Let’s Get on the Bus

No childhood is complete without a ride on the bus. The city bus. So being responsible and caring parents, we recently packed a backpack full of water, snacks, and spare diapers and hopped in our van to begin our latest family adventure: Moyer Bus Day.

It was raining quite a bit that morning, so Bearded Husband kindly dropped the five of us off at the depot while he parked the van. As I herded my crew into the main foyer, we got to see the security guard shoo away the “greeter” from the front door. Good times, I felt very safe now.

The Bigs were quite excited to note that we would be using an escalator. An escalator. We might not need to take them to Disney after all. The thrill of riding the escalator was only matched by their anticipation of using it again upon our return.

With bus passes in hand and our route mapped out, we went to find The Number 7 (real bus talk, guys, that’s how you say it). Littlest was quaking with fear, but I reassured him and hopped on. We found six seats facing each other and waited and watched.

Stay with the group
Stay with the group

I forgot. I forgot what it’s like to ride the bus. I forgot about the cross-section of society that you can observe on the bus.

First I spotted Vacant Staring Guy. I smiled at him since he was staring, but got nothing so then I had to focus on not looking in his direction (but I could still feel the stare, the vacant, vacant, stare). What’s your story, VSG?

Next onto The Number 7 were The Nails. These girls had the longest fingernails I had ever seen. Even though I knew they were fake, I was in awe and kept looking. Now who was staring awkwardly? How did they get such amazing texting abilities? How do you anything without hurting yourself?

The final addition to The Number 7 entourage arrived at the first stop. This was after our 4 year old took a short fall off his seat when the driver jackrabbit-started at the same time he peeled around the corner exiting the depot. Man down!

Bluetooth was having a loud and detailed conversation with who I hoped was his addictions counsellor. In our brief time together, we learned that Bluetooth really wanted to kick his habits and stop the methadone.  Detox would help, but he needed a clean start so he wouldn’t fall back into old habits when he returned from up north. No Twelve Step program for him because he wanted nothing to do with any higher power. To his credit, Bluetooth kept his language clean and only raised a few uncomfortable questions from the boys. Mommy, what’s rehab?

Guys, this was only 4 minutes into our bus ride. FOUR MINUTES.

I forgot. I forgot what the bus can be like.

Boys, look! There’s the hospital where you were all born. Oh, I see a Tim Hortons. Yup, I saw that firetruck, did you? Well-timed questions can help diffuse awkward moments like full disclosure about substance abuse.

We had a great time schlepping through the rain and checking out some local sites. Another highlight of Moyer Bus Day was eating lunch at Taco Farm. Our oldest said, “Like, it’s not my favourite place ever, but I’d eat there again.” That is high praise coming from him.

We're going to walk in the rain and you're going to like it.
We’re going to walk in the rain and you’re going to like it.

Fed and rested, and grateful the rain had subsided, we walked to the bus stop. The anticipation was still in full force and the boys kept craning their necks looking for The Number 7. It arrived and we all piled back on. This time the bus was fuller so we scrambled to find seats. And this time, if was the 6 year old who took a short fall on the steps when the driver peeled out before he was seated.

The boys gasped and grinned and I had a smile plastered on my face enjoying their excitement. We shared a seat with a young urban professional and I broke the ice by pointing out, “This is their first time riding the bus, in case it wasn’t obvious.” Awkward chortle, chortle.

He smiled back, looked at the two boys sitting with me and replied, “I vividly recall my first time riding the bus. It was so memorable.”

I forgot. I forgot what the bus can be like. It can be an amazing adventure and that’s exactly what I hope our boys will remember.

Author: Jan Moyer

Embracing my inner child since 2005.

26 thoughts on “Let’s Get on the Bus”

      1. I’ve always lived in a small town without much in the way of public transit (because it’s, you know, a small town of about 5,000 people in a state that still loves its cars). Since I’m always driving places, my only real experiences with public transit have happened in London (got horribly confused by the busses, loved the Tube) and Seattle (never tried the busses, loved the light rail line from the airport to downtown).

  1. Brings back memories: we had to take our kids to the mall in Victoria to teach them how to ride escalators, had to keep careful track of who got to push elevator buttons since elevator rides were rare and exciting, and a highlight to a trip to Vancouver was a there-and-back trip on sky train. Growing up in a small Canadian town …

  2. I’ve only ridden a city bus once, when I worked in Washington D.C. It wasn’t as adventurous as your ride, but I remember being nervous because I didn’t know how it worked. Turns out they didn’t stop at each stop – you have to pull a cord to let them know you want off. One stop past mine, I got up and stood awkwardly behind the driver because I didn’t know about the cord. I only had to walk back three stops, but luckily they were close together, haha. And I’ve ridden a cross-country bus once, for 15 hours. That was interesting too. But I’m glad I’ve had those adventures at least once. And I’m glad your kids had a grand bus adventure!! Seeing their first times through kids eyes is so exciting and wonderful.

    1. Also, sometimes if you pull the cord they will stop at the next corner. My brother pulled the cord thinking he would get the next stop. Nope, the driver kicked him off right there and he had to walk to the next stop. And then he misread a map, got on a bus, it went three blocks, stopped, and the driver said, “End of the line, everyone off.”

  3. so funny, it has been a long long time since I thought about the “pull cord” on the bus! When I was reading about your ride it automatically took me back to riding the bus home and arguing with my sisters about pulling the stop cord. Ahhh, the good old days!

  4. I went on the bus a grand total of once growing up (I think I was 14 or something). So when we travel I need to rely on the bus skills of my city born wife 😉

  5. Our kids love mass transit. Trains, planes, busses, trams. It’s super exciting, and I love it because I their delight always gets me compliments on how awesome the kids are traveling. I’ve learned this just means “Hey, your kids aren’t whining or crying, they’re just chatting happily in appropriate tone of voice.” But I guess on mass transit, that wins you a medal.

  6. Sounds like a SWEET adventure! My wife and I took a (city) bus trip around Boise back when we lived there, just for kicks, and had a cool time getting around in a unique way. Way to make some fun memories with your kiddos.

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