In which we turn the bus into our personal taxi.

26 Jul

My friend Liz was in town from Atlanta last weekend, so her sister Lisa hosted a small get-together Friday night. Since it was a white wine tasting party, Holly and I decided to take the bus there together so we could enjoy ourselves without wrapping a car around a tree having to worry about driving.

We both have been exploring the bus system and marvel at how surprisingly convenient it is — once you know where you’re going. The maiden voyage to any single destination can be a bit of an adventure, however, because not all of the stops are included on the bus schedule and the drivers exhibit varying degrees of customer service.

We used WMATA’s “trip planner” and deduced that we needed to get off at Ward Circle. On the way there, I started to have second thoughts, so Holly walked to the front of the bus and tried to ask the driver. “We’re trying to get to Chesapeake Street,” she explained. “Is Ward Circle the best stop?”

His response? “I don’t know.”

WHAT? You’re the bus driver! Presumably you drive this route every day. How do you not know if Ward Circle is the best stop for Chesapeake? (For the record, Chesapeake is cross street, allegedly with its own stop – though it didn’t show up on the schedule – so that’s why we assumed he would know.)

Thanks to Mr. Helpful’s ignorance, we piled off at Ward Circle, and started walking down Mass Ave. If we had gotten off at the right place, Chesapeake would be 1.5 blocks up on our right. It wasn’t. Thanks, d-bag. Glad we didn’t tip you! (No, it is not customary to tip a bus driver. I’m just saying, I’m especially glad we didn’t.)

So we walked back to the bus stop and looked at the schedule. Next bus? Twenty minutes. Fine. We were running early anyway, so we just set down our bags and the box of cupcakes and waited. A woman wearing a burka stood near us, apparently waiting as well. After ten minutes she stomped off down the street. Then we saw her driving past us, in the back of a cab.

Did she know something we didn’t?

It seemed she did, because the next bus to come had its sign set to “Out of Service.” Awesome. We checked the schedule again… it was three minutes past time. Had we missed it?

About this time, another bus came lumbering toward us, also with an “Out of Service” sign. But Holly didn’t care (or maybe needs a new pair of glasses?) because she started jumping up and down, offering fist pumps as if she had just won the lottery. In any case, the bus driver was laughing when he pulled up, and he opened the door to us.

We confirmed that this bus did, in fact, go past Chesapeake, and the driver’s friendly advice made up for the Mr. Helpful’s uselessness.

We relaxed into our seats and began chatting. I was watching street signs out of the corner of my eye, and before I knew it, we had passed Chesapeake. I pulled the “stop” cord, so we could hop out at the next slated stop and back-track.

But this driver? He was AWESOME. He asked if that’s where we wanted to get off, then just pulled over at the next intersection (which was actually where Lisa lives) and let us out, making a special stop. We thanked him effusively as we jumped off the bus.

If it were appropriate to tip bus drivers, I totally would’ve done it.

In hindsight, we should have at least given him a cupcake. Next time.

7 Responses to “In which we turn the bus into our personal taxi.”

  1. Barbara July 26, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    You’re braver than I am! Haha, you and Lauren both had good experiences with the bus recently 🙂

    p.s. I like the new blog look!

  2. Kim Pugliano July 26, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    What kind of cupcakes? Just out of curiosity. Now I want cupcakes.

    You’re evil.

    • pithypants July 26, 2011 at 10:44 am #

      Mixed box: german chocolate cake, fresh strawberry, salty caramel and toffee crunch. How’s THAT for evil?

  3. Lorna's Voice July 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    I hope the wine-tasting party was worth the adventure getting there. How did you get back? I bet that would make a good story, too.

    I love your writing style–so funny and real. Looking forward to reading about whatever is next…

    • pithypants July 27, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

      Thanks! The ride home is a story for another day!

  4. Danielle July 27, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Bus trips usually have an unusual adventure. From the driver to the fellow passengers. I’ve encountered some pretty whacked out people from “bussing”

    • pithypants July 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

      Right? It’s kind of like freakshow central. Especially depending on which line you take. Woof.

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