Monday, February 25, 2008

I missed the bus tonight.

You may be thinking: "well Eric, don't you live in New York City? Just catch the next one!" Well, the problem is that I work outside the city at Columbia's earth sciences campus in Rockland County, NY - across the river from White Plains. It's a little less than an hour from the city on a good day. And today wasn't a good day. University shuttle buses leave from each campus every hour, and the last one leaves my work for the city at 7:00pm. Not 7:00:05, nor anytime later than 7:00.

So what happens when you miss the bus? You take NJ Transit.



NJ Transit buses are fine - they are clean and safe - but they are sometimes late. Like today. And they don't care if you missed your other bus and you run up to the road to see TWO of them (not just one) passing by at that exact instant. In the 45 minutes it took for another one to arrive, I figured up the approximate odds of this happening - of being exactly 5 seconds late for not one, but two NJ Transit buses at the same time - plus a Columbia shuttle bus a few seconds earlier. It's 16,000,000 to 1.

(1 bus every 20 min on average/5 seconds = 400:1 chance of missing one bus x 400:1 (for the 2nd bus passing by at the same time!) x 5 min/5 seconds = 100:1 (for the outgoing Columbia bus meeting them both) = 16,000,000:1.

Yet, it was a good 45 minutes. I noticed that people drive a very wide diversity of cars in New Jersey - and also that they are on average mildly curious about random reasonably dressed guys standing by isolated traffic lights in the middle of nowhere at 7:30pm on a Monday night. And that the stars are beautiful and that I like the sound snow makes when it crunches under my shoes.

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

sounds like missing the bus wasn't all that bad. the stars make up for it!

Janet said...

Just one of God's lesson's in patience..sending a hug!!