Friday, September 30, 2016

The Bus Ride from Hell

It was last weekend when we boarded a bus that would take us to San Francisco and the Museum of Modern Art. We were supposed to be riding in a modern coach with all of the amenities, including a rest room. We were also supposed to be departing on time. 7:30 was the announced departure and we were all in the parking lot, eager to be on our way. 7:45 came and there was no bus in sight. It was around 8 AM when we learned that the bus had a flat tire and would be there soon. Some of us took a long walk to the far corner of the shopping center, for a Starbucks of some kind. Myself and others took the cheap route by walking down to Trader Joe's and getting a small sample coffee that is always available for free.

Finally, at 10 to 9, the bus arrived and we all were on board in record time. The driver put the bus in gear and off we went. In the wrong direction. There was hurried discussion with the driver and the leader at the stop sign and the bus then made a right turn and returned to the parking lot. Some more discussion went on and the driver took us out of the lot and we were on our way, in the right direction. It turned out that the driver didn't know how to get there and the bus had no GPS unit on it. Our leader assured us that she was giving the driver directions by using her cellphone. She had to yell to give us this information as the microphone/sound system wasn't working.

It was about that time that we heard, from the back of the bus, "The toilet won't flush." Great! A bus full of older citizens and no toilet. What was next?

Once we got over the 'new' Bay Bridge the driver said that she had been told that there was no place to park the bus to unload at the SFMOMA and we would be dropped off at the Jewish Museum, just a few blocks away. Everyone on board vetoed that plan immediately and told the driver that she HAD TO drop us off in front of SFMOMA. Okay. That was the new plan. And it worked. There was parking for busses right in front of the museum and we were all grateful to be off of the bus and on our way to a wonderful afternoon at the museum. And it was. But, before we left, we were told to return to this same spot at 4:45 to get back on the bus which would leave at 5 PM on the dot. The same time that the museum closed.

The museum was fantastic. I got to see original pieces by artists that I have revered. And there were 6 floors of exhibits. But, first we had to get some lunch, for energy. We chose the museum lunch room and found the prices were astronomical. I had a bagel with smoked salmon and a cup of squash soup for the bargain price of $21. But, all prices in the Bay area are shockingly high because of the influx of high-tech millionaires from San Jose/Silicon Valley. Rents have quadrupled.

At this point, I have already taken 2 Norco for the pain and I'm depending on my walking stick. But with all of this beautiful art to see, I'm ignoring it as best I can. I do take many opportunities to sit and simply look at my favorite paintings.

In the museum they have the Red elevators (4) and the Silver elevators (3). And they have stairs; long, long flights of stairs. It seemed as if we had to wait a long time for an elevator and then I stood back and watched the doors opening and closing. The Red elevators only had one working elevator. The Silver had 2 out of 3. So we spent a lot of time in the stairwells. Pretty soon I had taken another 2 Norco.

All good things must come to an end and at 4:45 we were eager to sit down in the luxurious seats on the bus. Except, there was no bus. And no place to sit. Phone calls were made and after 30 minutes or more, we learned that the driver was lost in downtown San Francisco. She wasn't sure where she was.
At this point I had run out of pain meds and the pain was overwhelming me. I sat down on the sidewalk with my back against a light pole. The pain had turned everything to black. I couldn't think beyond the pain. And time went on. And still no bus. And I was not the only one in pain. A bus load of citizens over the age of 65 will have a large number of them suffering from all kinds of pain producing ailments. We all needed to sit down!

Then, at 6 PM the bus rolled up and we all made it aboard. Gratefully. And it was a very quiet 3 and a half hour trip home.

Even though the bus ride was hellish, the museum was not and I'm very glad to have gone. I really want to see it again on a day when I am guaranteed a nice ride and when all of the elevators are working. I'll bring a sack lunch...

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