Commuter Corner: When riding the bus becomes a rollercoaster

A University of Connecticut blue line bus heads toward the center of campus on September, 16 2016. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

A University of Connecticut blue line bus heads toward the center of campus on September, 16 2016. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

Coming out of my last class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I always know that getting to the bus in time will be a struggle. If I don’t catch it there is always the option of waiting indefinitely for the next bus, or walking to the infamous W-Lot, the only parking lot on campus that regularly has available spots.

I usually choose to wait it out.  I don’t really feel like lugging my large lunchbox, computer case and sweatshirt up the hill to W, but I don’t enjoy waiting for the buses either. At the Arjona Eastbound stop during this time of day the wait is usually only 10 to 15 minutes. I’ve had the misfortune at other bus stops to wait a whole 30 minutes before the next bus arrives. With work waiting for me at home, that half hour means a lot to me and my employer. If I can catch the soonest bus, even if I have to run for it, I will. The inconsistency of their schedules, added together with my own carefully crafted itinerary, convinces me that the bus is something worth running to.

Let’s get this straight. Some of you are reading this and thinking, so what? You probably go for jogs, have a gym membership and are on a sports team. Then there will be some of you who, like me, view running as the worst possible activity. You can’t imagine how people do it for fun. You’d rather sit down and eat a bag of anything than try to burn away such precious calories for mere sport. No, indulging is your forté, and running is your arch nemesis.

For those of you who are good at it, congrats. When a bear attacks, it will most certainly reach me first. You’re welcome. For those of you who don’t run, you can sympathize more readily with my plight.

Imagine the rush of excitement as my class was let out exactly six minutes early. With time like that, I could easily make it to the bus stop and have time to spare. I said goodbye to my worries of speed walking, a feat too close to running for my taste, and contented myself with a measured stroll to the stop’s bench.

At the beginning of my trek, I sensed it. It must have been an inert sense, because the metal monster made no sound announcing its approach. Or, perhaps it did, to those who were less than a hundred feet away. Picture this: I had just walked up a flight of stairs and began down a pathway to the street I needed to reach. Upon seeing the bus and recognizing not only that it was my own but also that it was well over five minutes early, I began the half-jog that turned into a run as I saw the bus pull in. With my laptop bag flopping against my legs and my sweatshirt held by one sleeve, I approached the crosswalk with the clear caution of any UConn student.

In other words, a minivan almost hit me as I sprinted towards the bus, which had just loaded its last passengers.  

I raised my hand in the typical thank-you-for-not-killing-me fashion, and rushed up the stairs, knocking over another passenger’s water bottle before finally making it to my seat at the absolute rear of the bus.  Much to my chagrin, I was panting.  After 100 feet of jogging to a bus stop, I was having trouble catching my breath.

No, this wasn’t the day I decided to head to the gym, or get physically fit in some other way.  In fact, I stopped on my way home and bought a package of cookies from a corner store. No, this day was just another illustration of the intense emotions evoked by that bus. The bliss of being let out early, followed by the fear of missing my ride, finished off by the slight embarrassment at my flushed cheeks and heavy breathing. The bus should be nicknamed a rollercoaster, for all the emotional turmoil it caused.


Hannah Desrosiers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hannah.desrosiers@uconn.edu.