Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pride, Prejudice, & the Bus Ride in the Bad Part of Los Angeles

This blog was written when I was about 60 days into the 80-day attempt to emit zero carbons into the atmosphere for the documentary I'm making called CarLess in L.A.  Contribute to the movie at Kickstarter before May 22!  
A familiar ride {source-LA Times Blog}

Happiness Is

Today, I went to a birthday party lunch for my friend, J.  It was a delightfully charming party in an exquisitely charming house in a horrendously not-so-charming part of town.

And I got there by bus.

I was so proud of myself. Woke up, did some yoga (saves me every time: my caffeine, my workout, my therapy, my church), and walked to my darling little neighborhood farmer's market for groceries. I had it all timed out perfectly. I logged into (mapquest for bus riders), and found a nifty little route that would take me an hour, but so what? I had the classic Pride and Prejudice to accompany me while commuting.

I showered, dressed, walked to the bus stop. A car pulled up with two young men in it. They asked me if I wanted to "puff" with them. I politely declined and took my seat at the bus stop. They offered me a ride. I declined again. They went away.

The bus came just on time. I sat towards the middle of the bus and was intent on my book (Elizabeth ran into Mr. Darcy and how his character had changed since their last meeting!) when I noticed the bus had stopped at a stop. And wasn't cranking up again. All the riders just sat there. There was no explanation by the driver. We were simply not going.

Now, time was ticking. I was to attend my lunch at 1. And I had timed it just so. Why weren't we going? I had another bus to catch, a transfer to make!

Finally, I asked a gentlemen in the row next to mine. He told me that the bus had hit a pole and the mirror had smashed and that it was illegal for the driver to drive without a mirror and that another bus was coming.

How I missed this I have no idea. All I can say is that I really like Jane Austen's story.

Sure enough, another bus came up from behind. We all deboarded, and as we walked to the bus behind us, I witnessed the broken mirror, shattered into pieces on the sidewalk and in the road. Interesting. I thought. Broken mirrors have always brought out my superstitious side. I was glad I wasn't the one who had broken it. Seven years is a long time.

I made it to my next stop but had missed my transfer. By a lot. I don't know how long I waited. Thank God I was smart enough to remember my book.

Finally the Metro 150 rolled up, and boy, was this bus a winner. Yuck. I sat quickly, quietly, my nose still in the book. I looked up occasionally to notice that I was not in a part of town I had ever seen. Nor had I ever wanted to see it. Nor will I want to see it again.

Pardon my discourtesy, but I was in a downright BAD part of town, which means interesting characters on the bus.

Alas, the woman next to me was wearing light pink with a red scarf, which is a great color combination according to me. I glanced over and saw that she too had a book.
The chapter title: What Is Happiness?
The name of the book: A Piece of the Mirror

Now, what was I supposed to make of this, Universe? I was just on a bus that made pieces of a mirror. And here was a woman with a book of that title with the words "What Is Happiness?" glaring at me.

Signs, signs, signs. Some of them are more clear than others. Some of them are too clear to be ignored. This one was really just a little Godwink, as a friend of mine likes to call them. A reminder that there is something bigger out there. Perhaps a chance for a little spark to happen in what may be just an ordinary day?

I did not take this as an occasion to stand up and preach about Happiness on a bus. I did not rack my brain with the wonders of why o why I was late to my party when I had been so dutiful about time. I did not take this little coincidence or synchronicity as anything but a curiosity. I didn't even think it was perhaps a Godwink until now, as I write.

There are signs. And then there are SIGNS.

What we do with them is up to us, I believe. I surely had SIGNS when considering the making of this film. I followed them, and I trusted, and although, I was, in all honesty, freaking out about giving up my car for 80 days and attempting this crazy experiment, I am doing it. I did it. I didn't have to. Of course not. But the bigger part of me, the soul part of me, whispered, then whispered louder, "Do it."

So, I'm doing it.

A piece of the mirror. I can reflect on it now (pun intended). A lot of these spiritual texts and guru people say that we are all mirrors of each other.

Here I was the only white girl on a bus in a seedy part of town, dressed up, reading a very white book, and going to a very white party, frankly. ..

When a man boards the bus, falling over himself, drunk or deaf or just sad or something, and he slightly bumps the man next to me.

He says as he stumbles his way to the very back of the bus, "Excuse me."

The man next to me says, "It's okay."

And we're all human. Once again, we're all human. I love it. Not all the time. But when I do love it, it's the purest feeling out there.


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