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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Trading Everything #6 Just get on the bus Gus

 Trading everything also means that you may have to rethink your transportation. This might be a steep learning curve.
                                         Just get on the bus Gus
 from the original email

Trouble in Paradise. We have managed to work ourselves into a transportation dilemma. Jan needs to be at work and often has meetings either after school or during the day at other campuses. Gord goes to his Lifestyles program three days a week . He has to be there and be picked up at specific times. Dan works downtown on the weekends but needs be with his friends whenever. I work three days a week but at a schedule which is at odds with everyone else
. Thus we have transportation "issues".

 Being a good Scot of deep pockets and short arms I decided against buying another car. For the first week we tried the cheapest method – walking. I can get to my work in an hour if I keep a brisk pace. I leave in the daylight and if I have to come home in the dark I'm just old and ugly enough that no one bothers me. Jan's walk home, which is also an hour if you know the short cuts, starts at sunset and gets progressively darker. She doesn't have the old and ugly advantage working for her. The first time Jan tried it she also didn't have the shortcuts mastered and ended up walking a mini marathon. So okay, Jan gets the car.
   This would seem to leave the bus as a logical answer to our problem. Approaching this head on I went to the main and only bus depot. I entered the Main Office (not that there were any other office buildings to confuse me) and spoke to what must have been the Main Employee. I asked him for a schedule of the bus routes (no problem as there were a number of photocopied sheets in a rack right in front of me) and a map of the routes.
  Being a good bloke (guy), he began taking maps off of the walls and piecing them together. "I'll make a photocopy for you." Then, "Wait a minute I think I can make a coloured copy for you!" Talk about being made to feel special. I was beginning to wonder if the second customer of the year would also get the red carpet treatment, when he emerged with, " Oh we found a brochure. It's the last one."   The last one – that's still in the "special" category.
  Sitting out on the deck, map unfolded in my lap, tracing with a finger the 305 route to the downtown, I was becoming sensually aware of the sea air mixing with the heady smell of transportation victory. Stop 22, indicated by a large red dot, it seemed, was only a block away. Being a man who now has ample time to check things out, I ambled down to Hume Street to see the actual bus stop first hand. No sense being in a dither and missing it due to lack of preparation. Hume Street is on a steep incline that would make a Sherpa home sick. I huffed up and down this a few times but couldn't find the bus stop. Well no wonder, I had the left the brochure at home and had obviously missed some important detail.
 Fetching the map gave further insight. The red dot #22 as you remember was clearly midway down the hill. So calves and gluteus slamming, down I went. Now there are a bewildering number of potential markers- wooden sticks with plastic ribbons, neighbourhood watch type signs on posts, but nothing that says Bus Stop. Clearly this was another one of those cultural riddles. In need of the oracle I phoned the bus depot directly.
   After a short intro I came straight to the point that being from out of town I had failed to locate the bus stop on Hume Street.   "Oh that would be because we haven't gotten around to putting the markers there yet." Apparently if I wanted to be picked up at a marker, I could go down to the bottom of the hill, turn left, find the entrance to the second street and then cross the road. Simple, but now I would be walking a good ten minutes in the wrong direction.
 "If I wanted to wait on Hume Street where Stop 22 is indicated, is there a house number there that I can stand by?"
"No they actually won't stop on Hume Street. It's too steep. Just go to the top of the hill and wait round the corner on Becker Rd."
"Is there a bus stop marked there?"
"Is there a house number that I should be standing in front of?"
"No, just wait round the corner."
 Just where "round the corner" is or what gestures are required to convince the driver that I am a worthy candidate for pickup was not explained. Closer examination of the map route showed the 305 buses travelling along Head Street and crossing Macintosh. This would be a much more direct method than the currently legal route. Maybe they just give the cops a special wave or figure that nobody is going to argue with a bus heading the wrong way on a one-way street.
  In the entire process I had neglected to ask about fares. Not sure if I'm up for another round of this. Maybe I'll just walk.

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