Here’s a piece of information for you bus riders to tuck away: the 350 bus has two routes it takes from Alewife to Burlington. One goes past the mall. One does not. It’s a good thing to know which route the bus you are on is scheduled to take, should you decide on a Tuesday night that, since the same bus that takes you home would also take you past the big Borders on Wayside and the Michaels if you stayed on it a little longer, and it’d be fun to just make a quick run to the bookstore since you did just finish the book you were reading and you could maybe finally get around to picking up some knitting stuff, and the busses run every 20 minutes this time of day so you wouldn’t have to spend time waiting around for the next one, why not just ride a little farther and have a weeknight adventure?
Me and my bright ideas. So there we are deciding whether to go to the bookstore or dinner first when the bus speeds right on passed our turn, on under the highway and out into the heart of suburbia. Greg is checking something on his iphone and so doesn’t see my jaw drop as I realize I’ve made a mistake and there is something very wrong here. I’m furiously checking my bus schedule print-outs whilst doing my best to look like a casual bus rider still waiting for her stop (I’m sure my shifty, nervous eyes made me look like that something unusual the T advises you to say something about). Out beyond the highway, strip malls, and a used book superstore (tempting). Out beyond lakes and barns and over-sized unusually shaped houses that look ready to jump up and defend the town at the first sign of a Decepticon. The bus just keeps going and even though we know the smart thing is to stay on the warm bus until it turns around and goes back to Alewife, I’m starting to worry it might never turn around. Instead, it might just keep on driving and driving, the driver merrily pushing a button on the dash and turning the bus into a 3500 or a 30 or whatever bus there is out in western mass and we’ll get off several hours from now needing to find another way home from Leominster or Fitchburg or --god help us -- Springfield.
As I’ve already mentioned, I’d finished my book before I even got on the bus, so when we finally did reach the blessed end of the ride into Burlington, I’d pretty much wrung the author bio and back cover dry too. Then it was 15 minutes before the bus turned around and started back. We finally reached the shopping plaza something like an hour later than we originally intended.
The worst part, after eating and hitting the bookstore and Michaels we got to the stop just in time to see the 8:40 bus home drive off. And the next bus due in another hour. This time Greg took over, finagling us a ride home with his mom.
The 350 to Burlington – it looks like a good idea, but somehow never is.
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