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(004). Learning on the ride[sic].

Public transportation takes on a life of its own over here in the DMV area (who knew that meant more than just Department of Motor Vehicles?).

Overall, my experiences with buses and metros have been relatively pleasant, but I’m going to take you on a journey in case you don’t believe me.

Metro life is simple.

You get on the bus, find a seat, and get off when your stop eventually rolls around. Sometime during the trip you get used to the odor that often permeates the confines of the vehicle, other times you’re sitting behind the cause of said odor. It’s an experience few will forget, but there are even times when the transportation is pleasantly void of all pungent scents. Those are the times that you’ll look forward to, and you’ll cherish them in a way you never thought you could.

The times that are not in the aforementioned category tend to fall somewhere along the lines of bad, but they haven’t yet been horrendous enough to force you to search out other methods. Or maybe the above would cause you to quit using public transit as your main method; in that case, maybe you want to stop this journey right now.

Occasionally your bus might be over 20 minutes late without any notifications or alerts to speak of. They’re rarely on time, just know that before jumping in.

Every so often you might get on an empty bus, only for the driver to yell at you as you head to your seat. And no, he’s not yelling because you’re not supposed to board, he is yelling because he is wondering about the credibility of the restaurant across the street. After informing him three times that you’ve never been, his voice falls to normal human decibels as he tells you he has heard good things. That, of course, may prompt you to bite your tongue against questioning him why he is asking for references if he already had them. Instead you nod, put in your headphones and hope for a normal experience throughout the remainder of your travels. That’s usually too much to ask for, especially when that same bus driver, during the same trip, stays at an intersection for longer than necessary to question the scoreboard at a high school football game. He wants to know if 3 to 42 is correct, and you just want to go home; to each their own, I guess.

Other times you might end up with a new bus driver who is asking the passengers which stops she is supposed to make, and even after a kind patron explains verbatim where to head next, you somehow end up at a metro station way north of where you needed to be. With 25 minutes left to get to work, you bail and sprint to a different bus where you hope things go more smoothly. Thankfully, you make it to work with 5 minutes to spare, trying not to think about the fact that you had planned on getting there 30 minutes early to work on your assignments.

Some rides will be cramped to the point where you’re forced to stand, stifling the urge to apologize profusely because if your butt isn’t in someone else’s face then your shoulder keeps ramming into someone’s chest and you have a personal bubble for a reason.

There are many aspects that one can glean from even the shortest of trips. Like the fact that sometimes the metro will make you get off on a stop five away from where you were going because they had some sort of threat that they will not disclose at that time.

That concludes the journey thus far, but I’m sure I’ll have more experiences to share down the road.

Overall, the most important lesson would have to be: Leave way earlier than you think you need to, because more than likely something isn’t going to go according to plan.

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