I had a dental appointment yesterday down at the medical center. And because there is still so much to get ready for the rodeo I told Doug if he’d take me there I’d take Metro to get home so he wouldn’t have to wait for me. Other than commuters who use the various park and ride lots on the outskirts of the city then take the bus downtown to work, most Houstonians just don’t use mass transit. It’s somewhat of an alien concept; at least to those of us who were raised here.
I actually once dated a guy from Boston who didn’t get his drivers license til he was 30. He said he just never needed a car til he was moving to Texas. I remember thinking that seemed so odd to me.
So knowing that I was going to be traveling with the huddled masses I went to the Metro site yesterday to use their trip planner. I wanted to be prepared. According to their computer there was no way to get home from there. Knowing that was wrong (I knew I could at least get within about 5 mi.) I called back to speak to a human. Anthony at Metro was actually very helpful and gave me all the information I needed.
I’d been lulled into a false sense of preparedness.
At 5 pm I walked from the dentist to the train, bought my ticket, and made it without incident. After the train I had to change to a bus. I was ready. I had cash in hand when I boarded the bus and went to put the money in the money box thingy by the driver.
He stopped me.
“Where’s your Q card?” he asked. I’m sure I looked like the RCA dog with my head tilted as he repeated the question. “Where’s your Q card?” By the time he repeated the question a second time there were 10 people lined up behind me all anxious to get home. By this time it was about 5:30, prime time for commuters.
“Just sit down.” he said with resignation. And I did, as fast as I could which happened to be in the first seat. As I sat there putting the cash back into my purse, all the people who’d been standing behind me boarded the bus flashed their Q cards and looked at me like I should be riding on the ” short bus”. I got the same look from the people on 5the bus who’d been witness to my shame.
I felt like everyone else was a member of a secret club; one to which I was not a member. They all had their secret decoder rings.
A woman in the seat behind mine took pity on me and explained the Q card, something Anthony at Metro had completely omitted telling me about, that bastard.
I rode the rest of the way quietly not wanting to draw any more attention to myself. We got to the final stop, the doors opened and I just sat there. Since I’d taken 2 Benedryl before the dentist and still had a boatload of lidocaine in my mouth, I planned to exit the bus last, so if somehow I made a fool of myself exiting the bus like I did entering it no one would see.
Everyone lined up to exit the bus and stood there for about 90 seconds not saying a thing. Then they started filing by me giving me the same condescending look I’d gotten when I got on the damn bus.
WTF?? What could I possibly have I done now?
When everyone else was off the bus, the bus driver looked at me and said “You were supposed to get off first.” as he pointed to a sign which said the first seat was reserved for people with disabilities. I’d been in such a hurry to sit down I hadn’t even noticed.
I probably reminded them of Kramer.
Check out the clip from about 2:13 onward. Sorry you’ve got to click on the link. The embedding was disabled.
And no, I’m not making fun of anyone but myself. Remember that after Brett’s stroke he was in resource classes for years.