I suck at public transportation.
It seems that my years living in Cambridge when my “commute” was all of a ten minute shuffle from door-to-door have finally caught up with me.
After years of not giving a rat’s ass about bus schedules…I’m now that guy who gets stuck in traffic on the bus for an hour, or misses the bus altogether, or watches empty buses fly right on by while he stands at the bus stop helplessly trying to flag them down.
Long story short: I’ve got bad bus luck.
As a result of my bad bus luck, I’ve reached a point where I no longer worry about how dumb and dorky I look trying to run down a bus.
When we first moved out of Cambridge, I refused to chase a bus. I was too proud. I’d been spoiled for too long and refused to let the bus have that kind of power over me.
Roughly three months and 10,000 missed buses later, I got over that feeling and turned into just another in the sad, huddled mass of commuters that will frantically check their MBTA app wondering where the bus is every 30 seconds.
I became one of those folks who will sprint for three blocks and end up pounding on the side of a bus as it’s pulling away from a stop, completely unfazed by my pathetic pleas to “open the door, please…please open the door!!”
All of that having been said, when there’s an opportunity to catch a bus, I rarely let it go. This is especially true at the Harvard bus terminal.
You see, My Faithful Readers, that’s because the Harvard bus terminal is some sort of black magic-laden pit of despair where buses have always juuuuuuuuust pulled out of the station when you walk in and they frequently disappear from the tracking app (and physical existence) mere seconds before their projected arrival, never to be seen again.
More specifically, it’s the freakin’ Bermuda Triangle for the 71 bus (aka: my method of transport between my home and Harvard).
As such, when I got off the train at Harvard yesterday and peered through the window separating the train turnstiles and the bus terminal, I saw the 71 sitting there, almost taunting me, and I knew that I’d have to run if I wanted to catch it.
I shuffled through a dense crowd of people, all of whom had seemingly forgotten how to move forward at precisely the same time, and I lumbered down the stairs into the bus terminal, weaving through more statue-like commuters.
I realized there was only one way I was going to make it before the bus took off and I threw caution (and many posted MBTA rules) to the wind.
I slipped past a small blockade of fellow commuters and I ran to catch the bus in the bus lane. This allowed me to avoid the large crowd of peeps waiting for other, obviously-less-important buses.
As my feet hit the pavement and I started to pick up some speed, I noticed that there was already a dude running in the bus lane with the exact same game plan.
Naturally, I took this as a challenge.
I did what any strapping young man (read: out of shape 30-year-old dude) would do. I turned up the volume on my iPod (Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”…obvi) and picked up my pace to show this chump who was boss of this bus lane.
Seconds later, I’d caught up to this dude.
A few steps later and we were in a footrace.
It only lasted mere seconds, just long enough for us to make eye contact. The kind of eye contact that says, “sorry bro…this bus is mine.”
And with that, I blew past him and jumped onto the bus just before they closed up the doors. I then proceeded to plop down in the back seat and fight the urge to vomit and/or simply die from physical exertion.
The moral of the story? Basically, I’m Willie Mays Hayes.