Darice Clark is a nonfiction writer, screenwriter, novelist, and public speaker. Her newest book, Enraged Gratitude: Or How I Moved from Rage to Peace While Riding the Buses and Trains of LA, is available at Amazon.com.
Spontaneity + Errands + Public Buses = Sheer Stupidity
I have been riding public transportation in Los Angeles for almost seven years. So I should know by know that deciding to spontaneously run errands after work is a ridiculously dumb idea.
But last week, well, quite simply, I lost my mind.
I ran several errands without any planning or forethought. So activities that would have normally taken only two hours in total took five hours. Normally I plan my errands and bus trips so that I can get most of what I need done in one location to avoid back tracking and keeping the number of buses to a minimum. The following experience is why I have learned to do this ahead of time.
It began by buying my monthly bus pass. I hit the check cashing place that sells them. Then I thought I'll buy a bathtub stopper for my bathtub since the one that came with the apartment leaks. Go figure. These seem like simple enough tasks.
Maybe it was because I did this on a Friday right after work. I was tired. Not thinking clearly. Because the check cashing place was near a Whole Foods and CVS I thought I'll just get the bathtub stopper from there.
The problem with my bathtub is that it has some fancy modern stopper attached to the tub that gets pushed down and I can't remove it from the tub. But when it is pushed down it doesn't keep the water in the tub. Instead, it just slowly drains with this really loud gurgling sound. Impossible to take a relaxing bath to that sound.
So none of the bathtub stoppers sold at grocery stores or drug stores work in my tub. I discovered this after walking to the Whole Foods and CVS near the check cashing place and then taking a bus to a different strip mall with a Ralph's and a Rite-Aid. No dice.
I then thought I'll try the hardware store. But I needed to charge my cell phone first by then. So I hang out a Starbucks for 30 minutes to charge the phone. I love their new wireless chargers. Fantastic. After charging the phone and a "pick me a up" americano coffee I get on the bus to the hardware store. I arrive literally one minute after they close. This is when it occurs to me I should have gone to the hardware store first and then Starbucks. Alas, Alack.
Now I also needed toiletries and groceries but I was so focused on the bathtub stopper I didn't think about that when I was literally at two other grocery stores and two drug stores two hours earlier. So now I have to get back on the bus to first hit the Walgreens which is on the way back across town to my neighborhood. At this point I may as well head back to where I actually live. This also has the advantage of getting near the Sprouts which is in a neighborhood on the way to my actual neighborhood.
So on the bus ride to Sprouts by then I am so tired and frustrated that I have still do not have a bathtub stopper I pull the stop request cord four bus stops too early. Now since I am the only one getting off and no one is getting on, I am too embarrassed to the tell the bus driver I requested the stop too early.
Why I was embarrassed I do not know. Maybe it was the pure fatigue. It wasn't hunger since I at least treated myself to dinner at Whole Foods earlier. So I get off the bus early and walk an extra twenty unnecessary minutes to the Sprouts.
Five hours later from my quest I make it home without my prize a bathtub stopper.
So what do I do?
I go to Amazon.com and order a bathtub stopper for $7 and to avoid the $8 in shipping I order enough books to get free shipping.
A girl has to have her bath.
(previously published in Writings by Darice)