The Fairbanks Pedestrian wrote a beautiful blog entry about riding the bus, reading, and making the most of your time.
He got me to thinking-- I didn't learn to drive until I was 27. By then I was divorced with 3 kids. My parents had not raised me with confidence and I was terrified of driving. I wish I had a dollar for every time my dad said, "So you wanna get your own driver lessons? Just let me knwo when you are on the road so I stay off!" I'd stop my lessons. One day my mom knew that I was getting a small but wonderful apartment that I'd wanted for ages and control freak that she was, really wanted me to get a crappy place that cost less and was bigger-- a mile away from a bus stop!
We argued and my nicer place was closer to her and on the bus line, practically at my door. I lived in Anchorage, Alaska at the time and she and my dad were getting ready to leave state and asked what I'd do when they left. I said, "You cannot leave a woman with three children and no car in the bus-forsaken city! I am coming with you to your 800 acre ranch!"
This freaked my mom out-- but she also saw my life through my eyes and bought me a car and insurance and driving lessons-- thus, independence!
When we took the bus, my daughters and I actually spoke to each other all the time. I never wanted to upset them with the cold so we would dance and jump in the snow. Icey roads were "the sillies" and we'd walk carefully to avoid falling, which was also a very real danger to us.
Last winter my eldest, who has been driving since age 14, but we hadn't the $$ to buy her a beater, called me as she also takes the bus. She recalled the days of the bus and how cold it was but how I never seemed to mind. Other parents were stoic in the cold, but we four were dancing on the ice or in the slush-- and always in the summer! It was fun to her and I was glad that she remembered it. Once I started driving, I was full of stress and didn't allow anyone to talk if there was traffic. We'd pray before we drove, something that she still does when she gets in a car, but she liked the bus in the old days.
Now with a bazillion children and $2 per person to hop on the bus, it just isn't practical to take the bus any place, but I also miss riding it.
I have an ancient suburban and my battery has had to be started every day for six months. When my husband was here with the kids, he bought me a new battery. I cannot tell you how nice it is to start it with no problem, and I seem to use every part on that poor vehicle until they are very, very used!