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The Club

November 9, 2009
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I’m so happy now, I have myself an umbrella!

You make think I’m crazy, but I’m really excited about this.  I had never been an umbrella kind of girl, too much to keep up with, for starters.  And I am neither a witch or made of sugar, so they didn’t seem too necessary.  But out here in Cobb County, I do a lot of walking and bus waiting, and there aren’t any sheltered bus stops out by my office.  So I had been coveting a big, simple umbrella, like One has, for a while now.  I had looked at Target, but they had ridiculous ones, double-vented golf umbrellas or shiny gold ones, and that just ain’t my style.  So I mentioned my umbrella desires, and One gave me one.  Yay!  Now I’m fully prepared for tomorrow’s rain storm.  I even checked the weather this morning to see if I’d need one, and it said no, but there were people on the train with umbrellas this morning.  Maybe they had new umbrellas, too.

Anna was late to the shelter this morning, which put me behind on my whole trip.  I was walking up to the station trying to get out my Breeze card when I heard the train pulling up.  That’s the first time I’ve had to run to catch it.  But I made it, and on the same car as the super friendly lady, who always announces to everyone to, “Have a blessed day, God loves you.”  She and I commute a lot together these days.  No one responded to her this morning, so I took it upon myself to greet her as well.  I really do love this whole commuting thing, even if it is nearly two hours of my morning, it’s a good two hours.

I did actually own a Breeze card before meeting One & Two, and used it as often as I thought I could, be it to Braves games or taking my Dad to the High.  Trains are easy, just follow the colored lines on the map to where you want to go, and if you mess up, get off and switch trains.  Admittedly, though, I had never been on a bus (in America, I did ride those double-decker deals in London).  The whole bus thing seemed way too confusing.  What bus are you supposed to take?  How do you know where to get off?  How long will it take?  Inbound?  Outbound?  What’s the schedule?  Buses are intimidating.  And that was before my whole fiasco at Five Points.  (Please excuse the gratuitous plug, but if you haven’t heard of it, The A-Train Trip Planner is a godsend for me)

But I had wanted to see what it was like, trying the whole major commute thing, and had tried to figure it out a couple of years ago when I totaled my car, in an attempt to see if I could make it without one (I still don’t think I could give up owning some means of transportation, being that my family lives in BFE).  But knowing them gave me the inspiration to actually try.

I won’t soon forget that first attempt, though.  The first Sunday I tried, I walked from my apartment to the bus stop on Cobb Parkway, not a bad walk at all.  Then I sat down and looked around, and noticed that someone had stuck a flyer to the shelter, something about how we need to stand up for ourselves that it’s ridiculous that CCT doesn’t run on Sundays.

Huh?

So I got up to read the schedule.  You mean I walked all the way down here and the bus doesn’t run on Sundays?  What kind of nonsense is that?  Like I don’t have anywhere important to go on Sundays?  (Granted, I should have checked the schedule before I walked out the door).  Well I was committed to this idea, so I called the Atlanta Cab Company, since they were programmed into my phone, to see if they’d pick me up in Cobb to take me to Arts Center.  The lady, an angel, said that yes, they could pick me up though it’d probably be faster if I called Victory, but there is a bus that runs from Cumberland.

Great!  I’ll just walk there!

That is a horrible walk!  It is a long, hilly, walk, and you have to cross over 285, over a pedestrian bridge, and that is loud.  It took me 45 minutes, plus a stop off at QT, to get there, carrying my stuff for the shelter that night.  I got to CTC right as the 12 pulled up, and I was swearing I was never doing that again.  However, the Monday morning commute was awesome and it won me over.  But that’s the way it goes, my morning commutes are great, the lady who drives the 8:05 10b is my favorite bus driver in the world, even better than Charlie who drove my school bus in Virginia, and the evening commutes are insane.  I actually dread those sometimes.  And now that it’s dark when I leave work, it’s not my favorite part of the day.

But I persist, because it makes my day better (I get way too hostile driving on 285 in rush hour), it’s better for the environment, it’s fun, I get to drink my tea/coffee and read a book, or steal a few zzzs, and I like being in this club.  It’s a club for cool kids, and now I get to pretend I’m one, too.  And I say pretend, because I still get confused at Five Points, can’t figure out which exit to use at Peachtree Center, and half the time guess when the bus might come, but I’m learning.  I’m trying this whole pre-walking thing Two talked about, but I’ve determined that’s futile when trying to plan your arrival at Arts Center.  There’s just one way up to the buses, and it puts you out on the exact opposite of where my bus is. 

I’m lucky, though, cause I have the Accidental Commuter, who is just as new to this as I am, and One and Two, that I get to ask my crazy questions to, like:

Why do the lights randomly turn off on the train? (Two says it’s something about losing connection with the third rail, there may be a switch or something.  And I’m pretty sure it happens out on the East line way more often than it’s supposed to, based on his answer.)

Why don’t the train drivers ennuciate? (One says it’s part PA system, part train driver)

How do you know which left side of the train the doors open on (The left of the direction of the train, apparently AC heard a train driver say that, but I always get the ones who don’t enunciate)

Are they supposed to be called train drivers or conductors?  (That one just occured to me, so y’all need to clarify)

And because of knowing them, I get the inside scoop on stuff and get to do fun things, like check for a MARTA sign for the 12 at CTC, which gives me a false sense of being important, because I’m not a transit planner (though I think I could be, I mean, a class in traffic lights, I would take that over employment law anyday), but now I have a fancy-smancy umbrella like a real commuter and now I get to be in the club.  🙂

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