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My Wagon Is Welcome In My New Home!


R. S. Martin
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Some of you may know that I've been obligated to find another place to live due to major incompatibilities over the past year with the person in whose house I had been renting a few rooms. Earlier this month--er, last month (I think we're into October today)--was The Day. I'm still getting to know my new neighbourhood.

 

I use a little red wagon (the type our generation used to play with when we were little but you can't buy anymore) to get my groceries and to cart around other things that are too big to carry. I don't drive due to low vision.

 

In the other place I lived (in another part of the city altogether), bus drivers didn't like it too well when I took my wagon onto the bus. Since the grocery store was only a ten minute walk from my place back there, I seldom needed to take it onto the bus. When I had to take my computer in for service or when I had to get a new vacuum cleaner, or something like that, I just did what I had to do and let the bus drivers do their thing. Their problem with the wagon was that it had no breaks. That is a legitimate safety concern, but I held onto it and things worked out just fine.

 

Yesterday, I took my wagon onto the bus here in this new neighbourhood to go do shopping and other errands. We have mostly low-floor buses (suitable for wheelchairs) here in town but there are still a few old buses with steps. I wasn't sure what runs in this neighbourhood but I figured I could get the empty wagon up steps if need be, and I could pull it home after I got the groceries if I had to. It's no more than a fifteen or twenty minute walk.

 

There were several others at the bus stop so I waited to get on the bus last because of my wagon. I expected nothing but a grim welcome from the driver so I did what I had to do to get the thing on-board the quickest way possible. Drivers don't like to be held up for no good reason. It was a low-floor bus so I folded the handle back, lifted the back end of the wagon, and pushed it onto the bus as fast as I could.The thing is made of light metal so it clattered and clanged.

 

"Are you alright?" the driver asked with warm concern in his voice.

 

I was dumb-founded. Where was the grim forbearance I had learned to expect from drivers when I boarded with my little red wagon? I assured him that I was okay but I could not figure out the reason for his question or concern.

 

After I had done all my business and bought my groceries, I looked for a bus stop. Finally I found one a block or two down the street. I had no idea when the next bus would run so I took out my time table to try and figure it out. At times like this my horrible math really comes to the fore; I have missed buses because of it.

 

I was parked with my load of groceries in front of a convenience store.There were plants and stuff outside the store. It was late afternoon and the manager was moving stuff into a shed. Just as I figured out that I had to wait about twenty minutes, and decided I might as well walk home than wait on such a chilly day, I heard the air breaks of a bus pulling to a stop right next to me.

 

Startled, I looked up and quickly arranged to move my stuff onto the bus. I pulled the wagon by the handle but it wasn't quite coming over the gap between the sidewalk and the lowfloor of the bus. Then the guy from the convenience store came along and lifted the back end. What a nice guy! (This downtown part of the city was supposed to be rather scrubby.:wub:)

 

Then I heard the driver speaking. "I thought I'd seen everything but I've never seen this!"

 

I looked around to see what he might be talking about, only to realize he meant my little red wagon full of groceries. He may have meant the large chrysanthemum plant in full bloom that I'd set on the back but I think he meant the entire contraption. I said I'd been doing it for years but not in this part of town.

 

"You've never been on my bus," he said. His tone of voice gave me the distinct impression that by choosing his bus for such a novelty I had made his day.

 

Wow! This was just like the first bus driver and I realized that in this part of town my wagon was welcome!

 

How's that for a different twist on the "welcome wagon"?

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Thank you for the comments.

 

Phanta, I also have what I call a shopping cart. I think it's similar to your canvas bag on wheels but probably a bit sturdier. They are available in Home Hardware stores around here--possibly also at Canadian Tire. The frame is light metal. Here I found a black and white picture.

 

The ad is for a liner. I made my own liner of cloth before I knew you could buy them but I've seen other ladies on the bus with store-bought liners in their carts. The store-bought liners are water-resistant and have a cover or lid, very important features for this part of the country where wet precipitation (rain--liquid or freezing, or wet snow) is expected but unpredictable every month of the year.

 

I started using my wagon more when the shopping cart broke a wheel. I guess I loaded it too heavy. I like to buy at least one week's worth of supplies when I'm at it. :o

 

Your transit service sounds kinda neat. You must live in a smaller town than I do--I don't see how it would work here if bus drivers adjusted schedules to suit certain customers. I assume that if I have an appointment in a certain part of town, I can look at the bus schedule and plan my trip according to it in order to arrive on time.

 

We have a bus on the main street that runs the length of the city (three cities grown into each other, actually). Then we have a LOT of buses serving neighbourhoods east and west of main street. All of these buses connect with main street. In addition to the three main urban centres, the system also serves a few outlying rural areas. I'm not sure of the population of this area but it must be close to half a million if not more, though the vast majority uses cars.

 

We probably have fifty or so routes--I've never counted them and I'm not sure where to start, but there are a lot more buses than routes. So you see why individual drivers adjusting schedules could cause a problem...but in smaller towns that would really be ideal. Is yours a privately owned business perhaps? Ours is a government-owned situation by now, if I'm not mistaken. It used to be private until perhaps fifteen or twenty years ago. The service has steadily improved over the past ten years and I'm not complaining.

 

**************************

 

I wonder...should this thread be in the "Off-Topics" section? It's got nothing to do with religion, really, except that my former landlady is religious and I'm trying to move beyond her and related issues. Besides, I don't think religion is necessarily what made her be a control freak. She would probably be a control freak if she were an atheist. I may be wrong but it is my theory that some people just are that way, possibly due to some psychological malfunction or emotional need.

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Cool story, it's great when we have those pleasant interactions! I've seen both sides on the trains here - everything from the driver who makes the whole train wait for the little ol' lady who's running late and moving slow, to the driver who will close the doors right in someone's face (saw that one today - darn near hit her on the nose).

