We enjoyed a deliciously lazy Sunday morning a few weekends ago. We stayed in our pajamas playing with trains on the floor, the oatmeal bowls never ran out and a new Spotify playlist set that perfect easy-going mood.
Mid-morning Simeon took off for a couple hours to get some computer work done and I took Eli to our favorite new spot for entertainment: the bouncy house at the mall. (That place deserves its own post!).
Post lunch at home, Eli hadn’t yet had a full nap and I hadn’t had a full cup of coffee so rather than going for a long car drive which we sometimes do to ensure he sleeps, we unearthed the stroller from the garage and took a meandering walk to our favorite local coffee shop.
It was our first walk to the coffee shop since we bought our home and we hadn’t yet tested the time and distance but we figured it would be doable: long enough for Eli to fall asleep and short enough not to wear us out.
We were about 15 minutes in, approaching the main street when we passed the local Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus station. I have to be honest… I have hardly ever considered buses. Though they obviously take up considerable physical space in my vicinity, they have always been very nearly invisible to me! Maybe it’s because I never have considered myself a bus rider. The only time I ever consistently rode a bus was in college. The university I attended ran a bus system in partnership with the city and students and the general public made frequent use of it. Otherwise, it has never crossed my mind that I was a good candidate for my local transit system. In a recent interview I did on the Family Pedals podcast I spoke with host, Sarah Kopper, about the invisibility of options even when they exist right under our noses.
Thankfully, this time it clicked. The bus could solve a lot of the issues I was facing trying to bike the nine and a half miles from my house to daycare and work. By taking up the bulk of our travel route the bus would enable me to continue on the path of reducing our reliance on a second car.
I grabbed a handful of schedules and felt positively giddy. It was like unearthing treasure that had never been truly buried.
Back at home that evening I browsed each schedule and identified a possible route. It was a decent route-not perfect but definitely good enough. It would take leaving my house 15 minutes earlier than usual and getting to work a half hour later than usual. If I could make up some work time at home, it would be totally doable. And that’s how our new new transportation plan was hatched!
I don’t doubt that I was able to finally “see” the bus because I was newly primed. Where before I had only seen obstacles, I now could see options thanks to listening to people’s stories on podcasts and following folks on social media. I was made aware of the variety of transit options and the value of each. Sarah, who lives with her family in Bloomington, Indiana, made biking in foul weather seem more doable. And reading about Alissa Walker, a mid-career professional who lives with her husband and two kids car-free in Los Angeles felt positively liberating.
If they could make it work, why couldn’t I?
Representation matters. It matters that I saw women like me, career women with young children, living a lifestyle that wasn’t centered around a car. This experiment feels even more important to me now, because I know it’s not just impacting my family’s life, but potentially others like me who never saw the value or perhaps the opportunity of this lifestyle before they saw themselves in me.