The words kept ringing in my ears today, as I set off to buy my first bus pass in two decades.
It's not that I'm against the bus.
It's that the bus has never seemed a friendly place to me.
I suffer from agoraphobia, meaning I develop anxiety just leaving the house sometimes. I also have generalized anxiety disorder which often forces me off the bus with my heart racing and my head swirling.
For years, I couldn't work because of GAD. When I finally did get a job, I spent my lunch hour for the first few weeks wandering around downtown in a daze looking for an ambulance -- or at least a paper bag.
GAD is the real reason I don't work out of the house. In the past, I had to steel myself to get into a car just to get to an office. I found it impossible to concentrate. I get sick a lot and ended up on high blood pressure medication.
So I quit six years ago and have managed to get my GAD and agoraphobia under control.
Even the smallest interaction -- like going to a funeral as I did recently -- can send me into a tailspin.
So consider my experiment, to get out of the house and into public, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is intended to expose a person to the very stimulants that give her panic attacks in the first place.
And the bus is where I begin.
I'm not much for lineups, so I was happy to find the St. Laurent Station for OC Transpo nearly empty today when I went to get my Presto card. Two nice young men were waiting to explain the new bus ridership system to all the little old ladies. We simply filled out a little paperwork and took it to the cashier. Easy peasy.
The young fellar reminded me that anyone can use my Presto, even my chronically unemployed son who is always shaking me down for bus change especially at the end of the month when money is tight.
The whole experience went well for me, but I did feel bad for an older lady who didn't have a computer to activate her card. It's hard to believe in this day and age that not every household is Internet capable. I wanted to take her to the library, but she was ornery, so I minded my own business.
My first test will be tomorrow night with the Disney approved RCMP Musical Ride.
People in sweaty uniforms, 30 degree heat, and beautiful black horsies.
I love the smell of fresh manure in the evening.
All for free (or for a small donation).
Good way to start off the adventure.
Full steam ahead.