If the bus stops at Wabasha at all, it’s typically so quick we hardly notice. Today, three senior types are at the curb. Through the low rumble of the hybrid bus engine, we hear a woman’s British accent asking, “Is this the bus that goes to…” Time for me to take a deep breath. There will be no hurrying to the Eighth Wonder of the World: The Mall of America. A man boards first, but he doesn’t have bus fare in hand. We wait as his wife comes up the steps behind him and inquires as to the amount of fare for two. We further wait as she rustles through her purse for three dollars and fifty cents. They make their way to the back of the bus as the third in their party boards and asks about a day rate. “So, I can ride either a bus or train, anywhere at all, for the entire day for six bucks? Brilliant!”
A young lady seated in front, looks back to smile at me knowingly. I smile in return. We are amused by the woman who then, ever so tediously, feeds each of her six US dollars into the hopper. I estimate that the tourists have added two minutes to my commute.
“Get out of my seat!” The girl with a green bouncy ball kicks her little brother off the outside chair with both feet. He frowns, but appears to be used to this behavior. Mom scoops him up and scolds the sister, who ignores the scolding, but immediately starts crying loudly that she wants to go to Subway. We couldn’t help but breathe a collective sigh of relief when mom yanked them off the bus at the very next stop…presumably to go back to Subway.
16 kindergartners file on with their three adult chaperones. (Remember More Row? Same kindergarten class) This adds another minute to my commute. A young lady chaperone sets a boy in the seat beside me..giving him lengthy instructions on staying still, leaning back, not kicking the seat in front of him, etc. It’s too much information for a kid who is all excited about taking a bus to the nursing home. He looks up at me with a wide grin across his pudgy face and says, a bit too loud, “Hi!” I smile in return, and reciprocate with a bit too loud of a “Hi! How are you?”
“I don’ know,” he shrugs.
The kids file off at Saint Paul Avenue and add another minute to my commute.
“I can’t even get to Sydney Street in Glasgow for six bucks!”
“What was six bucks?”
“I got a day pass. I can take any train or bus for the whole day.”
“That’s wonderful, then!”
“Yes..now just watch me lose it!”
The three of them laugh.
“Do they have passes for the week?”
“What do I care…I won’t be here for a whole week.”
I drop off my bag and swipe in at 10:32.