Monday, March 21, 2016

SLICE #21- People walking

For about the past month, the brakes on my car have been acting weird.
They make grinding sounds when I drive in the city.
The car shakes when I have to brake on the highway.
It was making me nervous.
And besides, I might take a road trip to Arizona next week.
And I didn't want to go in a car with bad brakes.
Last night I dropped it off at the garage.

I still had to get to work today.
No one I work with lives especially close to me,
and taxis are expensive, so I decided to take the bus.
I looked up the schedule last night. It looked really easy.
Walk two blocks south. Take the 20 downtown.
Get off at 18th and Lawrence.
Get on the 38th.
Get off at 38th and Quivas, one block from school.
No problem.

This morning, I set out really early for the bus stop.
The dog and I walk those two blocks in five minutes every night,
but I gave myself 20 minutes, just in case.
I stood there for about ten minutes, and
then the bus came, a few minutes early. Perfect.
I was surprised that it was already crowded.
Lots of people clearly knew each other well.
They talked about their weekends, and jobs, and their families.
I just watched the stops.

The bus got downtown in about 15 minutes.
And that's when the fun began.
I was supposed to get off at 18th and Lawrence.
Or at least that's where I thought I was supposed to get off.
But the bus never went there.
Instead it turned south, and went around the edge
of the CU Denver Campus.
I thought maybe it was going to circle back to 18th and Lawrence.
But it didn't. Instead it went over the highway.
And turned North on Federal.
I decided I better get off,
before it went much further.
And so I got off at 17th and Federal.
Right by Sports Authority Field
(where the World Champion Denver Broncos play).
I work at 38th and Federal,
or a few blocks east of there anyway.

I considered waiting for another bus,
but I would have had to get out my phone,
to check for a route, but it's not
a great neighborhood, and I didn't
want to pull out my phone
and get knocked over the head.
So I started to walk.
Twenty blocks didn't sound too far.
It's really not.
If you don't have a twenty pound computer bag
slung over your shoulder
and if you are wearing your tennis shoes
not your Dansko clogs.

I walked and I walked.
When I got to about 24th,
I realized that one of my colleagues
lives at 26th an Federal.
I thought about knocking on her door
and asking for a ride
but I thought that might be kind of weird
at 6:15 in the morning
and maybe her husband and baby
were still sleeping.
So I kept walking.

I walked and I walked.
I risked my life crossing Speer
where the cars speed around the corner.
I walked past our feeder high school,
and past a bunch of construction projects.
I watched the sun come up
Gorgeous blues and pinks and oranges.
Finally I turned the corner at 35th.
And walked ten, much longer than I remember
blocks east to my school.
It took me about fifty minutes.
The bottoms of my feet hurt tonight.

Tonight it was hard to get excited about walking with Star.
I have already done my share of people walking today.


Natalie Dunne said...

OMG, this is one of my worst nightmares! I live near Chicago and I would NEVER try to ride the buses down there!! My best friend used to live down there, and I'd take the train and I'd quadruple check with her that she'd pick me up right where the train let you out because I couldn't handle trying to maneuver my way through the city in anyway! Good for you for figuring it out! But I would have had a panic attack!

Tara said...

Oh feet hurt just reading this, Carol. I hope you have other plans for tomorrow?

Karen said...

Oh my - I am never going to complain again about my multiple heavy bags I carry the short distance from my car inside the school building. And then, you had me quite worried when you talked about not wanting to take out your phone in a certain neighborhood. I definitely don't have the life skills to live in the city.
Hope your car is fixed and you are able to enjoy your trip to Arizona.

elsie said...

We get used to having a car at our disposal, that when it is out of service we are quite at a loss for transportation. It sure would be easier if we had an easy to read public transportation system. When I read 20 blocks, I thought Oh my, that's a long way. Hope today will be an easier commute to school. How did you get home?

Mary Lee said...

This is my bus-riding nightmare! I'm glad you survived...albeit sore-footed!