A Love Story
This morning the Twitters have been alive with stories on what made the Twitterati and myself try transit. My besties @RideLikeCharlie lived in London and @MamaKoid started at the very young age of 4, which is adorable and inspiring. My reason? I’ll admit it. I did it for a boy.
I started taking transit in my late twenties; 27 to be exact. Unlike Mama, it wasn’t that my parents didn’t ride the bus, it was that there was no bus where I grew up. In fact, my parents had grown up taking transit in DC and my grandfather helped build WMATA (and still does), but not me. I rode the school bus for a couple of years, basically for middle school until I made friends with the older kid down the street. Then I went to Radford University for college and grad school and we had a bus that drives you from the parking lot to campus and that’s the extent of the transit opportunities I was exposed to. I mean sure, I’d taken WMATA & MTA on vacations and the Tube in London when I studied abroad, but the only nonschool bus I had ever been on before moving to Atlanta was when the Tube was on strike and you had to catch the bus to go anywhere and that wasn’t the best experience. The term crushload comes to mind.
When I moved to Atlanta I took the MARTA train; that’s easy. Stick some money in a machine, get a card, get on a train, hopefully the one headed in the right direction, get off said train at either the Braves shuttle or the High. Done. Train maps are pretty easy to figure out and there are like two trains at a station. If you mess up, it’s an easy fix, even for a country girl.
But buses? There are like 100 of those things and they go everywhere and the maps are a series of squiggly lines and where do you get on and off if not at a station and then there are time tables and there are like loads of different times that the bus may or may not come and who takes buses? I’m a white girl who lives in the burbs. I don’t take buses.
Well I didn’t. And then I met One.
Stupidest reason to take a bus? To impress a guy.
To give myself credit, I had already been heavily involved in environmentalism before meeting One. In fact, that’s how we met, at a Sierra Club retreat. Combine a growing interest in a guy who works for public transit and an already established passion for saving the environment, and hopping my happy butt on the bus made perfect sense, even if bus schedules didn’t and I found myself stranded, confused, and with loads of stories to tell, which is how this blog thing started. Well, that, and One suggested it.
(I sound like such a girl. At least I have never doodled anyone’s name on my notebooks.)
But you know what? I enjoyed the heck out of those bus rides, even the ones that went terribly wrong, and I fell as much in love with public transportation as the boy. A couple of years later and here I am, writing a blog while wearing a bracelet of transit tokens, a cable car necklace, and working for a transit referendum campaign while being president of a stranghangers group. And none of that is to impress anyone.
Whatever the silly reason, I’m glad that I ventured out and took the bus. While Mama may have known from an early age that transit is great and what she wants to do with her life, I didn’t figure it out until I had someone to motivate me, and it’s the best thing that a guy could ever give me.
And you can all blame One for being stuck with me.