Transportation Perspirations, Part I

For my first post, I want to share a story that took place last week. Since our car, Coby, was shipped to Seattle for my father’s disposal while he is temporarily/permanently stationed there, we only have two cars and yet three drivers when he returns home on occasional weekends. 

Last Tuesday, this presented a problem. He had a few errands to run before he departed for a business trip to Louisville, Kentucky, while my mom had previously left for work.

Problem: I also need a means a transportation to commute to work.

It must have been my lucky day, because my dad suggested that I take the lovely Z8 bus to work. I wasn’t thrilled, seeing as these buses are not populated by the highly driven CEOs of society. 

The bus was scheduled to arrive at 9:28. Even that early in the morning, the air was dense and still with the humid moisture that plagues the DC area in the summer. The bus is late. At 9:35, I look up, already sweating and relieved to see it pulling up…and then it barrels past, the reason unbeknownst to me. At 9:55, after waiting in the heat for a half hour, another bus finally arrives, which kindly stops for its customers. 

Two minutes after I board, squished between other people, a woman starts moaning and shrieking in the back. People glace warily at each other, and eventually someone asks her is she is okay. She responds by wailing that she is late and will be fired from her job because she is late. The people next to me snicker and laugh, and I feel bad for her, but try to suppress the feeling because there is nothing I can do. 

As we pull up to Four Corners, the woman gets off. She then bangs her elbow multiple times against the bus and screams. We’re at a red light, and the driver yells at her to stop, but she continues. He then parks the bus and gets out, while passengers plead with him to ignore her and just continue on our merry way, when he snarls:

“Don’t tell me how to do my job!”

He then calls the transit authority (he’s an idiot for not calling the police directly) while this woman flips him the bird as a confused passerby scuttles past. She wanders across University Boulevard, and shoves over the newspaper stands which topple like dominoes. She then uproots a sign in the ground, and throws garbage into the street and flings her bag behind the sidewalk. People are staring, and I call my dad.

The transportation gods have not been kind today. 

A few minutes later, I meet my dad in a nearby parking lot. Meanwhile, the real police have finally arrived, and are talking with the driver, having lost the woman and not bothering to search for her. I notify them that I’ve seen her around the corner, which they acknowledge and ignore. Competent.

Before we drive away from the conglomeration of stranded travelers, my dad calls out:

“I’m going downtown-anyone need a ride?”

We suddenly have several takers. We pile into the car: my dad, my brother, me, and five heavy African Americans, who praise and extoll my dad’s virtues and assure us that “there really is a God looking out for them”. 

One man notifies my dad where he’ll be getting out, as if my dad is an experienced bus driver. We sail down Colesville Road, loud chatter permeating the car, and I continually laugh to myself in the front seat, thoroughly entertained. (My brother later claimed that he couldn’t buckle his seat belt because his seatmates were so enormous.)

They all get out at the same stop, probably scared to continue with us on their own. As one woman gets out, she calls to my dad: “Baby, bless your soul!”

My dad told us afterward that he figured this was a great opportunity to “make a kiddush Hashem”, a Jewish term loosely translated as making a positive impact or being a good role model. I’m glad he did, because it lightened up what promised to be a miserable morning, and made a great story.

Stay tuned for Part II. 

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3 thoughts on “Transportation Perspirations, Part I

  1. Uncle Frank says:

    You had a first-hand cultural experience with the Monkey Ward people. Get used to it – my entire life has been inextricably bound with the above-referenced stereotype. Made for a funny story as well as a kiddush hashem – a powerful one-two punch. Bravo!

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