Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And...

It's been a long time since I've been on a bus, but with petrol prices going through the roof down here in Australia (and no doubt the rest of the world) I thought it smart to take a bus into town where I'm currently doing some night courses.

And boy have things changed since I went on a bus last time!

In fact I can't even remember the last time I rode on a bus!! It would've been maybe 10 or so years ago as I've had the luxury of driving around in my car since that time... boy does time fly.

Anyway, as I was saying, buses have changed heaps. What was once the norm of paying for your ticket now has changed to what is termed a "multi-rider card". My brother was fortunate enough to inform me that I best buy one of these babies before I hopped on a bus, so... I did.

Here's how the conversation went when I walked in to my local friendly newsagency store to buy one of these multi-thingamagigies...

ME: Hi, do you sell 'multi-riders'?
HIM: Yes.
ME: Ummm... I've run out of questions.
HIM: What sort would you like?
ME: What sorts do you have?
HIM: We have adult, student or pensioner.
ME: Ok, I'll take ONE adult mult-rider please.
HIM: Well how many zones will you be travelling?
ME: Err, what's a zone?
HIM: Whereabouts are you travelling to?
ME: To and from town, from here.
HIM: Okay, you'll need a two zone multi-rider adult pass.
ME: Great! Can I please have a two zone multi-rider adult pass.
HIM: How many rides do you want?
ME: How many rides can I have?
HIM: 10 or 40.
ME: I'll go for 40.
HIM: Are you sure?
ME: Yep, I'll have 40 multi-zoned adults to ride please.

I didn't quite understand why he just stood there and stared, but I didn't think he appreciated the humour... a line was building behind me.

After he mentioned the price and after I picked myself from up off the floor I went on my merry way to catch my first bus ride in 10 years.

The anticipation was killing me. Stuff the new DisneyWorld in Hong Kong... I've got 40 rides on a BUS!


Yeah, I know, you're *all* soooOOooo jealous.

So there I sat, at the bus stand, waiting for the 4:21pm 940 bus on Jackson Ave. I was early, and if buses haven't changed, I was probably waaay too early. But, oddly enough the bus arrived earlier than the allotted 4:21pm time (according to my time) and I stepped on board.

As I stepped up onto the bus there were several slots available to me to insert my multi-thingamagig. I didn't know where to start so I went for the closest. Forcing my card in what looked like a bin slot didn't seemed to do anything... to remain "cool" I quickly moved onto the next. The next was a little moist and the muffling bus driver didn't appreciate being force fed a multi-rider ticket so he forcefully pointed in the direction of where my card had to go.

"Oh... right... sorry."

Now I was set.

As I sat in the disabled zone (obviously seating for those who don't know where to put their multi-things in when boarding a bus) I relaxed all the way into town.

Although it was great it kinda felt real weird - especially considering the fact that I brought some reading material along with me - here I was reading and moving and not even watching where I was going: this is a strange feeling if the only other thing you've done is drive yourself around all the time.

But it was great, I was doing two things at once (and who said guys can't do two things at once??).

However, the trip back home wasn't as nice as the arrival there.

First, it saw me *just* miss my bus. As I bounded over seats, people, children and anything else that stuck in the way the 940 bus home sailed off into the distance without a care in the world.

I think I even saw the driver smiling in his side view mirror.

"Yea, that's right, laugh it up now bus man, wait until I get on board and shove my multi-rider in a slot you really wont enjoy... then we'll see who's laughing!"

So I wasn't happy, but even more so because of the condition I was in when I arrived at the bus port.

Unfortunately I *assumed* that everything was going to be okay weatherwise on the day, so I didn't bring any rain covering jacket, or for that matter an umbrella. I thought that if it *were* going to rain I'd be able to dodge the wet spots and make it home dry as a bone... this wasn't the case.

At the ONLY open 50 meter stretch on my journey from the lecture room to the bus port the heavens opened.

I don't think it even rained as heavy in NOAH'S DAY!!!

It was as if the cloud was waiting all night, deliberately holding in, sitting there perched in the sky waiting for an unsuspecting victim... and of course, it just had to be me.

And I was not happy.

And when I missed my bus... I was *really* not happy.

Fortunately some old navigational skills that I garnered when I used buses regularly saw me find a bus that left within a minute or two and would arrive at a similar connecting point to my 940 bus.

"All going well," I thought, "I might be able to catch the sucker."

So I jumped on the 104 and rode it all the way to the connecting point. And what would you know...

I got there, on time, and again the 940 had just set sail and again, I swear, I saw a smile in that darn side view mirror. I wasn't going to bother raising my hand to hail him, but I sure felt like raising a certain finger!

Well... the next bus was going to take another 40 minutes to arrive.


It would only take me about 30 minutes to walk home, so I set out walking home in my soaking pants and jacket not giving a care in the world if it downpoured again... and it didn't.

But it did continue to rain.

Now, I know I mentioned before that I enjoy jogging in the rain. When I'm decked out with pants, jacket, shoes and a carry bag I no longer enjoy the rain. The difference between the two clearly is that with jogging I hardly have anything on! A rough t-shirt, jogging shorts and joggers - all are expendable, all can be soaked and I wouldn't give a rats about any of them. BUT anything other item of clothing that gets wet *really* gets on my nerve.

So, you can no doubt imagine the state I was in when I arrived home.

Not happy, wet and tired.

Are you still all jealous about riding on the bus?

Well I hope so... it makes me feel a little better.


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