Who knew one block could change everything? (<-- that line should be read in a Don LaFontaine voice.)
For the past three and a half years I've been catching the bus from the Armory at Lark and Washington. It's quite the little slice of life, let me tell you. Actually, I probably don't have to tell you; you probably already know that the swarming crowd can range from student to indigent to criminal and worse (like girls who wear high heels with sweatpants. Terrifying.) During peak hours the best you can hope for is to claim one square of sidewalk and avoid eye contact until your bus trundles up. Unless of course you feel like doling out a bunch of cigarettes; in that case, by all means, go ahead and make friends.
It wasn't until, honestly, two weeks ago that I realized my new(ish) apartment on Lancaster is closer to the Dove side. I'd just been on autopilot since the move, walking up to Lark and the Armory, and hadn't even thought about it. The idea of a shorter (but steeper, more energizing) walk was appealing so I went that way and waited at the quiet stop outside the museum...with no one...and it was lovely. There were no high school kids and the ground wasn't peppered with spit. Even the pigeons seemed less wonky-eyed and unbalanced. When I boarded the near-empty bus I had my choice of seats. It was a whole new novel world, just a block away. At the next stop what seemed like thirty people funneled in and I imagined myself at the very end of the line, cursing and knowing I'd have to stand. How foolish I'd been.
Since then I've remembered to go in the opposite direction a grand total of three times so I can't exactly count myself as reformed, but I have seen the promised land of bus stops, and someday I'll be awake enough to get back there.