Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that is proud to be surviving without a car. Granted we wouldn’t be in this mess without our own malfunction on the road, but no one is hurt, and we’re still surviving sans wheels.
Maybe it was just us, but when we saw our car being towed away that snowy evening in August (really, who’s heard of snow in August except for those of us in Summit County?) we couldn’t help but feel like the tow truck was taking our existence as well.
But alas, just as there is always light at the end of a tunnel, ours came in the form of a big blue bus with the word “free” attached. See, we had heard about the Summit Stage but never actually used its services.
We were attached to our car and the ease it provided in transportation, and not to mention jamming out to a mix of Brand New, Kanye West and Dave Matthews Band through various radio stations and our IPOD.
The next morning, though, we embarked on life without wheels and ventured to the bus stop. Waiting amidst a vast amount of people, we found ourselves thinking of different problems we might encounter without a car. Basically, we wondered how everyone would react if we asked for a ride every day.
Then we rode the Stage, sitting alone on our way to work. Not knowing the system too well, that first day we got off a solid 20-minute walk away from our brown building ” only to see the Stage stop a half block away later in the day.
Every day, we found ourselves encountering new experiences and people on the bus that we haven’t previously met. From the family that went to Dillon Reservoir for the day to the tourist who’s come up to hike for the weekend to a freshman in high school worried about fitting in at Farmer’s Korner.
It was a growing experience, and it has let us know we can sit on a bus with hands full of grocery bags, as the frozen chicken-parmesan dinner begins to thaw, and not have someone give us a crazy stare.
We’ve managed to make it through a month without a car now and have begun to enjoy our to- and from-work bus ride. We sit back as we read the day’s news in the morning and let our mind relax after a day of work in the evening. It has become a part of our Summit County lifestyle, and even now, on the eve of buying a new car, we may just keep taking that bus ride ” especially if it snows.
Of course, a large part of this experience involves a big thanks to the countless Summit Stage bus drivers who drive the routes day after day. They receive the occassional thank-you from passengers, and today they receive one from us.
It’s Friday and we’re out, watching the wheels on the bus go round and round.
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