Right at the start of the semester, I was thrown into an unfortunate situation. I left my wallet and thus driver's license in Taiwan which was not entirely my fault. Regardless, I have not been able to drive meaning I've had to take public transportation. To make matters worse, I'm living at home this semester, which means what normally is a 10-12 minute drive becomes a 50-minute commute. Yes, FIVE-ZERO (as I've clarified many times to my friends).
Let me give you an idea of my daily morning journey: First, I walk for eight minutes to the bus stop, then ride the bus to the transit center, then walk to the MetroRail stop, then ride the rail for a couple stops, then walk to my first class. It doesn't seem like a ridiculous commute but the waiting times is where it gets you. They're unpredictable. This isn't my first time riding public transportation to school (I did last summer for an internship), but with classes with definite start times, I've learned how inconvenient and difficult using public transportation is.
Now, a little disclaimer: I don't want to come off as a spoiled brat. I completely acknowledge and appreciate my privilege of having a car. I complain but at the same time, I'm accepting it as a humbling experience. I just wanted to share my struggles in a humorous light.
Day 1: The first day of school actually went perfectly smoothly. I left my house at least an hour before my first class at nine o'clock started and even arrived at school with a few minutes to spare. I also noticed when I swiped my card, I had no credit left, oops.
Day 2: I was four minutes late to class. My bus driver also got off the bus and actually got coffee AT A GAS STATION for four minutes. I kid you not. I noticed the bus wasn't moving after two rounds of cars had passed the green light and looked to the front of the bus. No driver. IS THIS EVEN ALLOWED???
Day 3: I walked all the way to the bus stop only to find that I'd left my Metro card at home. I walked back home and at that point it was too late to try to make my first class. Thanks, public transportation, for compromising my education. When I rode the bus later, an elderly woman started reciting something in Spanish very loudly to nobody at all. I've experienced people yelling on public transportation but never anything like this. Seeing the fleeting glances the others took, I clearly wasn't the only uncomfortable one on the bus. At the MetroRail stop, I helped an elderly Hispanic man buy a MetroRail ticket, which was rewarding.
Day 4: I watched the Quickline bus (basically a faster bus since it makes at fewer stops) pass by, which was tragic. Otherwise, uneventful.
Day 5: I watched the bus pass right across the street from me and then waited 10 minutes for the next bus. I was late to class. But I discovered a worthy and productive pastime for the ride and wrote this article.
I only have to continue these daily adventures for another week, but it has been a real challenge waking up an hour an a half before my first class (although who am I kidding, I actually lay in bed for 20 minutes before getting up). I guess, if for nothing else, this experience has allowed me to gain an even greater appreciation of the conveniences I have in life.