So the majority of my life in NYC I have not needed a car. The NYC transit system is so good that a car is actually a hindrance in NYC rather than a necessity. I have friends who can't imagine not having a car, loving the freedom of getting into their car and being able to travel anywhere at a moments notice.
Up until now...I have not been one of those types of people.
I hate driving. Or at least I think I do. To be fair I haven't done it enough to say that I really hate it. I've NEVER owned a vehicle, never driven for an extended period of time and never driven a long distance. So who's to know if I'd hate it or if I just have convinced myself that I do.
My friends who know me well are laughing at this post right now because they know I avoid driving at all costs. And I've taken my share of kidding about it.
But isn't public transit supposed to be better for the environment? Shouldn't we do what we can to make it available far and wide?
Well that might play well in NYC, but let's just say that the Buffalo transit system is not the equivalent of NYC's behemoth.
The light rail system goes from the University to the heart of downtown. Straight down Main Street. Where else does it go?
It's also practically the honor system. They only occasionally come and check your ticket.
My comment to city offiicials: "And that's why your subway only goes down Main Street. It's called a turnstile...and that's what makes money for your transit system along with advertising."
The bus system however, takes dollar bills on it which is something that NYC didn't have. But the buses certainly don't run very frequently, especially at night. Let's just say it's still mild in Buffalo right now, but snow is always on the horizon and waiting a long time for a bus in the freezing cold with 6 feet of snow on the ground is not my idea of a well-spent evening...
Which was exactly what I did last night, sans the cold and the snow, providing me with a lot of time for... spiritual enrichment shall we say?
Prayers included: Lord, if I see one more bus that is not mine, I am going to scream. Please help me be patient today.
Lord, help me with my confidence that I can be able to drive soon stress-free.
Lord, help me rent that albatross of an apartment in Queens.
Lord, thank you for sending me to this wonderful place to work with students here. But can you please help the politicians learn that buses should run more frequently. After all it's a social justice issue. The poor need public transit.
Lord, I'm getting cold...where is this bus? I think I might be getting the swine flu.
Lord, help me resist the temptation from crossing the street and going to the Tim Horton's for a donut. Because we all know how that ends. I get fat first of all, and then I just know I'll watch the bus I've been waiting for pass me buy as I'm getting my change.
Lord, please help me forgive my wife for telling me the wrong bus number and thank you for making me smart enough to realize that I was headed in the wrong direction after just one block.
Lord, why didn't I get a schedule this morning? I guess you didn't make me a smart as I thought!
Our Lady of the Highways pray for me today as I commute into work. Remind me that I need to keep the poor who don't have the means for transportation at their fingertips. Let me pray for single mothers who struggle to get to work to support their children. And let us pray for those who are transit workers who are responsible for the lives of so many each day that travel via public transit. And in thanksgiving I pray with great gratitude for Fr Jack and Sr Jeremy and Patty --my co-workers --who have all given me a ride during my car-less time here in Buffalo. They are great servants of your work and have built you quite a great community.
St Joseph, the patron of our parish, please help Marion and I rent our apartment as we virtually bury your statue in the ground today (or is that just for a home sale? We need a patron saint of renters!).
Today is a light day for me, as the students have a simple rosary group prayer at lunchtime, which provides a nice break in the day.
Your humble blogger is Mike Hayes, a well-known expert in the world of young adult ministry (20s and 30s) in the Catholic Church. Mike is the author of Googling God (Paulist, 2007) where he explores both the chaotic world that young people live in and their religious reactions to that world. He also explores the age of instant gratification and how churches can respond to the needs of the young adult age by using technology alongside more traditional ministry methods.
Mike founded the award winning BustedHalo.com® in 2001 and continues to contribute to it as the editor of their catechetical section appropriately named Googling God.
Recently, he left BustedHalo® to focus on more direct ministry with young people at St Joseph University Parish as a Campus Minister for the South Campus at the University at Buffalo.
He has only two loves: his adorable wife, Marion and a nine pound chihuahua named Haze, who still find him amusing enough to let them live in their home.