Might as well walk

Five-o-clock traffic was horrendous yesterday. It took the bus twice as long as usual to get from my office to downtown, where I transfer to a different bus to get home. Naito Parkway was the clogged pipe in the plumbing of this particular route. The driver, trying to merge our oversize vehicle into the slow-moving mess, advised us to start getting friendly with one another because we were going to be there for a while. For a brief moment I looked disdainfully at my seatmate, whose iPod emanations were audible above my own music. Other people, equally disinterested in making friendly gestures, decided to exit. Each time the bus progressed a few feet, one or two more riders would crack under the pressure and get off where there wasn’t even an official stop. It seemed walking would be a more efficient way to reach any destination (no matter how far) under those conditions.

Knowing the distance I’d have to walk to my next stop, I resisted for as long as I could, thinking that traffic would start flowing at any minute. At Harrison Street I told the driver I was giving up. We hadn’t quite reached the next stop, but he opened the door and wished me a good night. It was a nice evening for a walk. In my view, sitting and waiting are the worst things associated with being a transit rider. When I’m waiting for a bus that’s behind schedule–that I can’t even see coming from far down the street–I’ll start walking in the direction I was heading anyway, pausing at two-block intervals to turn around to see if the bus has caught up with me yet. Better than waiting idly.

As I tried to outpace the bus during my Friday evening commute, I looked back and noticed that it had gained some good distance since I had abandoned ship. I was at a point where I could have gone one block westward, waited for a moment for the bus to turn off of Naito, and re-boarded it for the last leg of my downtown journey. That probably would have been a quicker way to reach my next stop, but I was too proud to get back on. I finished my walk, and I’m willing to bet that the time I got home would have been the same either way.

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