Daily routines have been of utmost importance since I started school. You can never keep your ride waiting.
My dad commandeered the morning ritual in our elementary and high school years. My brother and I would get the same shout to wake us up. I’d get myself up and ready while my brother hit the snooze button.
There was something about the idea of lateness that my dad didn’t like, and I grew to share that feeling.
Now that I’m a ‘responsible’ adult and have moved away from home, the thought of being late has become an anxiety trigger for me. Thus, I aim to keep myself as calm – and as time sensitive – as possible.
No matter how far away you live from your school or place of work, it’s always important to have some sort of routine. Luckily for me, I take a five-minute bus ride from my building and I’m at my job; but that doesn’t hinder me from showing up half an hour early.
The trip to school is handled in a similar way.
I have lived in the same place for about four years now. In that time I have attended both Brock University in St. Catharines and Niagara College in Welland. The only thing that has changed is the extra bus I have to take from Brock to Welland; it’s scheduled to leave every hour on the hour.
But that’s no problem. I make it a point to be ready and waiting for the bus as close to 15 minutes past the hour as I can be. Not even 10 minutes after I get on the bus, I’ve arrived at Brock. Early.
I’m so used to it that I don’t mind at all. I find a way to pass the time before the bus is due to arrive.
My roommate, Steven Thususka, has his own routine that works well for him. He often takes the bus with me in the mornings.
“I get up around two hours before the bus comes around just to get ready and try and eat something so that I’m not late,” he said. “Half the time I take a nap on the bus if I don’t have time to get a coffee.”
According to the online schedule, the Welland Transit bus is due to arrive at Brock 10 minutes before the hour.
Does it always arrive when it’s supposed to? No.
“It definitely bothers me when the bus is not on time,” said Practical Nursing student Breanna Kehoe. “People may not think a minute or two is a big deal, but when you’re standing out in the cold or have another bus to catch, that two minutes makes a world of difference.”
As time passes the line grows. People stand wherever they want and everyone crowds the doors when the bus eventually shows up.
Do I have a problem with this? Maybe. But that’s not the point.
It’s inconvenient, but that’s how it goes.
The real problem arises once everyone’s on the bus. This is where you see why it may have been late. This is where the root of the vicious cycle is best observed.
Once everyone has spilled onto the bus and taken all the good window seats, it’s time to play the waiting game – and not Homer Simpson’s version where we give up to play Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Time marches on super slowly as the hour approaches. This is when I start to check my phone every 30 seconds to make sure the clock hasn’t stopped.
Finally the hour hits. You think the bus is going to start moving, right? Wrong.
This is when the stragglers – who probably decided to wait until the last possible minute to leave home – are being accommodated.
Anxiety kicks in, accompanied by anger.
“It sucks being late,” said Thususka. “Especially when the bus from Brock to Niagara College waits an extra five minutes before departing and ends up speeding on the way to school just to give maybe five minutes to get to class, if that.”
Growing up, I was always told being late was rude. I would hope it’s also a learning experience. If you miss the bus, it’s your own fault. You need to be more considerate or manage your time properly.
Just like us, busses have a schedule that needs to be followed to a T or else the system is compromised.
How can we pride ourselves for being on time if we have to rely on transit to do the same? When does one person’s lack of time management trump an entire busload’s ability to stick to a schedule?
Maybe they’re on to something. Maybe I should just start sleeping in.