I took a cue from Ruby’s Gratitude Journal and have devoted myself to posting weekly about positive things. It is not necessarily gratitude, but things that fill me with warm feelings, beautiful sights, and little wonders.
Monday did not have to give me a poke this week. I found it all by myself, without so much as a reach.
Yesterday started poorly, as I noted in With This Pill. However, I had a series of fortunate events. I called it a serendipitous evening.
I will start out with a status I left on my real life Facebook:
Dear Suburbanites Attending Light Up Night,
I know jaywalking is a Pittsburghese birthright, but you have taken it to extremes when you gridlock rush hour traffic. It is clear to me that you do not live, work, or play in the Downtown area. If you did, you would probably know better than to jump out in front of a Port Authority Bus.
You are the people who would jump off a cliff if all of your friends were doing it. Thanks for polluting the gene pool.
For those who are not Pittsburgh natives, you may be unfamiliar with Light Up Night. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is a big difference between Pittsburgh suburbanites and regular city-goers. Pittsburgh suburbanites pour into various city neighborhoods like Downtown (where Point State Park is) and Northshore (where the stadiums are) for big events. Light Up Night, First Night, Saint Patrick’s Day, The Regatta, every godforsaken Pirates game, Steelers games, and Penguins games. And anytime they are present in their masses, it never ceases to create a complete clusterf*** in the area.
I am an expert jaywalker. I can dart through an intersection without any traffic disruption whatsoever. However, these droves of people don’t care if they are crossing against the light. The herd marches on, completely unaware that their presence affects anyone or anything. They are intent upon excitedly dancing in the street while on their way to (insert big event here).
There are two things you don’t do in the city. If you are going to jaywalk, don’t do it on a stale red. The opposing traffic is attempting to gun it through that yellow and may actually hit you. I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes. And don’t ever, under any circumstances jump out in front of a Port Authority Bus. They don’t care and are mostly unaware. They have a route to keep and plenty of company lawyers to keep a plaintiff running in circles and draining their resources.
Back to the story. I had a moment where a wonderful woman asked to borrow my lighter. We had a nice conversation and remarked about how we’ve seen each other on the bus in passing. The day continued as usual, pretty unremarkable.
On my way out of work, it was brought to my attention that it was Light Up Night. FML, I thought. I wasn’t working at all during this time last year, so I had forgotten about the event altogether. And I wondered what traffic nightmare awaited me. So far, the day was not a rousing success.
I met the same woman on the bus again on the way home, seated diagonally from me. We had sporadic conversation, until we approached the massive traffic jam. The bus crawled at 5 miles an hour into Downtown. The driver remarked, “I don’t know where I’m going, so feel free to jump off at any corner.” Port Authority drivers are usually very strict about what stops you are and are not allowed to board and depart the bus from. He later announced that we were taking Ninth to Penn. Penn is where I pick up the bus home, and it was absolutely imperative that I catch a certain numbered, bus because it was the last one out.
We inched along, and I kept a sharp lookout down the street. I was looking to see if I was going to miss my connection. As we approached the intersection, my connection passed the bus I was boarded. Defeated, I said, “Well, there it goes.” The woman I met, her friend, and the driver started shouting, “Jump off this bus and go get it!” I’m not moving well, and I didn’t think I was going to make it. Not only did I get the bus, I managed to catch the one a few cars ahead of it.
It was fortunate I caught the bus so far up Penn. My usual stop was blocked off. We turned onto Sixth and were intent upon taking Liberty out of the city. However, we were stuck at the intersection due to pedestrian traffic for 10 light changes. A police officer stood there doing absolutely nothing about it. At 7PM, after being on busses for about an hour, the cop started to move the barriers onto Liberty, blocking our way out.
Another fortunate event. We moved up Liberty toward the Strip District. We got onto Fort Duquesne Boulevard and made a bee line out of town. I expected to be stopped at the bridge or on Carson. Quite the contrary. We flew through the rest of town. The bus sped down a completely unobstructed, ghost highway at 57 miles per hour until we reached my destination. Fortunately, I was the only rider aboard.
I made it home in record time – 7:20PM – only 20 minutes from where I was stuck. Yeah, I was an hour and a half late getting home, but it was a hell of a lot better than it could have been. The bus headed down our route was nowhere to be found when I disembarked. I could only assume that it was still slowly weaving its way through traffic.
It’s nice to see you again, Serendipity. I missed you.