01 April 2007

the bus is late

I have, at different times and in different countries, relied on public transportation to get around. There are great benefits. I really like riding on trains and tubes/subways/metros. Buses that are clean and frequent make life easy. I love not having the responsibility of a car. There are no oil changes, no dodgy mechanics and no insurance premiums. When the public transport is good, it's great!

When public transportation is unreliable, it's less than great. It's actually pretty stressful, especially for a clock-watcher like me. I am a very punctual person.

What's it like waiting for the bus? You show up five to seven minutes before it's scheduled. For those few minutes, it's easy to wait. You chat about the weather. You read your book. You sing or tap dance if there's no one else there.

The time comes for the bus to arrive and you start to watch for it. You pack up your book, check that you have your fare or your pass and start looking for the bus to round the corner.

When the appointed time passes, you get edgy. You check your watch, double-check the timetable, deride the timeliness of buses on this route with the other waiters, and keep watching for the bus. Your eyes are focused in the distance, willing the bus to materialize. It's as if you can conjure it up if you just watch hard enough. But, just like a watched pot never boils, a watched-for bus never seems to come. Yet, you can't help watching.

The bus that goes in the opposite direction passes you by and you start to worry. Yours was meant to come first. What might be holding it up? Accident? Mechanical problems? Driver didn't show? Can you still make it on time? You check your watch and try to breathe easy. You realize that you're getting tense. Your neck, your jaw, your shoulders all are tense as you wait and watch.

You start playing games with yourself--counting the cars that pass. Surely your bus will come after 5 cars or 10 or 20. You start to calculate the time until the bus after yours is due. If it's less than half the time between buses, yours might still come. You wonder if there is time to run up to the top of the street and catch the other bus that goes close to your stop instead. You weigh the bags you're carrying and calculate the distance you have to go and the time that bus is due. And all the while your eyes never stray from the corner where your bus will round into sight.

This is the best way I can describe how I'm feeling as I wait. It's just like waiting for a bus that is late. I'm alert and watching and a little tense. My mind is racing and I'm constantly revising my mental time-frame. If I knew when accreditation would arrive, I could relax and chat to the others at the bus stop. Instead, I'm hyper-vigilant. It's tiring. (In this analogy my agency would be the broken display that is supposed to tell you how long it is until the next bus comes, but is inevitably wrong.)

Sometimes you miss the bus. Sometimes they skip one out. (Stupid buses in Kent!) But, in my experience, if you wait long enough, you'll catch one. It might not be the bus you thought you'd take. You might be incredibly late. But, you will get there in the end.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Kate,

This is Maialen from Spain. I liked the analogy of the bus stop waiting. It's true, you'll get there even if the bus arrives late.
Motherhood requires patience and you're doing great, so better enjoy the journey and start chatting with other passengers.
The time you meet your daughter/s everything will have a meaning and the timing will be perfect.

I wish you all the best.

melissag said...

Excellent analogy!

I am one of the people waiting at the bus stop with you. I am confident we will get there, it just won't be as quickly or as smoothly as we would like.

votemom said...

yep i'm at the bus stop with the clenched jaw.


ow.

votemom said...

and no, my house isn't really infested. well, to some extent probably, based on the washing instructions for bedding. i don't wash bedding in super hot water, so i'm clearly not killing the critters.

one more thing to clench my jaw about.

Maggie said...

Perfect analogy.

Christen & Frank said...

great post :)

Hi, I'm Christen. Just found your blog. My DH and I are just starting to research agencies with a little help from some bloggerland friends (Lauren, mostly). Our blog is http://ellisfamily.blogsome.com

Nice to "meet" you.

A Special Family said...

Hey Kate!!
I must email you soon. I didn't get an email re the reveal (in your last post you mentioned you emailed us?). Maybe it's in the junk folder, but it shouldn't be...

Must chat soon. Phone line is still acting up, did you ever have to deal with the well known British phone company?! ?! Well...my last month hasn't been to pleasant due to them!

Hope you are well. I really hope the bus/train/plane/tram arrives soon dear friend.

I take it from the comment on Carrie's blog you too are looking for a camera. Any recommendations?

Esther said...

When you say "Stupid buses in Kent", would that be Kent, WA? I just realized I never thought to ask you what state you are from back here in the USA....

mommyto5 said...

What a great analogy Kate! So true although doesn't make the wait too much easier does it? Prayers to you my friend! There is a light at the end of the tunnel,keep the faith:)

:: Suzanne :: said...

What a great analogy. I don't miss those bus stop days at all.

Your bus will come.

Thank you so much for participating in our Adoption Roundup.

:: Suzanne :: said...

Just wanted to let you know that the Adoption BlogPost RoundUp round-up is up!