This afternoon was all about adventures in grocery store land, and the nearest grocery store is Harris Teeter. For my new southern friends, apparently this is a major chain they recognize. For me, it is basically like Safeway with a more difficult name to remember.
But the more exciting part was navigating the D.C. bus system for the first time. Yesterday, they told us, “Washington rides the metro; D.C. rides the buses.” This basically refers to the fact that there are two Washingtons: The Capitol-Hill, powerful-people Washington we see on the national news, and the District of Columbia, the neighborhoods of the city. So, D.C. rides the buses and apparently I do now, too. Though I obviously don’t ride the bus very well.
Due to scheduling confusion, I planned to meet friends on the bus/at the store…but when I actually boarded, I was by myself. I got on and promptly dropped all of my change on the ground, holding up the rest of the line. Little did I know that all of the real D.C.’ers use their handy-dandy SmarTrip cards; change is so 20th century. Then, I mistakenly asked for a transfer, a paper indicating I had paid the fare and could…well, transfer to another bus. The driver gave me the eyebrow-raise and said, “We don’t do no transfars here in this town.” Oh. Well, in my town, we still get paper bus transfaaarrrs…and I even live in a city that conserves paper.
Traffic was terrible because it was rush hour, and I tried to remember my stop: Florida and Eckington. Right as I started to worry, it popped up on the screen and I yanked the cord to request a stop. We didn’t stop. In fact, we kept right on trucking…er…bussing through THREE stops before the driver finally pulled to the side and opened the door. At least he had the courtesy to shout, “Hey, thanks, lady!” at me as I stepped off in a huff. I doubled back the five blocks to where it should have stopped, where I was at least able to meet up with another classmate.
After shopping, I had another first-time experience: Carrying all of my groceries on the bus. I have always had my car with me at school, so I failed to consider the weight of the food I was buying…and that I would have to carry it myself. That sounds petty, but it’s true; in the future, I will definitely buy less! But riding the bus through D.C. made me conscious of how blessed I am to be able to have “all I can buy,” to be able to have more than I can carry. I felt as if I were being watched, and it reminded me that I’m no longer in Queen Anne. Life is different here. The people are different here. I will be different after being here.
Maybe that is a good thing; maybe I will at least be able to ride the bus like a normal person.