I wouldn’t say I’m a proud person, but I do have boundaries and limits. I’ll pick up dog poop, shamelessly don spandex under my jeans when the weather turns bitter, and I’ll be the one to open the door to the party, ready for whatever degree of awkwardness awaits the first group of guests. But there are things I don’t do.
And on the top of the list of things I won’t do is something I feel is more embarrassing than any of those things I just mentioned. I would pick up dog poop in front of thousands of spectators before I’d ever – here it goes – run for the bus.
I said it. It’s out there now. I’m a little embarrassed to say I’m embarrassed by this, but that’s why I’ve decided to come clean. It feels good.
I’m always running late for things. Just last week I was powerwalking to the bus stop. It was cold. I had fifteen minutes before my class started. It would be just on time if I made this next bus. There were people already waiting in the little glass hutch – it was a bad sign. As I trucked toward them, I was sure to take repeated and nervous glances over my shoulder at the sound of each oncoming vehicle.
Was that it?
I was about 100 feet from the glass hutch when it happened. The roar of a vehicle overpowered the glorious tune, courtesy of Rhianna, issuing from my earbuds. It was the bus.
I watched as it barreled past me, toward the stop. It slowed, pulled to the side and opened its doors for the more punctual riders, completely indifferent to my presence in the distance. I watched as the others boarded and realized my feet couldn’t carry me any faster, I wouldn’t make it to the doors before each rider boarded. I was going to miss the bus unless I started running.
A more intelligent, self-assured and secure individual would have ran at that point. She would have hiked up her pants, held on to her backpack and taken off. I instead acted as if I had no intentions of riding a bus then or ever. I acted as if I was walking for my health. And as that bus pulled away with its safe and happy riders, I forced myself to check my phone for the time. Yep. I would be late. By about 15 minutes. I’d have to stand around and wait for the next one.
It wasn’t the end of the world, but it reinforced my love/hate relationship with our bus system. See, that sense of pride and accomplishment you feel after you’ve successfully ridden the bus from point A to point B is incalculable. It’s beautiful. You feel self-sufficient and sophisticated. But that feeling you get, that, “I’m a dumb ass who won’t run,” feeling is horrible and degrading. I hate feeling that feeling. I hate riding the bus.
But I have to. My current transportation situation almost requires it. I can’t walk everywhere. So I’m asking that we all take a moment and consider those deep-seated biases we hold in our hearts for those who run for the bus, think about them really hard, and eliminate them. Because there will come a day when missing the bus will mean more than 15 minutes of lateness.
It will be then that I hike up my pants and secure my backpack. On that day when I must run, I hope to do so free from embarrassment. I realize this is a personal problem and that I must first be secure with myself. I only ask that when I reach that point in life, that you all encourage my new-found bus running willingness.
Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected] for the bus schedule.