I am on the brink of an irrational and abiding hatred of the No. 27 bus, which sometimes takes me from my house to my job or from my job to my house in as little as 45 minutes. Sometimes.
Anybody who waits on any bus knows bus-schedule travel time doesn't include the time you spend getting to the bus stop and the time you spend in the act of waiting for the bus. Par exemple, the bus that would transport me from near my house to near my job, the "Route 27 Reisterstown Plaza Sta. to Port Covington Southbound Weekday," is supposed to get near my bus stop sometime between 8:10 a.m. ("Kelly & Sulgrave") and 8:24 a.m. ("36th & Roland"), so that means I need to get to stepping from my house to the bus stop so I'm there by 8 a.m., because the bus might be early, ha ha.
But sometimes it is! Early! Or at least On Time! Yes! I played Game of Bus correctly! Good ol' No. 27, this is the way our Municipal Transportation System is supposed to work! Counting walking time and waiting time, it only took me about one stress-free hour to get to the office via Public Transportation. Why don't more people take the bus? It's great, look at me, for a buck-sixty, I will be Transported, Publicly, from within three blocks of my house to within two blocks of my job, so I get a little brisk walk in, and sure, if I drive my car I can get to work in about 15 minutes, but this way I don't have to drive and sometimes parking is a giant pain in the ass and I am not contributing to the traffic jams or the carbon credits or whatever, and it's helping with the Strategic Fuel Reserve, I think, to be on a larger vehicle holding more people, which, again, why is this bus hardly full? The bus is great!
And then sometimes the bus is not Early or even On Time. Sometimes I get there well in advance of 8:10 a.m., and I'm standing there and it's 8:24 a.m., and then it's 8:40 a.m., and I'm blinking in the morning light, trying to look at the schedule on my phone to make sure I looked at the correct intersection of the time and the stop and now it gets confusing because there's another Route 27 bus that should be along any minute, any time between 8:36 a.m., ("Kelly & Sulgrave") and 8:50 a.m. ("36th & Roland"), but how can that be? Will there be two buses one right behind the other one? Where did the other bus go? Then it's like 8:45 a.m., and a Route 27 bus shows up. Was it the 8:10 a.m. or the 8:36 a.m.? Could it possibly be the 9:02? Waiting for the bus gives you a lot of time to ponder the vagaries of Time and Space and when you are getting on one of three possible answers to your Bus Appointment, you start to image a dimension where there are piles and piles of Route 27 buses that just never made it, and they are somewhere between "Reisterstown Plaza Sta." and "Port Covington," which doesn't even seem like a good idea for a bus to be at, boatwise.
And then other-sometimes, it's not that the bus just doesn't even seem to show up, which is usually on the "Route 27 Reisterstown Plaza Sta. to Port Covington Northbound Weekday," which, Northbound, Weekdays, on a rainy and wet Friday Night, is supposed to be at Howard and Redwood streets somewhere around 8:58 p.m., and then at Howard and North Avenue at 9:08 p.m., which puts me in front of the "Cultural Center" stop of the Light Rail at about 8:45, trying to decide if I should get on one of the Light Rails headed north, which would mean a much longer walk to my house down some lonely streets, so I always want the bus at night, but the bus did not show up at 8:58 p.m., or even 9:08 p.m., and so now it's about 9:30 p.m., so I'm thinking I gotta wait until somewhere between 9:58 p.m. ("Howard & Redwood") and 10:08 p.m., ("Howard & North"), and meanwhile three Light Rails have gone by and the Route 19 bus keeps showing up, but when it's all the way down Howard Street, all you see is the hulking bus shape, dotted with bus lights, and you're thinking "finally, the goddamn bus," but it's not, it's the Route 19, and then another bus-shape appears in the distance and you're like, "OK, man, finally, No. 27, here we go, where's my money," but it's another stupid Route 19, how can there be this many of that bus?!?" And now it's really raining hard and you are thinking about all those Light Rails that went by and the cab you just saw, but no way would you spend 11 bucks on a cab ride, it's supposed to be a dollar-sixty, man, to get me home, and then you see another bus-shape, until you can squint down hard enough to make out the not in service on the sign, and then you Despair. No bus will ever come. The Route 27 bus does not care if you ever get home.
Eventually there is another bus-twinkle of lights and yes, it's the Route 27, man, I'm gonna remember what time this thing came and somebody at the MTA is gonna get a hot Twitter-tweet from me, boy, on the Social Media, but you forget all that with the wave of relief that washes over you while you're feeling for your change one more time and the love you experience upon the opening of the bus door and the nice dry bus and the shiny blue seats and the signs telling you to watch out for suspicious activity with the photo of the elephant sitting on a bus seat, but really it's the unattended briefcase you should be wondering about, and the crazy guy sitting there, always there's the crazy guy chattering endlessly to nobody in particular and everyone in general about whatever seems to slide along the news-crawl running along the bottom of his mind, the Orioles, TV shows, the stuff he just bought at the grocery store and some clothes he just bought and where are you going today on the bus and how long did you have to wait and do you think this is the bus really late or the other bus really early and how sometimes the damn bus just drives right by you right the fuck by and you were right there at the bus stop with a dollar and sixty in your hand, ready to climb on and participate in public transportation but no, the goddamn stupid fucking No. 27 bus sailed right the fuck past the motherfucking stop didn't even get into the right-hand lane and pretend like it was gonna stop at the stop just cruised right the fuck by . . . wait, that's my stop, could you press the yellow strip for me?