Pleasant Misadventures on the 51

“That’s it for today,” professor Rovira announced.

Picking up my back-pack or as I like to think of it, my “ton of bricks,” I glanced at the time on my iPhone – 5:31pm. That’s enough time to rush back to studio, pack a few things from my desk and speedily make my way to the nearest bus stop. Leaving Prof. Rovira’s classroom, I began to calculate.

The nearest bus stop is a 15-20 min walk from campus.
Skateboard? Left it at home.
The bus usually arrives every 20 minutes, give or take.
Time to get going.

That was the process that began to brew in my brain. The gears of time were turning, and as far as I was concerned, getting home by 8:00pm was a priority – I had more than a few drawings to complete for a studio pin-up the next day.

When I arrived at my studio desk, I lifted up my “ton of bricks” and immediately reached inside for my iPad, opening up the Transit Miami app. Within seconds I had my trip home from studio planned out: Walk toward SW 109 Ave – take the 137 bus toward Cutler Ridge – then the 252 bus toward the Metrorail – then take a 3 minute walk home. The next bus was arriving at 6:20pm and glancing down at my iPhone I saw that it was already 6pm. Standing at my studio desk I looked down to observe what I was wearing. “Dammit, this is just my luck… Why did I have to be wearing a bright yellow dress with hot pink Vans today? I’m definitely going to get harassed. This is Miami!” With these thoughts weighing on me, I begged my guy-friends that were close by for a jacket or a sweatshirt that I could borrow for the night. With a 2-hour bus ride home ahead of me, I did not want to spend the trip trying to avert my eyes from the looks of potential creeps. With no sweatshirts or jackets readily available, I buttoned up the decorative cardigan I had been wearing over my dress, took off the silver bracelet dangling on my wrist and removed the necklace I was wearing, placing them in my overloaded backpack.

I was finally ready.

Walking to the nearest bus stop, I blasted Mac Miller’s Blue Side Park album through my headphones and put on my bitch-face that would’ve read to any passerby as, “Don’t even think about coming near me.” When I finally got to the bus stop, I sat down with my backpack and waited for my 6:20 to arrive.

6:20, 6:30, then 6:35pm…

“Where is this bus?” I groaned agitatedly. Barreling in at 6:36pm, the bus finally pulled up nearby by, easing on its brakes to stop. Happily, I walked onto the bus, put my money in the cash slot and found myself a corner seat by a window. “Here we go,” I said to myself as I pulled out my iPhone to check the time. 6:40 – not bad! Heading down W. Flagler St., I thought to myself, “Great, the bus will probably loop around to SW 8th St., and take SW 137th Ave all the way to SW 152nd St. But, the bus never “looped” anywhere. It passed SW 98th Ave, SW 96th Ave, then SW 92nd Ave – chillingly I realized that I was on the wrong bus… It wasn’t going to loop around and I was headed straight for downtown, going in the completely opposite direction of South Kendall.

You better get off this bus, Danyealah…

Unfortunately, the 51 Downtown Express did not make stops along W. Flagler St. – hence the name “express.” Inwardly, I began to worry. Checking my iPhone I saw the time was 7:15pm. Luckily, the man sitting across from me was in a similar predicament: he too was on the wrong bus and had tried to request a stop along W. Flagler. Finally, the bus made a stop all the way by SW 1st St. and I immediately raced off the bus. Finding the nearest bus stop only a few paces away, I sat down and took note of the area I was in: sketchy as sketchy gets. By this time my bitch-face was stone-cold and I started to worry that I might have to phone a friend…

Once I rerouted my trip, my sole focus became making it home and I could feel the time slipping from my hands.

Take the next bus to NW 2nd Ave – walk to Government Center Train Station – take the Metrorail to Dadeland South – take the 252 bus toward the Metro Zoo.

That was the plan. The next bus arrived at 7:26pm and I hopped on for a quick ride to NW 2nd Ave. Getting off right at Government Center I rushed past a group of homeless men playing chess in the park and made my way up the stairs to the train station. Once I purchased my ticket, it was just a matter of waiting. I swiped my MetroCard and lugged my ton of bricks up the next set of stairs to the third floor, where my train would be arriving.

Waiting, looking, worrying.

This has to work…

When the train arrived at 7:50pm, you can imagine my relief. Stepping into the hub of steel, I took the first seat I saw and plunked down into the chair, letting out a sigh of exhaustion. The train ride home was swift and the final stop was mine. Moving toward the exit with a mass of people, I prepared myself for the next round of waiting.

Thirty minutes passed before the 252 bus arrived at the Dadeland South station. While there I was utterly bored and took this picture to amuse myself:

20140719-104445-38685665.jpg

A man on his bike had climbed into a small tree, nestling himself comfortably while he gabbed on his phone. Shortly after, the bus arrived. To my surprise as I walked toward the bus, I noticed my roommate Caroline was getting on too. “What a pleasant coincidence!” I squealed to myself. Noticing each other, we gladly hugged and I helped her carry a few bags onto the bus. Happy to have a friend with me, my arduous journey home had finally come to an end. Taking the three-minute walk home together was comforting, and once we finally arrived at our house, she and I couldn’t help but laugh and remark how happy we were to have had each other.

In the end, I suppose the old cliché holds truth: our best experiences in life are never about the destination per say, they are about the strength we gain from the journey. I must tell you that I feel like a stronger woman for having navigated my way around Miami. At times I did feel slightly lost and emotionally distressed, but that did not stop me from doing what I had to do. So here’s to you, my pleasant misadventure on the 51! Thank you for helping me discover my ability to be strong, resourceful and independent. 🙂

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