Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The magic bus

Now I know what The Who was singing about all those years ago. Most weekday mornings, my wife comes home from her night shift at 8AM. I then give her and the kids a hug and a kiss goodbye as I leave for work. (she puts them on the bus at 8:45 and goes to sleep shortly afterwards) I make my usual trek down Stump road to Limekiln pike to Pickertown road which will eventually take me to Bristol road. But since school began, after I pass Upper State street I get stuck behind a school bus.

This school bus will make 9 stops. Since the houses are directly on Pickertown road and not part of a development, the bus is picking up each child (or small group of siblings) from each household separately. In some cases it will stop, pick up a child, and then edge up another 100 feet and pick up the next child. Needless to say, it's rather annoying. Sometimes, you can even see that the child is running late and the bus will sit and wait as the child scrambles to get his bag and run towards the bus from his front porch. This whole getting stuck behind the school bus thing will delay my morning commute close to 6 minutes.

Basically, that leaves me a few options to rectify this situation:

1) Leave earlier or later to avoid the bus
2) Take a different route
3) Become friends with the union leader of the bus drivers and have him apply copious amounts of pressure to alter the bus route

Option 1 isn't really an option for me. If I were to leave later I would probably miss the bus, but, I would still be later to work and that would make me even later to work than if I was just stuck behind the bus. On occasion, I have had the luxury of having my wife come home as early as 7:53AM and I was able to get out the door earlier. This is where the magic bus part seems to come into play-

In the past 3 weeks when I leave between 7:53 and 8:03, I will get stuck behind the bus, no matter which time I leave. You'd think leaving a good 7 minutes before usual, you'd avoid the bus, but no....the 4 times I've had that chance (and I've been charting this with graphs and computers) I have yet to get in front of the bus before it makes its stops. I'm starting to think that there's a guy at a checkpoint somewhere along my commute who radios ahead to the bus so it can get in front of me. Perhaps, it's the stop light's timing mechanism or perhaps, it's all a big conspiracy to prevent me from getting to the office before the TV people set it up properly ala The Truman Show.

Option 2 doesn't really work either. The 2nd best route takes longer to drive due to traffic, lights, school zones (damn school kids!!) and longer distances. How much longer? That's right, you guessed it- 6 minutes!! I suppose I really should be taking the secondary route to save myself some agita. Despite the fact that the primary route is now the same time-wise, at least the secondary route won't get me all worked up over wondering how this damn bus always manages to get ahead of me.

Option 3 would be optimal, but I really don't like blue collar workers. I guess that makes me an elitist, but I'm just not a bring a lunch box to work kinda guy.

Alas, I should just suck it up and accept the fact that my commute will be 6 minutes longer when school is in session. I suppose it sounds like I'm whining as most of you probably suffer from interstate and turnpike traffic jams. But you lose sight of the bigger picture when you get cooped up in the car. The sense of urgency and the need for immediacy defies all logical thinking while you have your foot on the gas pedal. I can't imagine how much worse the Hulk would be if he had a morning commute.

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