We have one car in San Diego. Most of the time, it’s easy to maneuver – sometimes it takes a bit of strategic planning and logistic analysis. More often than not…I take the bus. Recently, I’ve had to go to a bunch of doctor visits about 25 minutes away and San Diego’s Bus 3 has been my route of choice. Only a block from my doorstep – it’s easily accessible and filled with a cast of characters who often make the minutes tick by quickly. The other day was no different.
I enjoy riding the bus. Sometimes I find myself playing the ‘airport game’ my friend Julie and I used to play when stuck for hours. What does he do for a living? What’s her political affiliation? Where did he grow up? Where do you think she’s heading on her journey today? Other times, I watch as most eyes shift downward checking out some form of digital screen. There’s a community on the bus and all who pay the toll are welcome. There was a man in the shaggiest white leg warmers I’ve ever seen, a lady pushing her supermarket finds in a trolley, two friends chatting about old times, a continual clapper, a family with an infant on the brink of a meltdown and the lady who shared her story with the entire bus. I only caught part of it, but the parts I did catch were quite intriguing. Something about being 64, anorexic, swallowing ocean water as a child that caused allergies and breathing difficulties, moving to Oregon where the trees helped, having cervical discomfort that sometimes involved a wheelchair, and then pulling out raw chicken and two day old salad from her handbag. Everyone has a story – one might be more odd than the next.
That’s the part I love about travel. Sometimes you meet someone who shares their story and changes yours. Other times there’s a story to make you smile, add something to your day or ultimately challenge your perspective on the world providing food for thought for a later date. Whether doused in a bit of crazy or marinated in truth, no one ever fully knows the ins and outs of another’s story until they choose to share it all. The lady on the bus shared some. From her ramblings I got perspective. Each engaged in his or her own agendas, the cast of characters all practiced patience, some showed understanding, others kept to themselves and I’m sure some, when they stepped off at their own stops continued to think of the lady on the bus.
For me, she brought perspective. She reminded me again, that everyone has their own story. She is as much a part of this city’s story as I am and we each have worth. I had come from visiting a doctor hoping that I was going to be okay. Who knows from where she came or where she was heading, no matter what, her struggle might be harder than your own. Travel teaches. For me, on this day, that travel didn’t involve passports or an expensive plane ticket – this journey cost $2.25 on a local San Diego bus…but the lessons were just as grand.