by Camela Thompson
My new job is in the heart of Seattle, which means the only sane way to get there is by bus. Parking in Seattle is astronomical (many places top $20 a day) and the traffic sucks. King County public transit isn't the greatest but it certainly isn't the worst and can be downright convenient if you have the right combination of residence locale and destination. We lucked out in the combo lottery and I'm near an express "commuter" line. I call it a commuter line because it only runs during rush hour(s), starts in a residential area, jumps on the freeway, and then exits immediately into the bus tunnel. It's a different demographic than the bus line that travels up the highway I feature in my novels as a place for shady dealings (read: drug dealers and hookers).
The upsides to the commuter express include less urine and people who stare at their books or devices throughout the ride. The majority of riders observe the unspoken rules, which is good because my shift in business hours to rush hour means that more than half the time I'm standing. The seats get taken quickly. We shove ourselves all the way to the back, sometimes cramming two rows down the aisle. As an introvert with mild social anxiety, I find myself ratcheting up to moderate on the anxiety richter scale when I'm staring into a man's armpit (less than fresh after a long day of work) and a woman's purse is firmly pressed into my derriere. There's something about hurtling down the freeway at more than fifty miles-per-hour with nothing stopping you from being ejected from a bus but your grip and a metal pole. It's like high stakes stripper aerobics without the music or the fun.
This is what Mariner's Opening Day looks like for people upstream from
the stadium stop. The line went up the stairs. You should have seen the inside of the bus.
Other than a fear of being freeway decor, the biggest complaint are other passengers who are inconsiderate. There's a gentleman I've had to squeeze next to because his legs are splayed as though he's riding a Clydesdale. Bench seats sometimes result in cuddling because I'm sandwiched between two big guys. But for the most part, these are #FirstWorldProblems. I'm lucky to have an easy and safe way to get to and from work. When I do get a seat, I get more time to read. The best part of my day is when Lance and Annie meet me at my stop in the evening. It's the greatest thing ever.
It's a hike to the bus and to the office, so I've adopted the ugly bus shoe phenomenon (running shoes with business slacks, business shoes stowed in the backpack). I'm still getting used to the new schedule and haven't figured out when I'll get my writing done, but it will come with time. After nine and a half years at my last company, adjusting to being the new person has been a bit difficult. Books have helped me find some new work buddies, but more on that later. All I'll say for now is: Thank goodness for the love of reading.
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.