I sit at a bus stop. My knee is bouncing, and my eyes are darting back and forth along the stretch of road that I can see. I have never had to wait for a bus before. I try to look nonchalant as I sit with my earbuds plugged in and my iPod hidden in my pocket. This is a part of town I haven’t found myself in before, and though I am usually a friendly person, the cigarette smoke and the random grumblings from the man standing by the road have me a little on edge. I couldn’t tell you what song was playing, because I was walking through every possible scenario of what could happen to me on this bus trip. I had definitely watched way too many episodes of Law & Order: SVU. My hands unfolded the piece of paper that held the schedule of buses. I had carefully planned out all the connections so that I would make it to my destination on time. But there were too many things that I couldn’t predict, and it was driving me crazy. This always happened when I tried something new. Everyone around me seemed so calm, but my heart was racing. It was necessity that had me here, because I would never have chosen this if I had had options.
The bus finally came, and I paid the driver and found a seat. I had heard how horribly buses smelled, but I was not prepared for the body odor, cigarette smoke, and too much perfume combined. The trip was short, but that had only been the first bus. The bus pulled up to a tall brick building. There were so many people waiting for buses. I usually enjoy people watching, but these people were as close to The Walking Dead as we are every going to see in real life. They were like robots. No emotions. Standing around with their cigarettes just trying to make it through the day. There were no benches, so I stood against the wall – as close to it as I could with my backpack on my back. I noticed slight movement from amongst the drones. A young man had some headphones on and was beating the air like a drum set. It was the first smile that I had cracked since getting out of bed that morning. My earbuds were still stuck in my ears, and I tried to breathe and listen to the music, instead of freaking out about whether the next bus was going to get me where I wanted or not. The bus came, I got onto a bus that smelled like the last. This trip was even shorter than the last, and I got off to see familiar surroundings.
Normally, having to sit and wait is a great time for me. I usually have a book with me, so I can pull that out. Waiting is usually the only time I have to read. I also like to people watch, which can usually fill up hours of waiting time. But when it is the first time that I am doing something, and there are many steps, and many things that could go wrong, I can’t focus on a book, music, or even watching people. This wasn’t even a big deal – I was just going from my apartment to college. I had been in a car accident and my car was totaled. My only option was to take the bus route that went through town. All of that stress just waiting for a couple buses to take me across town. Since that experience, I have learned to take new things a little better. I still double check all my paperwork and run through things in my head, but I have learned to relax and take it as it comes.