Thanksgiving on the Don Mills 25 bus

8 10 2011

This year, my family celebrated Thanksgiving today, as my sister’s in-laws have their turkey day on Sunday, and my nephew is going back to Queen’s on Monday. My parents now live in a condo on Don Mills Road, so I took the Don Mills 25 bus home.

Usually, this bus runs fairly often, but I waited for over 25 minutes, then four of them showed up. The last one was empty enough that I scored a single seat. As I took the bus downtown, I realized that there were a lot of people on the bus who were leading very interesting lives (as in “may you live in interesting times”, which is an ancient Scottish curse). Here’s the ones that I noticed:

  • A woman with two young children and a third on the way – she and her children and partner got off at Thorncliffe Park. (Before she left the bus, I offered her my seat, but she said she didn’t need it.) Her family clearly didn’t have much money. How do parents do it? In particular, how do parents with very little money get by without going insane?
  • Another woman with a young child in a stroller. The young child proceeded to spit up most of his recently consumed meal all over his shirt front; his mother, stoically, proceeded to wipe all of it up, as if this was just another day in the life. (I am grateful that I have never had children – I am way too selfish. Fortunately, my sisters have each had three kids, so my parents have had the full grandparenting experience.)
  • A woman in her late teens or early twenties got on when the bus was in the Flemingdon Park neighbourhood – she snuck on via the back door, and was wearing a winter coat and carrying three garbage bags. An older woman on the bus immediately noticed what I had failed to pick up: this young woman was in the process of becoming homeless. The older woman struck up a conversation with the young woman, told her of a place that she could go (it was near Queen and Bathurst), and offered to carry one of the three bags.
  • A very old woman, travelling with a walker, tried to get off the bus at Cosburn. The bus driver became aware that the woman was hopelessly lost and had no idea where she was. The driver, who seemed like a good person, tried to tell her not to get off the bus; he would take her to Pape station, where the bus route ended, and then look after her there. But the woman seemed insistent – and there was another TTC employee and at least one other person at Cosburn, which suggests that the driver may have called ahead to notify head office of the situation.
  • The driver himself was having a rough day. The bus was having troubles with its closing mechanism – the bus couldn’t go anywhere until its doors had completely closed, and the front door wasn’t quite closing properly. Twice, the driver had to get up, open the front doors manually, then close the doors; only after all of this did the bus finally start up again. During this time, his control station was repeatedly beeping, presumably because his bus was running late. (I was on the fourth bus of the 4-bus chain, but it might have been bus 1 or 2 at some point, as the buses were passing each other.) The driver handled all of this without losing his cool. It’s worth pointing out here that a lot of TTC employees are pleasant and conscientious people – I can’t count the number of times that a driver has gotten up to help a baby carriage or cart into a bus.

There were several other people on the bus, and many of them were probably leading interesting lives too – I just didn’t find out about them.

Happy turkey weekend, y’all.

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