Catching the bus-#Sol 16
In the past two years, I have realized I need more Fresh Air than one of my favorite NPR shows. I need open space, skies, green space and the ability to breathe. It may be that teaching full time and then rushing over to care for my dad has taken a toll. I was literally taking a couple of steps to the car, driving, and then entering a garage. Eventually, instead of going from the garage straight into the school, I would step out and take the longer way just to be outdoors, just to see some green space, just to breathe before entering the building. Those little walks refreshed me: Fresh Air. Thank you Fresh for invigorating me for the day..
Eventually my car started to become unreliable, and I found myself taking the train and bus. Months after I realized it was therapeutic to see people, hear laughter, and just sit. I felt alive again. One night on the ride home, I texted my sister. I had reached an epiphany: the train and bus are the most social life I get since I have become my father’s primary caretaker as his memory is slowly overtaken by Alzheimer’s. On the bus or train, I can be around people. I can simply sit and be still. If the bus or train breaks down, I can get off and wait for the next one. I can be still yet surrounded by other human beings who do not need me to teach, clean, or drive...Thank you trains and buses.
Recently, I have noticed that if I have to run for the bus in the morning, I have to run up a small uphill slope. The other day my son and I missed our connecting bus. We decided to run to the next bus stop. My son ran ahead swift and focused. I, with all my bags, ran wobbingly uphill as the bus passed me. I wanted to tell my son, "Save yourself." There was no way I could make it, but I could not breathe. The doors of the bus quickly opened as I started to slow down and give up. My son looked at me. I waved for him to go while I huffed for air. "Save yourself." I later found out my son had asked the bus driver to wait for his mother. The driver to my dismay did. So I had to keep running even faster. I prayed no impatient passenger would get upset. I had to pick up the speed with the extra bag that I really do not need flapping behind me, not so heavy backpack (I used to be worse. Thank you Google Docs.) and all the extra pounds that I have put on like an unwanted gift. I wanted to just give up: drop on the cement and throw a tantrum that the bus stop could have been closer to the one we had missed. Since the bus was waiting, I had to make an effort. Sure enough I reached the bus feeling like I had just run a relay race and handed the baton to the bus driver who took it from there. I tapped my card and blurted several thank yous to the kind driver.
I almost collapsed making my way to the back of the bus where my son was waiting calmly as if he had just taken a morning stroll. By the time I slumped down on a seat, my lungs were burning, my heart was beating out of my chest. I thought I was never going to be able to breathe. Slowly I regained composure, drank some water (my son's suggestion), and told my son. " I think it is time I take movement more seriously." Thus, I take public transportation and walk energetically to catch the bus, work my lungs, and remember to keep moving be it in or outside the gym. Going from house to car to garage to work was not healthy. Last week when my son encouraged me to keep running to catch the bus, I thanked him for encouraging me since before he can remember: his small hand tapping me on my back when I picked him up as a baby. Without knowing it, he was patting me to feeling better after a sudden but much needed and expected separation and inevitable divorce. I can still feel a small hand on my back. Once I got to work on my bus adventure day, I sent my son a text: “Thank you so much for encouraging me to run today. You have motivated me to get my masters, drive, basically smile and live. Love you.”
Okay, I wrote the draft of this piece on the train this afternoon. When I looked up, I noticed I had missed my train stop. I was so engrossed in writing the draft. Oh well, I acknowledged my frustration, got out of the train and took another train back one stop in the other direction. This has never happened to me. I could have remained annoyed, or I could just keep moving even if in the other direction.