Thursday, May 31, 2007

It happened one day -- jcarolek

I moved to VA in November of 1988. I bought a house in the boonies but it had a feature that made it ideal to me. It was situated about 1/4 mile off the highway, down a private dirt road. A charter bus service ran a bus each day “across the river” to the primary employer of this area…approximately 45 miles from my house. The bus stopped each morning at my dirt road and three men and I joined others traveling to work. I left the house at 5:45AM and was lucky to step off the bus by 6:00 PM each night. But I did not have to drive, or hunt parking where parking was never available, or deal with traffic. No, for the HUGE sum of $21.00 per week, I could read, sleep, knit, chat or whatever suited me, in relative comfort for the hour plus ride to and fro.

One day I was running just a wee bit late leaving work and as I rounded the corner to cross the street to the bus stop, I saw the bus pull away without me. Now, it was a cold day in February. There was residual snow and ice covering the sidewalks. I was dressed in my business suit, long wool coat, high heeled shoes and was carrying my briefcase…but I saw my bus pulling away and I was, once again, a child.

Without a thought I took off after that bus. I knew it had two more stops before it found its way to the freeway, and I was determined I would catch that bus! Surely all those guys would take their time loading up and I could catch them!

For the first two blocks I ran in my heels, though my little toe was KILLING me as it was only about three weeks since I had broken it. But the high heels on the icy sidewalks succeeded in slowing me down and making me afraid I would twist my ankle, so I whipped off the shoes and continued in my stocking feet. Once unencumbered by my shoes, I was able to FLY!

I watched with dismay as the bus once again pulled away from the curb and lumbered on to its final stop before ending my chance of ever catching it. I knew I had only one more chance and I ran for all I was worth. The bus made the right hand turn that took it past the library and then made the loop back to come up to the final stop. I was running without the aid of oxygen by this point, because my lungs had completely given up trying to perform the exchange of the frigid air.

Just as I was certain I would not reach the bus, the bus driver glanced over and saw me. He waited at the curb as I raced across the street and jumped on. I had run 14 city blocks in a time I am certain I never achieved at the height of my sprinting career (not that I actually had one of those).

As I climbed up the steps of the bus and fell into the first available seat, all the guys were clapping and whooping and calling me Carl Lewis and such! I smiled, embarrassed now at the sight I must have presented as I raced to my goal. I could not breathe properly for days. I believe I coughed up half my lungs (the parts that had completely rebelled against this sporadic demonstration of will over common sense.)

For, when I arrived home and proudly told my story to my then-husband, he said, “why didn’t you just go back in and call…I would have picked you up!”

I learned a couple of things that day.

Sometimes I act without thinking.

No-Nonsense pantyhose must be made of IRON (only one hole the size of a dime in the bottom of the foot from running 12 blocks without shoes. )

I never lived that day down either. Until the day that bus driver passed away last year, every time I saw him in town he would tell whoever was willing to listen that Carl Lewis had NOTHING on this lady!

No comments: