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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Public Transport - My New Nemesis!!

So it's been a few weeks now, since my  poor car aka The Little Blue Bullet, began to suffer chronic mechanical issues. This in turn has caused me many endless sleepless nights and heartache to boot, I love my car and I really, really hate buses with a vengeance, and no, I don't give a sod about my carbon footprint, I'm neither a farting cow nor do I drive a jumbo jet, my car is tiny and it's mine, mine, mine!! And now it's broke and my nerves are shot to pieces.
It's been one week since I put the keys down (I've been looking for a reliable mechanic, who I left her with this morning!) and my God, what a nightmare my 'Travel Week' has been. My son is quite a capable young man. At ten years old he has proven himself as a trustworthy and independent user of public transport - he had no choice. He needed to travel from his school to my university every day for the last year and on occasion he took the bus straight home. But he was unwilling to travel to school alone this week. It was not fear or anxiety which prevented this, merely the last remnants of his childhood clinging to my frayed apron stings (a fact I love since it has become so rare these day!)

I, on the otherhand, have not really used public transport since he was a baby and I most certainly have not 'bused it' since I was a teenager. And I now vividly remember why I hated it all those years ago. Okay I'll concede a little, now I live in a prime location, sitting only a short distance from the centre of one of the most beautiful cities in the world and as such I have the luxury of a dependable bus service arriving every 15 minutes. But nonetheless, I still hate it! Every time I want to go somewhere I have to plan it, like clockwork, if I run five minutes late, I end up being anything from 20 - 30 minutes late and all because the damned bus driver was unaware of my plan to travel - anyone got his mobile number?
Tuesday is swimming day and since I go to university on the far side of the city, last September I had the great idea of enrolling him in lessons in the university's leisure centre. Great idea then equals BAD idea now, especially as uni is out for the summer! And to top it all off, last Tuesday was also 'Soccer Blitz' day for my beloved son at his local club. This meant that not only did I have to bus my son to school (and return home via said bus) I then had to travel (yes, by bus!) back down to his school, take another bus to the university, sit through swimming, quickly feed my son sandwiches as I rushed him back into the city in order to catch another bus out to his soccer club so he could participate in said blitz. And of course this being me, the Powers-That-Be love to take the proverbial and so had the added pleasure of raining seven bells down upon my head - thank God for Josh (my umbrella!) Finally after an hour of sitting in the freezing cold, and by now damp clubhouse, my son informed me that the blitz was only for children born in son was born in 1999 and so his blitz wasn't on until Thursday - could his coach not have pointed this out at training?? Obviously not!
So today I was of course dreading the madcap run that swimming has now become (God I do hope I don't have to get used to this!) But unlike last week, today the sun shined brilliant as could be, but of course I brought my heavy coat - just in case! My beloved son decided today would be a great day to bring as many books home as he could and so my load was light (NOT!) But I shrugged it off and carried on - at least, I thought to myself, I've brought Plato instead of Aristophanes to read and this lightened my load by about half a kilo, so I smiled. The university was nice and quiet and swimming was a pleasure, especially as I sat and read and realised that I did not need to rush anywhere after. 
Memories came flooding back as I ran to catch the bus and realised that there were about 50 teenagers squealing and shouting, eager to get home after a long day in school. My squiggly little son wormed his way to the top of the queue in order to hold a seat for me. I sat on the bus, an oul' wan when compared with the bumptious joyousness of the overeager teenagers who bumped and jostled their way to the back of the bus, all eager to grab the back seat, some sitting on the laps of their friends and all to ensure they were near enough to each other to shout over one another. I was disappointed to see the dirty looks thrown by other 'adults' as they scowled disapprovingly at these symbols of the freedom of youth. Okay, I admit it, my ears ached and for a split second I was envious of the deaf woman in front who had the pleasure of switching off her hearing aid, but nonetheless I can't help but remember that it was not too long ago that I was one of those teenagers.
sunshine.jpg sun flower image by sailorette857
As the bus pulled up to my stop, I stepped off, only too delighted to feel my ears readjust to normal hearing levels, and I realised that CIE did not put on a special 'school' bus for us when we young in order to be nice, they put it on because others do not like sharing buses with those who remind of just how old they have now become!

Come home, Little Blue Bullet...all is forgiven!!

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