Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Won't You be my Neighbor

For the first time since getting my driver’s license, I’ve had to live without having easy access to a vehicle. For me, moving out to Seattle last fall meant I would have to be without my car. Until now, I’ve always lived in an area with at best, unreliable public transportation. For the last seven months, I’ve commuted almost entirely by foot, bike, or bus.

At first, I was a little nervous about taking the bus. I have a terrible sense of direction and bus routes were not exactly intuitive for me. However, when it’s the only way to get around, you learn quickly. Right now, I’d hardly call myself even an amateur, but I’ve certainly learned the routes that get me to the main spots.

For the most part, I don’t mind taking the bus. Instead of cursing my way through traffic, I can get on the bus, read a book, listen to music, or watch the scenery. I still get frustrated by longer commutes, late buses, or inconvenient transfers. However, a few weeks ago, I had a bus ride that far outweighed all the cons I’ve stacked up for taking the bus.

I was leaving the Olympic Sculpture Park and heading up the hill to the bus stop. Another woman was right behind me, as we both approached the stop to read the schedule for the next stop. She looked at me and asked if we were looking at the same schedule. We were and she asked me where I was headed. We continued talking and realized that we only lived a block from each other. I’m embarrassed to say, that I hadn’t met that many people in my neighborhood. We continued chatting, and the bus (which was very late after getting caught up with the Mariner’s crowd) showed up in what seemed like no time at all.

Perhaps, it’s an odd way to meet my neighbors, but it makes perfect sense. Taking the bus not only reduces our carbon footprint, but can build community at the same time. My neighbor and I got off at the same stop and continued talking on our walk home from the bus stop. She told me about her children and I told her about Earth Ministry. Not only did I meet one of my neighbors, it was one of the quickest bus trips I’ve ever had.

1 comment:

deanna said...

Thanks, Kaitlin, for reminding us of this little known truth. My best bus community story is that I met my best friend on a bus. We were just acquaintances then, but I believe that the hand of God put the two of us each on a different bus than we usually took. We recognized each other immediately and had a conversation that changed both of our lives for the best! Though we'd crossed paths before at various church events, we never had the chance to connect the way we did on that bus ride to work.