Have you taken a bus ride lately? In the last 30 years? I just returned from my first bus ride in nearly that long.
I'd been putting this off during the last year. Today, I needed the service, so I gathered my courage, left the office, and headed for where I thought the bus stopped.
As I neared a marked stop, an approaching woman timidly asked me,m "Does the Hagadorn bus stop here?"
I had to admit my total ignorance of the system. Then I walked into the nearest business for some assitance. From this source I received enough information to start in a general direction, looking for the blue and white sign I was assured was in the neighborhood of a four-block stretch.
As I arrived at the main thoroughfare, my gaze swept from left to right and back again. I saw something familiar. It was one of those waiting stations in which, as a habitual car driver, I'd noticed bus riders waiting.
With renewed courage and great relief, I headed straight for it.
I saw a girl already waiting there, and this made me hurry faster, because, I thought, she might be a regular passenger and anticipating the bus at this moment.
On breathless arrival, I inquired of the passenger if this bus went to Okemos. Well, it turned out that some did and some didn't. But through my anxious thought, I remembered that although I now lived in a smaller town than that of my earlier bus riding days, of course several buses could pass this corner.
I waited patiently. In the next 10 minutes two buses turned off a block before my stop. Another passenger came and sat down in the cubicle.
Then it came.
I was beginning to be quite proud of myself. Feeling very independent, I entered the bus and readied my exact-change fare, which I had been warned would be the only acceptable payment.