Today I decided to meet a friend for a late lunch. Joel was at work with the car but it wasn’t a big deal because I prefer taking public transit to driving when parking is involved. I never used to understand people who lived in the city and didn’t own cars. However, after one too many times of driving round and round several blocks and not finding a spot to park I have begun to understand.
Anyway, I feel like a bit of an old pro when it comes to the trains, especially the red line but today was my first time using the bus system. On CTA’s website there is a nifty little trip planner. You type in address A, address B, the date and what time you’d like to arrive and it will show you just when you need to leave to get where you need to go. Today I was headed to The Pasta Bowl at 2434 N Clark St. According to my trip plan I needed to leave my house at 1:14pm, walk four minutes and catch bus 36 at 1:18pm and that bus would drop me at my final destination thirty four minutes later. No big deal…
Unfortunately, I left my house at 1:15pm which only gave me three minutes. But it was ok because I decided I could jog a little and make up that extra minute. In my hurry I jogged about a block out of my way and had to back track. I got to Broadway at exactly 1:19pm and saw my bus stopped at a stoplight about a block from my stop. There was no way I was going to miss it since I could see it right in front of me, so I broke into a dead run down the block. I got to the stop just as it was stopping… except I was on the wrong side of the street. I thought for all of a split second before I decided catching this bus was worth risking my life and darted into traffic Frogger-style. Seriously. *rolls eyes* I made that darn bus though.
I got on and the driver was laughing at me. I guess he saw my idiotic move plus I was gasping for air like an eighty year old cardiac patient. *note to self: work out more* I sat back and tried to breathe, extremely proud of my death defying skills. I knew I had about a half an hour but I still kept one eye on each stop so I was sure not to miss mine. About ten or fifteen minutes later my bus pulled into a parking lot, and everyone, including the driver got off. I sat there for a second rather confused because I was sure I hadn’t seen my stop yet. A sweet little hispanic lady told me in broken English that this was “last stop. Everyone get off. You catch another bus?” Yeah, I guess I was going to. I had a small hope that maybe I was remembering the name of the stop wrong and this was it, until I saw an address. I was at 6400 N Clark, almost exactly four hundred blocks north of where I was supposed to be. In my ridiculous haste to catch that stupid bus I failed to notice it was going to wrong way. Ugh.
I wandered down to a stop for bus 22 which was another option to get me there. I waited for a minute and then I saw another 36 bus going down the road and around the corner. I made another mad dash but this time I used crosswalks, and it pulled away just as I got to the stop. I turned around and saw a number 22 bus pulling away from the stop I had just been at. Good grief. At this point it was freezing cold and was beginning to rain a little. I sat down on the bench and seriously considered canceling on my lunch date. Luckily, she was running behind as well so I decided not to let a couple of buses get the better of me.
I walked back over to number 22’s stop and finally managed to get on a bus without any running at all. I wanted to make sure I got where I was going this time so I pulled out my fancy iPhone and entered the address into the GPS so I could follow my progress. Have I ever mentioned that I love my phone but it is not perfect? I got off the bus when it said I had arrived at my address and it didn’t take me more than a quick look at the building I was in front of to realize I was at 3700 Clark, not 2400. I double checked, yes I entered it in correctly. I guess my phone decided I hadn’t had enough exercise for the day. I was too frustrated to just stand there so I walked several blocks before I picked up another number 22 bus and took it the last hundred blocks or so. You better believe I tripple checked I was at the right stop before I got off that bus.
Lunch was delicious though and totally worth almost dying for. Ok, maybe not quite that good but I really enjoyed the food and the company. We got a really good laugh out of my story over lunch and my friend even offered to give me a ride home, which I gladly accepted. So I guess with me things are rarely simple but they certainly make better stories that way. *smile*