Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Adventure Day 40 Part 1 - #5 & Attempted to complete #25

#5 – Take the bus downtown alone

I’ve been on a city bus before. Actually I took one everyday to school once we moved here, and even to work if I had to. But going down town and stopping somewhere unfamiliar and trying to find a way back on again and perhaps even a transfer to another scared me. Yes I am poultry ok, I’ll admit it. This was also an item that Wally was afraid for me to do, however he is overprotective so it doesn’t’ carry a lot of weight in the grand scheme of things. Anyway I’d left it to the end for a reason: I was avoiding it. But no more! It was day 40 and I was going to take a bus downtown AND get my passport all at the same time – now that’s adventure ladies and gents!

I woke up early and completely unprepared for a day with little sleep. I pushed myself to go out and catch the bus for 8 am – I was determined. I only needed to take a tiny walk to get to the bus that would lead me down town, a little different than the one I’m used to. My usual bus is a brisk five to seven minute walk, and the route is simply: up the street, down the street, up the street, and so on. If you get lost doing that you have big problems.

As I waited I noticed a different demographic in my midst. There were a lot more older and middle aged and working people than on my college route. I was a lucky gal that day because as I boarded I spotted a place to sit for my ride – yay! I settled in comfortably and began to observe. I’m not sure if anyone else out there does this but I ALWAYS do – watch people. It’s actually a fun activity to do while being taken to your destination. I look at their clothes and wonder what they do for a living, or if they do anything at all. I watch their facial expressions to see how they react to the world around them. I take note of what they fill their bus trip with: listening to music, singing music, or just musing quietly to themselves. You have time, why not speculate what people are really like under their perfect bus demeanor? (I know Wally would want to kill me for sharing this but I promised to be honest here). I actually wonder what people on the bus are like in their most intimate moments. Not in a dirty way (well mostly not), but really, sometimes it’s so weird to see people act so robotic on the bus and think that they are actually people when they get off the bus with families and friends (lovas).

This day was no different for me. I saw a middle aged woman who was perfectly dressed for work (I’m assuming). She wore a nice crisp white blouse and red shorts (well she had some article of clothing that was red, maybe it was her purse), anyhow she was ‘altogether’ looking, except that the buttons on her blouse were too far apart and it was sitting so that there were gaping holes which ended up showing her undergarments. I wanted desperately to tell her, but this woman looked so serious and business like that I was not about to say a peep to her. Instead I spent the entire time trying to avoid looking at the ‘train wreck’ – why is it so hard not to look?!

At another point there was a young man in his twenties with ear buds in and playing very loudly (I could hear his music from across the bus). He was seemingly oblivious to anyone else remotely surrounding him; he was rather entertaining to watch. Not because I could hear his music through his ear buds, but because of the dramatic performance he was putting on with his air drumming and mumble humming that loudly accompanied his ear bud music. He had no shame, I sort of wish he had just a little. His moves sort of reminded me of Stevie Wonder – except that I like Stevie Wonder.

Overall it only really took me maybe 8 minutes to reach my stop. I had no idea downtown was so close and this bus was so accessible, and that I could observe so many interesting people in such a short period of time - what a great discovery! I need to remember when my car is in use or out of commission that the transit system is always an option. It even adds a new dimension of free entertainment too!

#25 – Get my passport

Once I got off the bus I headed down (or up, who’s to say?) the street in the presumed direction of the passport office. I was on the look out for even numbers, 400 to be precise. Actually the building was supposed to be down two blocks from the bus stop and to my left exactly. I shouldn’t have had to even look for a number really. I’d been there before (or so I thought) and knew what I was looking for (or so I thought), I figured it shouldn’t be that difficult to find (once again, or so I thought).

Once I walked the two blocks I decided I would cross the street in the direction I thought the building would be (since it wasn’t clearly where the map said it would be). I started towards one direction and walked. And walked. First I passed a parking lot of the city newspaper, so that’s where it lived? Hmmmmm, interesting. Then I walked some more. Oh, I found the organization I wanted to tour that helped the homeless – note to self. Then I continued to walk and found … nothing. At least nothing familiar to me. I decided to cross the street and walk the direction I came from (the crossing of the street was do to the many homeless types that were loitering in front of the building of the organization I had researched – I have a long way to go ok). Anyways I went down at least 3 or 4 city blocks (felt like a hundred in the wooden, not-for-walking flip flops I had on), past the convention centre, and several high end hotels, I was really finding a lot down town, fascinating.

Finally I spotted the familiar location I was looking for. I had to cross back over to the other side of the street but at this point I didn’t care I just wanted to get into the line up. I was actually right on time for them opening up – woo hoo! I made it. Or so I thought…

I got onto an elevator that took me to my floor and I got off to be greeted by a sign on my desired location that said “Passport offices have moved to 700 Far Away St.” (I got the ‘sorry about your luck’ vibe from it too). At this point I was exasperated and exhausted. Not to mention frustrated and ready to kill. Sleep deprivation and blisters can do that to you. Don’t forget the impending threats of rain that clung in the air. At this point I had to make a crucial decision: Do I go back down the street a few more blocks and risk potentially killing an innocent by stander if I couldn’t find the office? Or should I give up for this day and try another time when I was better rested to deal with uncertainty?

On another day with more sleep in me (and better shoes on me) I would’ve stuck it out, but this day I was wiser. I decided that taking the bus was a good enough accomplishment and I would hold this strike against me on my forty day excursion. This was all about living not going to jail for murder over a passport (seriously, when I don’t sleep I’m a crazy woman). I threw in the towel and headed back to the bus stop to see if I could grab a nap before any other outings that day.

**End note: One week later I did in fact locate and enter the passport office and it took all of ten minutes for me to complete. I was proud that I’d finally gotten it done and now I am waiting for my passport to arrive. Can’t wait to decide where I’ll travel to first! **


S. said...

Yay! It's a big deal getting your passport! Opens up a whole world of possibilities! I'm glad it was on your list.

Zoe said...

Might I recommend a sunny location on the Gulf of Mexico as your first stop? =)