Monday, October 18, 2010

Cheap thrills

Here’s the thing about catching the bus from the town where I live to the DC area: there’s a bus stop fairly close to my house (outside the Sears), which is more or less the start point of that particular bus route. And there are three buses that leave from that stop in a span of about ten minutes, after which the wait for the next bus is pushing half an hour. There’s another stop a little further down the main drag of town (outside the Kmart), which is technically the fourth stop or so on the bus route, so the buses don’t go from one to the other in a straight shot. If I had my crap together and could get out of the house in a timely fashion in the morning, I could probably just drive to Sears and catch a bus with plenty of open seats and be good to go. But since I’m often shambling out the door a few crucial minutes later than I’d like, it’s a safer bet to go directly to Kmart, taking advantage of the fact that the last bus to leave the Sears parking lot has a more circuitous route to cover and I can probably edge it out in a race.

I mention all of this primarily because this morning, as I was going through the motions of all of the above, I found myself at one point going through a green light and seeing my bus waiting at the cross-street red light, waiting to turn right. Which added a neat little frisson to my morning as I went into action movie race-the-bus mode. I had the lead at that point but then I came to a red light, and the bus gained on me and by the time my light turned green the bus was filling up my rearview mirror. Then I turned right into the Kmart parking lot as the bus went straight down to the next proper corner, where it would turn right and then pull up to the actual bus stop at the sidewalk. I had to navigate the parking lot (including massive speed bumps) and park my car and gather my things and get out and lock the car and get in line before the bus pulled away. And I did, because the line at that second-choice bus stop is always fairly long (another factor that makes it the second choice) but as I say, for a couple seconds or so there it was exciting. For a Monday morning.

You would think a day in the office after that would pale in comparison, excitement-wise, but as luck would have it we had a building-wide fire drill mid-morning today. OK, granted, that’s not terribly exciting, it’s a minor inconvenience which, now that I’ve been coming into this office for almost a solid year, doesn’t offer much in the way of new experience. But afterwards, my officemate Mr. Gregarious felt compelled to note how the gathering place we were all assigned to assemble in as we waited for the All Clear made for an ideal high bodycount target of opportunity for terrorists. Which, well, is weirdly ghoulish and all but also I think kind of a pointless observation because we (as a country) have already had experiences with terrorists taking out thousands of innocent people and they didn’t have to pull a fire alarm, wait until everyone was herded into a parking lot or atrium or whathaveyou, and then attack, they just attacked the building itself while everyone was inside. So are we technically any safer if we don’t have the fire drills at all, or was my officemate suggesting that if we have to evacuate the building we should all scatter and yet in some convoluted hi-tech information-age way still make sure everyone who was supposed to get out is accounted for? Or does he simply love the sound of his own voice and pop off with the first half-baked malformed thought that burbles up through his brainmuck? (In case you are new around here it is definitely the last one.)

So yeah, fire drill morbidity is not so good. The bus race wins!

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