Monday, March 12, 2012

The Wheels on the Bus

I will be one of the first to admit we do some pretty random things. I try to stay really current on everything going on around Nashville so we can sample the city as much as possible, which is exactly why we moved out of the suburbs and to downtown several years ago. Pretty much every week I have someone messaging me and asking for restaurant recommendations or for things to do with their kiddos. But our Friday night activity has got to be one of our weirdest to date.

One night last week while I was cleaning up the kitchen I heard the mayor on the news talking about "Fareless Friday". To encourage Nashvillians to try public transportation, bus fares would be waived all day and you could ride as many times as you like. Lilli LOVES buses, and is always wanting to ride the bus. They come within a block of our house, and there's been many a fit about us NOT riding them. So, we did some research and tried to figure out a route from our house to go out to dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. The challenge came in in how to just get the route to cross over instead of going up and down streets, and I was pretty set on having dinner at Calypso Cafe. The routes provided by Google maps still had us walking half a mile and only riding the bus for two blocks, which seemed totally pointless. BUT, in looking at the bus route closest to us, we noticed it came right past our house, went up through Inglewood, and then turned and came back right by our house. So we decided to just hop on, ride a loop, get off the bus, and get in our car and drive to dinner. Pathetic, but true.So our clever, college educated and professionally certified minds spent at least half an hour sorting this all out, then headed down the block to wait for the bus after checking what times it comes through various points. There's actually not a bus stop sign on our corner, but we've seen people hop on so we figured we'd just flag it down since it has to stop there anyway. Of course once we stood there waiting and waiting we realized we'd been looking at the 5:30 am times, not pm. Geniouses. So we waited and waited and ended up waiting just over twenty minutes before the bus came. In this time we realized how many people just stare at people waiting to ride the bus. Craziness. We did have one car load roll down their windows and ask where I got Lilli's skirt. HA! She is always so fashionable. When it finally got there, we hopped on and it was SO full we ended up sitting near the front. In addition to the driver, there was another employee riding (I guess an assistant to help keep the peace) and he asked us something about where we were getting off. So, I told him we were just taking a ride for a loop since it was free day. When we said that we got "the look" from a LOT of people on the bus - people who obviously were taking the bus because they can't afford cars. Thank goodness it was packed because otherwise I think a few people might have killed us. But then it got worse because he called out for the driver to stop the bus - so at this point the ENTIRE bus is staring at us and wanting to kill us. He explained this was their last trip of the day and they were headed back to the garage, so we wouldn't be able to ride a loop. I don't think he was all that familiar with the route because I explained it comes back down on the other side of the street and that's where we were planning to get off. The driver confirmed that and we were off again. Thank goodness because we would have died of embarrassment if we got kicked off after just a block.
Lilli had such a blast riding the bus, watching all our familiar places we go buzz by. She kept saying he was going fast and squealing a lot. And since everyone else was getting off on the stops as we headed through the neighborhood it wasn't long before we totally had the bus to ourselves. The workers warmed up to us because she was enjoying it so much and said it had been a crazy day and every bus had been packed all day.
After about twenty minutes they dropped us off on our corner and the bus headed back to the Garage. Lilli had SUCH a good time and said she couldn't wait to tell her teachers on Monday, ha! And then the rest of the weekend every time we saw the Shelby/Porter bus we told her that was "our" bus. Because we have two cars and parking is so easy and typically free to come by in Nashville we've never ridden the bus here - which is just crazy because when we travel we always take public transportation. But truly, it's not that economical for me - I work three miles from home and bus fare would cost me $3.40 per day. I know I don't spend that much per day in gas!
Of course Lilli is already wanting to ride it again! Next time we'll be a lot more prepared and actually figure out how to take the bus from Point A to Point B without somehow still having to get in our car. Pitiful.
It's March Madness time! Guess who Lilli is cheering for???

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