I catch the bus to the subway in the morning. Sometimes it’s still dark when I leave home before 7:00. This past week, I’ve taken to catching the bus home in the evenings as well (what’s the point of everyone schlepping back out just to get me once they’re already inside and warm)? Of course, though, the darkness of night is quite different from that in the morning where it’s getting lighter. The dark of night is just getting darker. I don’t like it. Apparently, neither does my 10-year-old.

She commented the other day that she no longer wanted me to walk from the subway or the bus stop. “You never know what can happen, Mommy” and then she made a sort of, kind of, not quite scared face. On Monday I missed the bus (the bus left early; when I arrived it still had two minutes left before it was due to depart but it was already exiting as my train approached (insert angry face here). I was in a rather determined, I can fend for myself mood, so I blew off protests of “Do you really think that’s smart?” and walked. It took 40 minutes and I was really moving! My toes were numb. My fingers stiff. I thought if I touched my nose it might just break and fall into my scarf. On Tuesday I rushed from work only to arrive at the station too early (insert me rolling my eyes here). On Wednesday when I phoned home to say I would once again ride the bus, she answered and said, “No.” I said OK.

Whether it is morning or evening, I prefer to ride the F14. The W4 makes me cringe. It’s always crowded, filled with boisterous women and men who stare and call you Sweet Thang while patting the seat beside them, smiling. Toothless. Um, no thanks. And that bus stops on every block, there’s traffic along the route, and it takes 25 minutes compared to the F14’s seven. Granted the W4 puts me at a station closer to work and I therefore pay less, it’s just not worth it. Two situations this week brought my seemingly random bus route distaste home.

First, on Tuesday I sat sandwiched between a woman who was explaining to a child who was perhaps 9, that she needed to “beat the shit out them bitches they fuck with you again. You see that big one ain’t say shit when I was sitting there. And I dared that bitch. Give me some more Sweet Tarts.”

Next, yesterday, the bus had apparently arrived early to one of the busier stops, so the driver sat a few minutes. A few minutes turned into several. When one passenger turned toward her, the driver snapped at her “I know what I’m doing!” The woman hadn’t even said anything. The passenger said, “I just wanted to know when we’re leaving.”

“It ain’t time to go yet.”

“Can you tell me when it will be?”

“When it’s time to go.”

The passenger got off the bus. It was so disturbing. What had the woman done? Had the driver had a bad morning? Was she tired? Had someone been rude to her earlier and that woman was just an unfortunate recipient of residual anger? Regardless, she didn’t stop there.

Apparently, fares recently increased. A young man got on and inserted the incorrect fare. The driver told him he needed more money. He explained he was unaware of the increase. She said, “Next time stay home.”

A teen girl made the same mistake. The driver said, “Is it my fault you can’t count?”

The bus was too crowded for me to make my way out of the front when I got off but I’d wanted to tell the driver that I thought her comments and rude behavior that morning uncalled for. Instead, I filed a complaint with Metro. Needless to say, I avoided the W4 today.

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