I have a love-hate relationship with the bus system in London. It doesn’t burn as deeply as my love-hate relationship with Google Maps but it exists.
The #29 bus runs straight past my student house and drops me right at the gates of my Uni’s main campus. As long as I’m taking the #29 bus, I’m fine. In all fairness, the #29 bus comes very fast. My friend and I joked that if you were to tell your boyfriend that he came as fast as the #29 bus he should be shamed for life. But, perverseness aside, every once in a while I decide to test my luck with another bus. I’ve yet to not regret this. Just last night I took the #134 which I swore would drop me in front of my student house. No such luck. Long story short, I spent fifteen minutes standing outside a fried chicken restaurant while waiting for a bus to take me back in the direction I came from. Then I had to wait for my trusty #29 while chiding myself for not waiting for it in the first place. What should’ve been a ten minute trip home took nearly half of an hour. I declared to my friend promptly that I would never take a bus on my way home or to Uni unless it was #29 and I had all intention to… until this morning.
A man was hit by a truck right in front of the entrance of my student house. I am not sure how bad his injuries were but it took almost an hour for the paramedics to ready him for transport to the hospital and to be honest he got hit pretty damn hard (keep him in your thoughts). Because of this, the police closed down the bus stop I usually use and in walking the other bus stop I missed about three #29s. You’d think that I’d patiently wait for the other one as I’ve already established what happened last night and that the #29 buses are notorious for being quick. I didn’t. I jumped on the first bus I saw that seemed like it was going in my general direction.
The bus took the route I was accustomed to… for a while. Then, I was dropped in an area I’d never been before but I figured had to be near enough to school. I swallowed my desire to kick myself for not waiting for the good old, reliable #29 bus and decided I would find my way… on my own. I wouldn’t resort to Google Maps (it always ran up my blood pressure anyway) and I wouldn’t waylay the next person who wasn’t busy hustling to get from point A to point B and ask them for directions. I had an hour an a half to burn before my class, I reasoned. So off I set. I hadn’t been walking for more than five minutes when I started seeing things that looked familiar… a street name here, a building there. And, eventually I found myself straight at my faculty. It actually turned out to be a shorter route to my faculty (or seemed to be) than if I had walked from the main campus. There definitely were less people shoving me out the way and bumping into me while glued to their cell phones.
I learned something today.
Sometimes it is okay to stray from comfortable familiarity. In life and writing, as in walking to class, sometimes it is good to get lost. It is only when you are outside your comfort zone you can put to use creative solutions to find yourself. And, then you might realize your comfortable, familiar ways might not have been the best ways after all.