I rode the bus for the first time in... wow, years. I don’t think I’ve ridden public transportation since I came home from studying abroad in London and traveling a small corner of Europe afterwards. Six years ago now. And then it was cool. (In a lousy fake British accent: "Mind the gap please, mind the gap.")
It’s interesting to me how depending on where you are, marks the public transportation as being for either the cool kids, or the... not cool kids. In the big cities like London, New York, Paris, Madrid, etc., everyone takes the tube/subway/metro, etc. And I would assume the bus systems in those big cities are just as big. But for the first 18 years of my life, living in California, I never rode on any sort of public transportation in my fair town. School buses don’t count. Neither do the buses that shuttle you from the airport to your car, from the parking lot to Disneyland, or tour buses with Japanese exchange students. California is just not really a public transportation sort of place. I mean, it’s there, but most everyone has a car.
When I started college, we were all without cars. We would ride the bus to the mall. It wasn’t "cool," but we weren’t uncool for doing it. And it was sort of an adventure for me, never having paid my 50 cents to get to the mall before. That wore off the first time we were abandoned at the mall due to a snowstorm.
Now, living in the most liberal town in Kansas, (I know, who would have thought Kansas had any), my husband rides the bus downtown every day to work. And although I don’t believe it’s among the trend of things, it’s not a big deal because everyone just assumes he’s saving the earth from more car pollutants. What they don’t know is that he’s left the car home with me to drive around all day, exuding hazardous fumes all over town.
Today’s bus ride, while very exciting for my kids, is not how I plan to get around town from now on. Today’s bus ride was for about a mile, in order to pick our car up from the mechanic who was unable to get our car to act up (isn’t that just like a kid, not to show off for the doctor?). My husband dropped if off on his way to work yesterday, then got on his usual bus a few stops further down the route, thus freaking out a fellow bus rider who gets on at that stop and now thinks she has a stalker. So my husband talked me into taking the kids on a "fun field trip" on the bus to get our car since our son is currently obsessed with all things that go and are big. So once again, I’m a rider of public transportation. And while it’s not my transportation of choice, it was not scary, dirty, or in the least bit life threatening. Plus my kids think I took them on a fun adventure, not a three block ride.