When I decided to move to Austin, I decided to go carless. Austin has Car2Go, buses, bike lanes and it’s pretty pedestrian friendly too. Downtown, there are also taxis and pedicabs. For longer trips there’s the train, car rental, and of course the airport.
Only, it turned out, I was freaked out by riding the bus. Well, that’s not exactly right. I was freaked out by the idea of doing it wrong. Yep, that again. See, there are so many tiny details involved in riding the bus and I *hate* doing things wrong. Even things that I would forgive of anyone else, or not even notice if anyone else did them.
And so, the chorus began:
- Do I just stand at the bus stop?
- Do I flag down the bus?
- How do I pay?
- What if the bus-ticket-machine-thing won’t take my money?
- How will I know when my stop is coming up?
- When do I ring for my stop?
- How do I ring for my stop?
And then, the stress and accompanying fatigue and pain. Mercy.
Break it Down, Um… No
Usually, I would break it down into smaller steps. And I tried. I went on the bus with a friend. I watched people at bus stops as I was walking places. Only, there’s only so much you can break it down. Once you get on the bus, you eventually have to get off. Then you have to get home.
I finally realized that 1) I needed to have absolutely no other pressure on me that day. No plan to be anywhere specific and any particular point in time and 2) the only way to do that was block out a whole day for it.
You’ve Got Two Choices of What You Can Do
There are two ways to look at anything you are going to do. You can look at it a something you have to get through. Or, you can look at it as an adventure. I’m sure you can guess which one you are more likely to repeat once you’re done.
If I just rode the bus to the store and back (one ride, a half a mile each way), it would have been something I had managed to get through, something I could check of my list of having accomplished. It would have been unlikely that it would have much easier for me the next time.
So, I had a Bus Adventure Day. First, I went to the yarn store, which, for me is wonderfully comforting. One bus east and a transfer south. Of course, I missed my stop by one, I think. I’m still not real good at reading where I need to stop on the map on my phone, but I have since discovered that the list style directions give the cross streets for the stop.
Cranky Pants and Gingerbread Pancakes
There had been some people on the second bus who were cranky and being rather loud about it and that kind of threw me for a bit. So, I went to a cafe and had breakfast in the afternoon, a treat of gingerbread pancakes, fruit, bacon and tea. If I had been getting through my bus difficulties, I wouldn’t have stopped because it would have just added more time, but since it was an adventure: Afternoon Breakfast!
On to the megastore. While I’m not a fan of megastores, they are the only places I know where you can buy recycling bags for the city pickup. When I got to my stop, there was a man singing and dancing and clapping. I’m still not sure if he was off his meds, on somebody else’s, or just enjoying himself without caring what anyone else thought.
Confuddled Won’t Kill You Either
I got confused on this one and got off the bus one stop too early, which wouldn’t have been too bad, only it was about 100º F, so, it was kind of icky. Also worth mentioning, I need to get a water bottle. It’s too freaking hot in this state to wander around waterless, it’s dangerous and also, pointless.
On the way home I managed to miss a stop which meant I had to run to catch the next bus. Also, the talking people, they have made me decide to start wearing earbuds from now on. I really don’t wish to have another conversation about enemies. Especially ones who are imagined. Um, yeah. That.
The Truth About Adventures
Things I know about adventures:
1) Things will go wrong.
2) It doesn’t matter when things go wrong, since it’s all part of the adventure.
Riding a bus isn’t much of an adventure for most people, but it worked perfectly for me.
Is there anything you would like to turn into an adventure, or maybe already have? Please share in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.
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In the comments:
We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)