Made the turn onto 35th today, saw the bus about to arrive, and decided to hop on to get to the el quicker; as I was boarding I heard one 30-something, seemingly able-bodied woman complaining to the other about the lateness of the driver. I assumed the speaker was taking the bus all the way to the end of the line, so I didn't thing more of it. After getting off at my stop and heading through the station, I was surprised to find myself standing next to this same woman on the red line platform - she turned to me and said: "that bus - I waited for it for 35 minutes - can you believe it was so late?"

Now, I normally walk from home to the train - a distance of about .8 miles; from the bus stop it's probably about .5. I have a rule that if it'll be quicker to walk, I'll do so, but if the bus is in sight, I'll wait and take it to catch an earlier train in the mornings only, evenings I always walk (9 times out of 10 I beat the bus because it never seems to be there in the morning). I couldn't resist making some comment about how walking would have been quicker, but she had no answer to that; she was friendly so we laughed off the whole thing, mutually complaining about the unpredictability of the CTA - for me it meant speed walking (a nice wake-up in the morning, or wind down in the evening), for her it meant waiting, rain or shine, for her chariot to arrive.

I used to think that somehow it was inaccurate that the average American only walks a couple miles total a week (at least according to Bill Bryson); that includes to and from transportation, around the office, around the home, etc.. Meeting people like this woman, who would prefer to wait over half an hour for a 1/2 mile bus ride, kind of drove the point home. It wasn't just her though - there were other people agreeing with her when the bus first came who also got off with me at the red line stop. Granted some of these passengers were elderly and looked as if they couldn't handle walking any distance, others looked perfectly capable. Have we all really become that lazy?

No comments: