Sometime in the past five years, while I was clearly not paying attention, they changed the policies about bus routes in City By the Sea. In trying to search for the high school bus routes, I discovered that at 1.5 miles away (according to Google Maps, though it seems further in traffic), we live too close for LP to ride a bus to Downtown High School. At least I think so. Gone are the days when the local paper publishes all the routes. Now you go to the website, which links to a school website, which announces "High School transportation policies are being revised." The page is copyrighted 2007.
I also think the chances she'll make that walk in a timely fashion in the morning are pretty slim. Good thing I was planning to drop her there in the mornings, eh?
What I wasn't planning to do is pick her up in the afternoon. She gets out at 1:55 p.m., and that frankly isn't always a free moment in my schedule, especially in these days when I don't work in the same town. I suppose it's possible she can join a wave of young people walking down the hill and through the park and there picking up the same route she walked from Renowned Middle School. If everyone is doing it, I suppose that's okay.
And there is a city bus, for which we could buy a pass, I guess, though I'm not sure why people who pay property taxes out the you-know should have to also shell out for bus fare for a high school student.
My guess is this all results in more kids taking cars to school when they reach driving age. This does not seem like a solution to the problems of economics or consumption or pollution in our fair city.
#1 Son got up and hiked a few blocks to get a bus to the same high school. I frequently picked him up in the afternoon. It gave us time together before the younger children got home. It's weird to realize he started high school before Pure Luck was part of our family, while I was in the midst of my return to seminary, before I had a ministry job. I would go downtown early and hang out at the Public Market, reading a book, an actual bound book. I had no laptop. I had no Kindle. I had no iPod of any kind.
I sat with a book. I watched the people. I got a coffee. (Okay, that's not a change.)
You could buy vegetables at the market, which had a fabulously high ceiling and beautiful rustic rafters, and little stalls for local businesses. There were restaurants at either end and other food purveyors. The downstairs seating area had a big fireplace.
It's closed now. The owners could not make a go of it. It's been empty for several years and is currently undergoing remodeling to be a call center. Some of the anchor tenants moved across the street into a storefront, but without an attached parking garage, it has less attraction as a destination.
Parking in general is a headache near Downtown High School. That's one thing that does not change.
Another is that the end of summer means a renovated sleep schedule. It's 7:24. Tomorrow we'll be heading out the door for the first day of school. Today LP lies abed. She needs to finish an essay about "Animal Farm" today, as well as proof-reading her assignment on "To Kill a Mockingbird." She's been working on these since July. She likes to take her time. That needs to change, too, I fear, as the doors of Downtown High School open to receive her.
We'll figure out our new routine. We'll throw ourselves into the morning, somehow, and after Pure Luck leaves for a job in the southwest (2 months this fall), Sam and I will drive LP to school and circle around to Greyberry Woods and Star$$ before I go to work. Eventually I'll figure out a place to meet her on my day off. I'll wait for her at a coffee shop, reading a book on my iPod Kindle ap.We'll order a chai or a green tea, then make our way home.
It's a new year. Who knows what other things will change?