Can I see your pass, sir?
No really, I’m having a blast.
What’s that? Could it be a light breaking through the darkness?
My second bus ride this morning was oddly quiet.
It was so unusually quiet that the driver commented to me as I waited to get off, “the bus sure is quiet this morning.” It was a relief. My life has been filled with so much noise lately. It’s been hard to find any peace. I feel unsettled. So unsettled, in fact, that while I’m normally a hard sleeper I find myself tossing and turning in my sleep. Restless. Uneasy. Frustrated. Mad. Disappointed. I’m all these things. So, while listening to the latest podcast of This American Life (a show I have recently become a huge fan of) I noted the quiet and was – if only for a small moment – grateful.
I’ve been riding the bus because about a year and a half ago I decided it would be great (despite a lot of sound advice to the contrary) to finally get a scooter. Well, owning a scooter isn’t the problem. I love riding them. I’ve wanted one every since I was in high school and regularly rode on the backs of my mod friends Vespas. They warned me to get something tried and true like a Vespa P200. “They just run and run.” But I didn’t want a scooter I had to shift. I was nervous about it, I guess. So, like a dumbass, I bought a Chinese scooter. I don’t understand how the Chinese are taking over our country when they can’t make anything that works right. They put poison in food, toxic chemicals in toys and they make scooters that have to be repaired more than the body of a senior citizen. My scooter is in the shop pretty much once a month. It is a huge problem that I am frankly pretty sick of. It leaks oil, it breaks belts (4 or 5 belts). It’s taking years off my life. It’s less than 2 years old and it’s a piece of crap. Well, my car finally died and I donated it to charity. So, when the scooter isn’t running the bus is now my main method of transportation.
For 5 of the 13 years I lived in Seattle I did not own a car. I rode the bus everywhere and it was never a problem. I lived and worked downtown. I was walking distance from the Pike Place market. There was music venues, restaurants and movie theaters galore all within walking distance. These days I live in a suburb north of Nashville and it’s a little more complicated. It takes me 1 and a half to 2 hours to get to work and 2 buses. Since I work the 8-4 shift that means I have to be at my 1st bus stop no later than 6:30am. So, the world’s worst morning person has to get up at the crack of dawn. Thankfully I live relatively near a main line that goes to the main MTA transfer station downtown. Otherwise, I’d pretty much be out of luck.
I’ve been doing pretty good with getting up early the last few months. But this morning I noticed something horrible when my alarm went off. The sun was not coming up yet. It was totally dark out. The seasons are about to change and we’re coming up on the end of daylight savings time or the beginning of it or whatever. I don’t care. All I know is that it’s going to be dark now every morning when I wake up. Super! That’s totally going to help.
For most of my life I considered myself to be an optimist and a problem solver. Despite a laundry list of horrible circumstances that life threw at me in my teens and twenties, I weathered most of it with confidence and positivity. But I’ve noticed a shift over the last 10 years or so. I’m becoming a negative person and I feel defeated. I’ve been battling to lose weight. I’ve been battling health issues that don’t want to go away. I’ve been dealing with work problems that never get better. I’ve been waiting on promises that never seem to be fulfilled. I know that in the grand scheme of everything I’ve got it made. I’ve got so much to be thankful and grateful for. I really do. So, I guess that just makes me a jerk. My trip to Africa earlier this summer magnified just how tiny my problems are. But the high of my post-Africa gratitude has now turned to something awful; self-loathing and depression.
I went to a DVD buy back store this past weekend. I sold about 50 DVD’s for around $95. I was elated. I tried not to think about how much those cost me when I bought them. I tried not to think about where the state of my life is that I am actually excited about selling off my DVD collection.
I built a fence in my yard this year. A couple of the fence posts including one at the gate and one right in the middle of the back stretch are warping. It’s a perfect metaphor for what is going on in my life right now. The fence is serving a purpose. It’s keeping kids and dogs out of our yard.
It’s getting the job done, but it’s not pretty.