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Sunday, February 20, 2011

day 48: megabus, megamom and chance meetings

I had a neat little adventure on friday night. I was due to come back to Toronto from Kingston after visiting with me mum and so found myself at the Kingston terminal, Megabus ticket in hand. Turns out CoachCanada (they who run the Megabus routes in Canada) is as bad at predicting volume as I am at weather. It's goin rain! *Cue snow storm

   This was like that, except all the signs should have pointed to GET MORE DAMN BUSSES since it was the start of reading week for many, the end for others and a long weekend for EVERYone. Instead, I arrive 25 minutes early for my 7:15p departure and find a line up of about 200 people. This included about 50 people who had been waiting for the 5:15p bus to have it never arrive. I personally handle these situations pretty well, but by the time 8:15 rolled around with no signs of more bussage and no direction/information from the station itself I was admittedly on the brink of losing my patience. By 8:30 a bus DID roll in from Montreal, but it only had 13 seats available to continue it's trip west and those were gone almost immediately.

   "Think of the solution, not the problem", right. So I call up my mum (mom and mum are interchangeable for me) and ask if she can look into car rental places that might still be open. Another guy from the line had tried to interest people in splitting a cab ride but the cabby was asking $370 (which is just insulting) and I figured I had a better way. A few in the line became interested and asked me questions. Some, instead, opted to make shivering noises, I assume to draw my attention to the fact that they of all the people were most in need of shelter and aide. These, coincidentally, were also the people who had been complaining ceaselessly about the injustice of Megabus doing this to them. One incident even had a girl putting the newly arrived bus driver on the phone with her mother so her mother could bitch for 15 minutes about why her daughter "needed" to be on that bus. The poor driver couldn't take it and caved. You tried good sir, you tried but were found wanton.

   After a bit of waiting my mom called and said there were no rental places open. She then offered to give me a ride to the Oshawa GO Station. This is a big drive for her, at least 2 hours there, then another 2 back and it was already nearing 9 o'clock. I hate to be an imposition on people as a rule, even my family. When I went to school I didn't want my mom to pay for anything. She covered my cell phone the first couple years but I never went to her for emergency money, or called her when I had a problem, I dealt with it on my own. I thought that's how it should be. I've since learned more about people and what it means for someone to offer help and what it means to accept. Some times letting someone come to your rescue is as rewarding for them as it is for you. It's also just important to know that you're not alone and leaning on a friend or family member once in a while is actually a demonstration of trust and care rather than an act of taking advantage (although some walk the other side of that line, for certain). Because of that understanding I've gotten better at accepting and appreciating help and in this instance, I was ready to do just that.

   As I got off the phone a young pair of students asked if I had managed to rent a car. I had already been considering what to do about the other two seats in the car since my mum had offered them up to others in the line if I wanted. Captain Shivers seemed to need it but I knew she'd be stale company. It may sound selfish but I decided then and there if I was going to throw a bone to 2 people in 200, I could at least do myself (and my mum) the favour of bringing people who might be entertaining. The two students who had asked were actually among the only in the crowd who had spent the whole hour and a half joking and laughing instead of complaining. I explained the rental shops were closed, but if they were game I was getting a ride to Oshawa. Best choice I could have made.

Christine and Shawn turned out to be two very cool, very funny human people. We spent most of the time squished in the back seat of my mum's Cavalier, talking and laughing. My mum spent most of it white-knuckled and wide eyed as 100km/hr gusts of wind came in and out like Anne Heche. Thanks mom! You're the best! Haha, oie. All in all we made it home thanks to a fast friendship, my mom being awesome, and Shawn's dad driving into Oshawa to take us the last leg of the trip (also awesome). In the end it was a better ride than I could have hoped for on the Megabus, even if I arrived a little later and started my journey a little frozen.

   I think this is part of that concept of not sweating the things that are out of your control. Don't let life's bumps make you angry and bitter, even in the moment. Okay, maybe a bit of anger in the moment, but anger didn't get us in a car and safely back to Toronto. Thinking of solutions did and taking control of the few things we could. Without their attitude, I wouldn't have chosen them. Without my attitude, the solution wouldn't have presented itself and we could have been on that platform for hours more. It worked out great for 3 stranded travellers on a cold friday night and it continues to serve me now. Day 48, in the bag. I think I'm getting the hang of this.

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