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I would have found an adult pulling a red metal wagon behind them with groceries to be somewhat amusing but not strange. I couldn't help but see a little kid in the adult as they pull the wagon.

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Ruby,

 

Great story. Glad to hear all is well.

 

The placed you moved from... was it near the university you attended? That might explain the difference in bus driver demeanor. College students these days have a sense of entitlement and are very demanding. You may have been lumped in with them.

 

The downtown on the other hand should have a larger variety of personalities and I would bet a more mature and thankful clientele.

 

Most transit systems have online services that often include trip planners, updated schedules and special services. If you haven't visited the transit site, it may be fruitful.

 

I've lived in several downtowns and usually enjoyed it. I perfer walking by nature and so I would tour each city by foot. When I travel for work (rarely these days), I love to weave through the various buildings and parks of a new town or city.

 

I also liked that many social activities are within a down town area and can be accessed by foot.

 

Most of all, I like that walking from place to place inserts a valuable break from whatever hubbub is happening and calms the spirit. It beats praying any day!

 

Best of luck with your new digs and have fun exploring the hood.

 

Mongo

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I would have found an adult pulling a red metal wagon behind them with groceries to be somewhat amusing but not strange. I couldn't help but see a little kid in the adult as they pull the wagon.

 

That's a different perspective. In my childhood home, and on the farm where I lived before I moved to the city, we used wagons all the time as vehicles to transport whatever needed transporting. Mom's vegetable garden was a five minute walk--or more--from the house so wagons came in very handy to transport garden tools, seed, harvested veggies, etc. to and from house and garden. Possibly what we're seeing here is a country girl who refuses to become citified. I know of only one person who has a serious problem with that--I just moved out of her house.

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Very nice cart, yours. Practical. Sorry to hear about the wheel. Is it not fixable?

 

The wheel itself is just plastic and cannot be fixed but I might be able to replace it if I looked hard enough in the hardware store. I got another woman's cart that she no longer wanted and I'm still holding onto my old cart in case I ever want it for anything.

 

 

The transit administrator/director makes the changes to the schedule that I mentioned, approximately once a year, soliciting feedback from the drivers and so taking into account the needs and feedback of regular customers.

 

I see! Yes, our schedules change all the time--much more than once a year. Some--especially those that serve the universities--change every semester. New routes keep being added and new buses are added on existing routes. In April this year, a new route was added to serve a large outlying town with a major high school. This town exists in the heart of the horse and buggy community and the new bus made travel to the city far more feasible for the horse and buggy people. The new bus was used so much that the schedule changed within weeks of the first run.

 

My guess is that the recession--and awareness of global warming/environmental issues--plays a major role in the success of this particular route. There had been a bus along this highway linking this town with the city from at least mid-century to 1990. It was terminated altogether just before I started my university studies in May 1998. Nobody was using it. Today, people from all walks of life are using it. Something has changed.

 

Thedemand-response service is different from the bus line. That's wherepeople call in for door-to-door service, usually making appointmentsfor pick-up at least a couple days in advance. Most places have theseservices now, called "Dial-A-Ride". I bet yours does! That's theservice in my area where the drivers will help people carry things totheir doors.

 

Phanta

 

Thanks for clarifying. I am not aware of such a service in this area for the average citizen. Seniors can get it for this region (I think it's the Kiwanis Club), but my father lives on the other side of the township line, which is also the county line, so he does not qualify.

 

I asked around to see if a service exists for his township or county and there is none. To get him to my place, or to a doctor's appointment, or anywhere else, we have to make private arrangements. His neighbours across the highway can use Kiwanis. So I am quite sure there is none that I could use for myself.

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Hi Ruby!

 

Didn't you have issues with your previous landlady? Hope your move and new place works out all around!

 

Thanks, Marty! Re "issues with the previous landlady"--you bet I did. That's why I moved. Even if the "issues" were all my fault--as I'm sure she would argue, it was time for me to move. I keep having flashbacks all the time. I'm hoping that will let up with time. Otherwise, things seem to be working out here--so far so good. Thanks again for the good wishes.

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The placed you moved from... was it near the university you attended? That might explain the difference in bus driver demeanor. College students these days have a sense of entitlement and are very demanding. You may have been lumped in with them.

 

The downtown on the other hand should have a larger variety of personalities and I would bet a more mature and thankful clientele.

 

 

Yes, the place I moved from was university housing area, and the bus I used most catered to students. The area where I live now has a few students but I see a lot more "down and out" people, or of a lower income bracket. I had been wondering myself whether the population might have something to do with bus driver attitude.

 

Most transit systems have online services that often include tripplanners, updated schedules and special services. If you haven'tvisited the transit site, it may be fruitful.

 

Okay, I looked at it just now. I see it is the place to keep track of bus detours due to construction.

 

I've lived inseveral downtowns and usually enjoyed it. I perfer walking by natureand so I would tour each city by foot. When I travel for work (rarelythese days), I love to weave through the various buildings and parks ofa new town or city.

 

I also liked that many social activities are within a down town area and can be accessed by foot.

 

Thanks for highlighting some of the positives of downtown living. I had been of the impression that only druggies and drinkers and other social outcasts live in such a "despicable" place. My place is within walking distance of the bus terminal, and the people who hang out there are not exactly your highest class citizen. What you're saying about social stuff happening within walking distance is so true. I can't believe all the interesting places but minutes from my door, of which a major public library is but one.

 

Mostof all, I like that walking from place to place inserts a valuablebreak from whatever hubbub is happening and calms the spirit. It beatspraying any day!

 

Really??? And here I'd been told all my life that the city is hubbub, a.k.a. the rat-race, incarnate.

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