So, it’s like five million degrees out, and it has taken me not an insignificant amount of time to get ready in what I think will be an outfit that might make it till 930a without sweat stains. I even don my new hat, which is way too fantabulous for Adams Morgan, btw. I totter out to the bus stop, a vision of cool in the summer heat.
Twenty minutes later, I am still standing there, waiting for the dratted 42 bus to Metro Center. People are now lined up at the stop three deep, and my cool is beginning to fade. Two, then three busses pass. None are mine. Finally, saints be praised! My bus is on the horizon! Fingering my fare card, now damp with sweat, I await the bus. Which, half full, sweeps by our stop without even slowing down, even as several people wave their arms (and me my hat) like it was the last helicopter out of Vietnam. Now I’m mad. I run at a good clip towards the next stop, fairly fast considering I’m wearing shoes not meant for running, arms akimbo, screaming for someone up there to tell that jerk to wait.
I make it. I call the driver a name which doesn’t match the outfit I am wearing, and climb onto the bus, a disheveled pile of sweaty, cranky, jangly nerves. I sit down to catch my breath and ask the driver why he didn’t stop. He doesn’t answer. I say I won’t pay. He shuts down the bus and turns the air conditioner off and says he won’t move until I pay $1.25. I’m ready to hunker down, but see the blank faces of fellow passengers start turning ever so slightly hostile. I see no one will back me up on this. I grumpily hand over my fare, but call the Metro line to lodge a complaint (202.637.7000)–within earshot of the bus driver, of course. Will it do any good? Unlikely. But it only furthers my resolve to do a series for this blog on this city’s bus drivers…the stories behind the wheel, so to speak. Maybe I’ll end up retrieving the empathy for them that I had when I left my apartment this morning.