Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday's child

As the old saying goes, Wednesday's child is full of woe. Not me, not today. Nor does this Wednesday's child have far to go. Lately, I've been working every Wednesday, but I have been free of other duties which would require a car. So: to the bus stop. This morning I hoofed the .4mi up to the business district so that I could catch #1 bus headed downtown. The riders were a sorry and sullen lot. This was 10:30ish, after all. We should have been happy! After days and days and days of rain, our fair city was experiencing sunshine! But nothing could turn our frowns upside down. We weren't particularly happy, but we weren't fired up either. We were quite a contrast from the unhappy lot that rode a #9 bus one day last week.

One day last week I hustled away from work a few seconds early so that I could be "on time" for #9 as it left the transit center headed west. Ha ha. "On time" in this case meant about twenty or twenty-five minutes late. What a joke. After waiting so long at the station, I boarded the bus. I reached for my county ID to show the driver. Oops-- a credit card. I held the line up for about ten seconds while I fished out the county ID. The bus driver asked me "how long you been waiting for the bus"?

I said, "maybe twenty minutes".

He snapped back with a near-automatic "In all that time, you could have already had your ID ready". Ouch. Snap.

I could not help myself: "I don't suppose the bus could have been here twenty minutes ago, could it have?"

Oh, but that's not his fault, he was quick to respond.

I just walked away. No, I suppose that it was not his fault. But it's somebody's fault. Did anyone walk on the bus and apologize to the riders for the error? Of course not. Is anyone accountable?

By contrast, I work in a public facility. Suppose it was a bright and sunny day. I'm not talking about a snowy day when the roads are bad. If, on such a bright and sunny day, our agency opened its doors twenty minutes late, inconveniencing dozens of people, we would find some way to apologize. We feel like we're accountable.

It's not about me. I wasn't in a hurry. Ho-hum so what. But what about the people who are depending on this bus to get to work? To get to their children?

I do feel sorry for those people. They deserve better.