Latest posts by Nadine Champsi (see all)
- What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: December 18-20, 2015 - December 17, 2015
- Whetstone Workgroup: A WAHM’s Dream - December 13, 2015
- What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: December 11-13, 2015 - December 10, 2015
A few months ago my 3-year old daughter did some intense soul-searching and determined that 45 was her go-to age. According to her, at age 45 all of her wildest dreams will come true. She will a) wear high heels b) birth twin baby girls c) marry her brother d) send packages at the post office and BEST OF ALL e) ride Pittsburgh’s city buses whenever she wants!
In anticipation of the big FOUR-FIVE, we regularly stop in at local bus stops and try them out for size. We sit on the benches. We watch the differently-colored buses go by and choose our favorites. We talk to regular bus-goers.
“When I’m 45 I can ride the bus, right?” she asks me at least once a day.
I nod and go with it. After all, I’m a little intimidated by taking both my kids on the bus by myself. Plus, we have reliable vehicles and we don’t live in a very bus-friendly area. Nevertheless, much like my daughter, I am a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Port Authority buses. I used them almost exclusively when I was a student at Pitt and loved them. I could study, read, people-watch, and sight-see while letting the bus drivers do the work of commuting for me.
Although it’s not very convenient for us to use the bus these days, I really love the IDEA of moving my family, our city, and American culture toward a place where public transportation will be more available and acceptable. So, I’m starting by promoting its use to my kids. I have been biding my time until my youngest got a little older (but preferably NOT waiting until my daughter turned 45) to start using the buses again….
Well, the stars aligned this Friday afternoon. The grey skies cleared up after a week of DISMAL in the city. My husband magically appeared around 1 pm after a surprisingly short day at work. My son went down easily for a nap. And my daughter was ready for an adventure! So, I decided to invoke my favorite mantra– Carpe Diem –and seize the opportunity to formally introduce my daughter to Port Authority. Plus, I wanted her to see that she doesn’t have to be 45 years old to start living her dreams… she can do it now! I packed her up in the car, we drove and parked in Friendship, and we hopped on a 71C bus headed downtown.
She spent the trip alternating between total serenity and excited giddiness. For the most part, the gentle vibration of the bus seemed to put her in a meditative mood. She watched the people get on and off. She watched the vehicles pass alongside us. She rested her head on my arm and munched on her snack. But, every once in a while she would see something really COOL and get pumped; for example, the Cathedral of Learning or the view of the South Side as you leave Oakland or the tall buildings downtown. Then, she wanted to kneel at the window. She wanted to switch seats to get a better view. And she wanted to talk with me about all she was seeing. It was so fun to her excitement! It was so fun to have that time with her…
Riding the bus was a simple outing. And yet, it was beautiful for us both. For her, it was the realization of a dream that originated back with her 15-month old nonverbal self, gesturing wildly out of the car window at passing buses. For me, it was simply lovely to spend a completely relaxed hour just BEING with her.
Plus, I think she learned a lot!! She discovered that a bus (and our city) is full of all sorts of people–old, young, handicapped, Caucasian, African-American, businesspeople, students, etc.. She got to see a ton of cool Pittsburgh spots while I could sit right beside her and talk about them with her. She learned that you can navigate much of the city on a bus instead of having to drive a car everywhere. And, most importantly–I think–she learned that the journey can be just as much fun as the destination. And she doesn’t even have to wait until she’s 45….