Get Off My Lawn

I can't tell if he's laughing or crying.

Double-Decker Fun

Last night was a pretty fun night. I take the bus to and from work, traveling from Edmonton, where I live, to Sherwood Park, where I work. It is about a twenty minute ride and the Sherwood Park transit system is really good. Recently, Sherwood Park had purchased a bunch of double-decker busses and has been running them since December. But I had yet to ride on one. I’d see one or two pull into the transit station and look longingly at the smiling faces of passengers sitting in the top deck like kids in summer going for ice cream, and I was left watching on the sidewalk as they pulled away, telling myself ice cream was stupid anyway. I wasn’t sure why the double-decker never drove my route but I suspect it was because I take the bus at odd hours when the ridership is well below capacity.

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But last night I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the 404 pull up and it was two stories of cool. I stepped onto the bus alone. I headed up the small half spiral staircase. Yes, I’m actually climbing up stairs on a bus. It smelled new. Like a new car. And a lot of glue, which might explain the slight euphoric sensation on my journey home. I made my way to the front seat of the top deck, looking out of the massive window giving me a perspective of the city I had never had before. And I had this blue whale of the asphalt all to myself.

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As I road home I felt equal parts King of the World, Elvis, and Little Lord Fauntleroy. And I was struck with some gratitude for living in a time and place where new buses can be purchased and, due to such a high volume of ridership at peak hours, can run when the only rider is a kind of weird guy taking pictures with his tablet like he was on a weekend away from the Hutterite colony.

My stop came a little sooner than I expected and I couldn’t find a bell/dinger thing to press or pull to signal I wanted the next stop, so I gathered my things quickly and went down the stairs.

“Can I have the next stop please?” I asked.

“No problem,” the driver said. The drivers are usually really nice. “But I need to ask you to please be careful when you come down the stairs. We like for people to wait until the bus stops before they go up or down the stairs so you don’t fall.” I must have looked or sounded a bit spazzy when I descended. Which is entirely possible. On a different day on a different bus I may have been snarky, saying something smart-assey like “Thanks for your concern,” followed by an icy look and thinking to myself, “But I don’t need help navigating the world from someone young enough to be my son. Just drive your bus and leave the walking to me okay? Ya? Clear? Okay?” But I had a bit of fun on a Friday, I love my job, I was going home to a place I love, and even the weather had finally warmed up after being minus 1000 for what seemed like three years, and life at that moment was good so I had no choice but to say “Thank you,” as the bus dropped me off and I realized I was also seeing my life in a perspective that was different in that it contained a little more hope and some contentment.

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