Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Thrill of slugging

This morning I missed my regular bus by about a block. I stepped out of my house, and the bus was passing my stop which was a block up. Never mind that I was leaving the house at the regular time and the bus usually comes by about 10-15 minutes later. But we never have a regular driver so there is some irrgularity to the schedule.

Anyways - so instead of waiting for the next bus to come by (which was in another hour and would make me WAY late for work - something you don't want to do after your boss tells you that she would like to promote you soon) - I hiked a mile to the bus stop on the nearest major road. I have to add that this morning I decided to forgo the regular tennies and put on my slightly painful pumps. While it was painful to walk that mile, at least my feet looked cute doing it.

Of course I missed a bus there by like 2 minutes and had to wait another 15 minutes for the next one. There were two other ladies waiting with me. So here comes the main point of this entry. We had been waiting for about 5 minutes when a woman pulled over and asked if anybody needed a ride to the pentagon. This is known as slugging here. Or you could also think of it as reverse hitchhiking. The driver needs two additional people so they can take the HOV lane. The riders - well, we would get to where we want once the bus came so its not really the rider who is holding out the thumb. Anyways - 1 lady climbed in, the other deferred, so I took the back seat.

I've slugged a couple of times in the past couple of years and the truth is you never know who you are going to be riding with. One time I got in a car with some ladies who wouldn't speak in English once I got in the car but were listening to Uber Christian sermons on tape. Another time I rode with a guy who teaches ESL to university level students who are attending universities in the area. This time the woman was really nice, and had a tendency to flip between the local news radio and NPR.

Slugging is nice because you don't have to wait for anymore bus stops, nor do you have to pay. But I have to admit that there is always that tiny bit of apprehension as you are getting into the car. For a split second I always ask myself, "Am I getting into a car with a total loony?" And then you have to shove that thought back because you've made the decision and have to stick with it so that you aren't late to work. When a rider picks up multiple people it does ease the worry because you know that you aren't the only one stupid enough to get in a strangers car*.

Anyways, today's ride was pretty pleasant. The driver was even kind enough to drop us off in the city instead of the regular drop off (mostly because the police had ropped that area off due to a "Strange Vehicle"). But I will tell you that tomorrow I am going to make sure that I get out for the bus early.

* I have made it a rule not to get into vans of any kind. There's just something really sketch about that.

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