It’s almost a two-mile walk from the YMCA to my house. When we’re on foot it’s always a near thing: should we wait for a bus or walk home? This is a bit more either-or than it might seem, that is you can’t necessarily just start walking and catch the bus when it comes because A. Transit drivers around here are known to not respond when you flag them down in the middle of a block – despite the policy they will – and B. there’s a very long stretch from Riverside to the HQX station where if you were walking, you wouldn’t be able to jump onboard anyway – it won’t stop along the river and across it to the station, the better part of a mile.
Waiting for the bus, however – especially at the apparently indecent (?) hour of 6:30 PM – can be a long, long process. A loooong process. You may think you could walk home in the time it takes to get picked up, sure. You might also think you will die a lonely death in the (not weatherproof) “shelter” while straining your eyes vainly, your bleached bones gently rattling against one another on the long, late summer day when the bus finally pulls over and shhh-thhh’s its doors open, your skeletal hand loosely clutching the clinking fare. Tonight was made extra cruel as we had two false alarms – school buses disappointing us in the last instant, and people around here drive such big damn trucks I kept thinking our vehicular savior was near at hand. I was pretty close to resorting to prostitution at the end, not so much out of desperation for a ride, which had died in my breast seemingly ages ago, but a boredom so profound I wasn’t even sure I was human anymore.
Sophie’s swim team ended at 6 PM: we boarded a bus at 7:15 PM, making for a wait outside of 45 minutes. The temperature was 49 degrees and my children’s hands were ice-cold. Yet they had kept relatively cheerful running around in the parking lot, howling like wolves (Nels was thrilled he got a neighbor dog to join him), climbing on the industrial-sturdy garbage can, and in general behaving like little demon innocents. I took a few pictures, and even in the grainy streetlamp-lit images it struck me how much joy and love you can see between the two.
Still, whatever our delays and provincial walking/biking journeys, in a way it’s a joy to slow down and spend the time with the kids doing nothing or at least not doing anything efficiently. We seem our best on our mini-nomadic adventures. Tonight after disembarking at the station we hoofed it over to our local Mexican eatery – tengo un certificado de regalo, then after we ate – a lovely, lovely meal – the three of us ran like ghosts through town (“Nels, keep tu globo from getting tangled en el Ã¡rbol!”), picked up our bikes from my mother’s shop, and winged our way home to await our late-returning Ralph.