (no joke! This is not a work of fiction). I whip my head around just as a guy sits next to me and leans in. He's trying to hit on me. I'm trying to be friendly since I'm trapped in a bus with him. He tries to get me to go with him at one of the next stops, but I am adamant to stay on and get home.

Finally we are out of the scary part of town and the bus goes half empty. It takes another hour before I get dropped off at the bus stop that's closest to my house. I hop off and start walking fast since it's dark out now. I walk a mile and finally arrive at my driveway. I kneel and kiss it.

I bust through the front door just after 9pm and get bombarded with questioning from my parents. Concerned angry looks paint threir faces as I explain. Needless to say the very next day I got my car back, but only for school. I was still grounded but never had to experience the horror of public transportation in South Florida again. 

That was my true horror story with public transportation. If you have a horror story, please share. Love to hear from y'all.

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