Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I have used this blog in the past to highlight some attributes of my travel personality and share my addiction to travel in general. I have shared pet peeves, quirks and my own public service announcements - in the hopes that someone would read them and finally understand how to not annoy fellow passengers. I have not shared any of my fears associated with travel, until now. I am a public transport-phob (or a muniphobic) but not for the reasons you might think. This is not about germs or rubbing elbows with strangers, it's more about the process in general.
When I was in high school I had a summer job across town. I usually rode my bike to and from work, because although I was working for my dad at the time, he left WAY too early for my liking and I figured I was being very grown up by doing it my own way. For some reason, I decided to take the public bus home from work one day. Public transportation wasn't overly popular where I grew up so I had never used it in Maine. (When I lived in NYC as a kid we had used it often but my parents where always in charge of the details on that.) On this particular day I rode the bus will full confidence that it would eventually go where I needed to be let off.
I was wrong, of course. The bus finally stopped on yet another side of town from where I lived and the bus driver told me I needed to get off as it was the end of the line. I panicked. I actually needed to be home for something that night and this was before the era of cell phone technology. I remember walking/running home, probably crying in anger at how I had failed at this bus thing. It was not my finest moment.
Since then, having grown up, purchased my own cars and bought a house in the 'burbs, I still am not in a position where public transport is a part of my life. So, when I travel to a place where buses and subways are the norm I freak out a little bit. If I am with other people I play it cool and pretend I know what we're doing and where we're going, secretly hoping that I can sponge off the other person's transportation-related skills. But I'm not always with other people and I know that this phobia is limiting - trust me, I have walked sometimes more than one human should in a day just to avoid navigating which line to get on. Brian and I even had an incident on our honeymoon in Dublin with a bus snafu and a giant walk back to our hotel.
I am sharing all this now because I am determined to fix my problem. Since I am going to be in NYC, Chicago and D.C. in the near future I am going to have some time to practice and hopefully get over this silly problem once and for all, hopefully. I just thought writing it down would allow some of you to ask me how it's going from time to time and I will try to remember to share my progress. Maybe we can help each other. Do you have any travel phobias?