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Stay At Home Nerd: Chasing Down That Bus


a blogumn by Josh Pullin

Photo Credit: 1suisse

Photo Credit: 1suisse

It depresses me to see someone in Los Angeles run to catch a bus. I’ve seen the moment their faces change as they realize the ride they need is going to leave before they get there. Often times, they carry the evidence of their tardiness in plain view. Maybe it’s the untucked shirt of a hard days work, some oil on the hands from a broken down car, or the wrappers of fast food they could not go without. Whatever it is, there is a moment of panic, a moment of decision, a moment of no going back. Either they run for that bus with everything they got, or they shrug their shoulders, amble over to the stop and get ready to kill some time.

Once in a while a guy or girl will seem to break out in a sprint only to manage a few steps before giving up. I commend their awareness of self. Other times people will go for it only to have their bodies betray them. I applaud the effort even if it results in sweaty pits, shortness of breath and twisted ankles. Very few go for it and come up short, but it does happen. Hands on knees, gasping for air, choking on exhaust as that bus gets where they’re going before they do.

Having never run after a bus in my life I often wonder what the hell could be so important that someone would even bother to run. Today, as I was heading down Victory Place towards the Empire Shopping center in Burbank a forty-ish Hispanic lady with an untucked work shirt was chasing a bus turning right onto Victory Pl from Burbank Blvd. I didn’t see the moment where she made the choice to chase the bus, but I did see she had a jacket and Styrofoam food container. This told me that she had been at work since the early morning as it was early afternoon and unusually hot. It also told me that she thought she had more time. There is nothing leisurely about someone who gets up before dawn and takes a bus to work.

Again I thought what the hell could be so important to run after a bus, though. There will be another one. I promise. But, she kept running. I thought about slowing down in front of the bus to make sure the lady made it, but my wife and infant son were in the car and it occurred to me that slowing down in front of an LA bus driver might not be the safest thing. I looked ahead at the light and was grateful it would turn red before the bus got there giving the lady the time she needed to catch it. I drove through the light when it was green and though I tried to see in the rearview mirror I was unable to catch the look of relief she must have had on her face. That’s when it occurred to me that there was something I would run after a bus for.

I’ve been pretty fortunate, if that’s the right word, in my life that I’ve never really had to take care of anyone. That doesn’t mean I never cared about anyone, it just means that nobody ever depended on me to stay alive. That all changes on Monday. My wife goes back to work and I will be the stay at home dad.

My son, who is all of twelve pounds and twelve ounces, is only three months old. I will feed him, change him, put him down for naps, play with him, read to him, hold him when he cries, walk him in his stroller, take him to doctor’s appointments, but mostly I’ll just be there. I’m not complaining. The truth is there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. But, there is a part of me that sees my life passing by.

Before I had my son I had all the time in the world, but I didn’t get to where I wanted. I’m overweight. I can’t surf. I’ve never broken eighty golfing. Never been to Africa or South America. Have yet to make my directorial debut. I just don’t want my life to be one of untold stories, trips not taken, and an early ending. If life is that bus getting smaller in the distance then it’s time to pick up my baby and run. It’s up to me to show him what’s possible. After all, it’s George Eliot who said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been”.