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Commuting Suicide: Volume I

Commuting Suicide
Killing myself slowly, day after day

Volume I: "Lost"

"Does anybody know what street we're on?"

The bus driver, sounding defeated, had pulled off the road. I'm not sure how long she'd circled aimlessly before admitting she was lost. But her call for navigational assistance was the last thing I wanted to hear at 10:54 PM last night. If there were 40 passengers on the bus, 39 of us responded with exaggerated groans.

The one holdout was a Junior Magellan, far too white and preppy to know anything about the Newark streets on which we waited. "The moon is on the wrong side of the bus," he explained, finger waving, arms flailing. 39 more groans.

Ten minutes later, we were back in the same spot where Magellan started calling the shots. He returned to his seat, mumbling. "It's not my fault, it's the moon."

Somebody shoot me, I think to myself. As I notice the seedy characters outside the bus, I realize somebody might.

Amid the quiet chaos, the scolding words of an angry dispatcher seep out the CB radio and echo throughout the bus. He wants to know how the hell she got lost. She wants to know how the hell he found out.

"There are no cell phones allowed on this bus!" she screams at us, clearly losing whatever grip she had on the situation. Apparently, one of the 39 angry commuters called the "How Am I Driving?" 800 number listed, coincidentally, right beside the "No Cell Phones" warning. I don't know what our mole said, but I'm guessing the gist of it was "Not well."

With instructions barked from the command center, we find a highway and head towards home. I'm fairly certain a good number of stops were skipped. Not sure what happened to those folks. They may still be on the bus.

Finally, 67 minutes after leaving Port Authority -- a trip that once only took 24 minutes -- I request my stop and wrap up today's commuting adventure. All in a ride home after a day's work.

Just hopping on board? Check out Volumes I, II, III, IV, V and V.V

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3 Comments

Why can't you make calls on the bus?

said Jellio on September 22, 2005 12:20 PM.

Because you'll embarrass the bus driver.

How'd she get lost, do you know? Didn't any regular riders realize it when she went off the regular path?

said Evil Richard on September 22, 2005 1:28 PM.

All good questions. Cell phones are banned because it's so fucking annoying to sit next to someone while they go on and on and on about absolutely nothing. The commute is bad enough without some schmuck remotely conducting his fantasy football draft, or some woman dressing down her husband. I actually did ask the driver one day, and he said they were averaging 1,500 complaints a week about annoying cell phone riders, so they just banned them altogether.

Since it was so late, I don't think there was a usual crew to know where we were supposed to be going. The commuter buses bypass the whole Newark area, but the later ones stop every few blocks from New York to Pennsylvania. Or at least it seems like they do.

said aquaman on September 22, 2005 2:15 PM.
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