As I mentioned at Get Rich Slowly the other day, I’ve discovered the bus.
I can recall riding the bus when I was just a boy (so before the age of two — right, Mom?), and I rode it once in high school to visit Paul Carlile when he was in foster care, but I’ve never ridden it as an adult. I’ve been on buses in other cities — just not in Portland.
What took me so long?
I was sort of in a panic Wednesday when I learned that the routine service on my new (used) Mini would keep the car in the shop overnight. How would I get home? Eventually I realized I could take the bus.
And I rode the bus back into the city on Thursday. A fifteen minute walk to the bus stop at Oak Grove and McLoughlin, a twenty minute ride, and bam! There I was at 4th and Washington.
I love it.
I had a sense of exhilarating freedom as I sat in O’Bryant Square just killing time. I know this probably sounds lame, but it’s liberating to not have a car downtown. I didn’t have to worry about parking. I could wlak where I wanted and take as long as I wanted. I could watch the skateboarders, and the mounted police (and the bicycle police), and the businessmen eating Chinese takeout on the park benches. I could sit there and write.
Sure, I could do all of those things if I’d driven downtown, too. But I wouldn’t. I’d be in a completely different mindset. It’s as if when I stepped on that bus I entered a different world — a parallel universe.
Later in the day, I met my friend Ramit for lunch at Kenny and Zuke’s. He was in town from San Francisco to promote his new book. I lingered a long time, chatting with our readers (especially Davy and Kinley), and then walked up to the Mini dealer to get my car.
The whole time, I felt like I was in a strange and wonderful alternate universe. All because of public transportation.
(I’ll admit, though, that it felt good to drive home!)