Have you ever noticed that when people travel together, there is a dominant trip partner and a recessive trip partner? Roy is the dominant partner in our travels and I am the one who is along for the ride. He religiously reads the travel books, gleans fascinating information and facts and unravels the deep mysteries of the public transit systems in strange cities.
I’ve noticed we are not alone in this. Other people get on public buses and immediately pocket theirs and their partner’s bus passes. Other couples sit together, one patiently watching the other read maps and figure out routes. The dominant always asks the questions, always buys the tickets and always leads the way.This has always been the way for Roy and I.
I’m so used to it, I don’t even notice that I’m kind of the dead weight of the travel group. So, when the dominant partner makes a misstep, it’s a real disaster and with the recessive dead weight along for the panic ride, it can become exciting, but not fun!
Today, we had such an epic fail. Two days in San Francisco and Roy has the bus system pretty much figured out. He drags me to the bus stop he wants and then orders, “Watch for bus 30 going to Caltram Depot.” Then he studies the map. “Here comes 30!” I excitedly head for the bus. “That bus is 30 going to Jefferson,” he says calmly dragging me back to the curb. It was going so well. I never figure out how he stands in the midst of tall buildings in a big city and figures streets and directions, but I am definitely in awe of his ability. And that’s why today was odd.
I blame it on the cable car.We decided one just doesn’t visit San Francisco and not ride the cable cars. After having done it, I don’t necessarily recommend it. We stood in a long, sunny line for a little over an hour, were assailed by terrible music from a nearby panhandler who wasn’t too shy to beg for donations, and in the end, we were packed so tightly into the cable car that we could see nothing but the stomachs of the people standing in front of us. And we were the lucky ones, because at least we got to sit.
The car jerked and rumbled and bumped its way up and down the hilly (and when I say hilly, I MEAN it) streets, and every so often, the driver would stop and pack a few more people in the car. It was very claustrophobic for everyone and it precluded us from seeing anything. About all we got were sore bottoms from the rough ride and claustrophobia.
When we got off, Roy said, “We’re not waiting in line for another hour to bump blindly back down the street in the cable car, we’ll take the Number 30 back up the hill and it will go practically right by our hotel.” That sounded like an excellent plan, but it didn’t go well. First, we had to walk five blocks to find a bus stop with a 30 bus stopping at it. After we got there, we were convinced by a native of the city to take the express bus.
It’s not like Roy to take random advice that goes against what he has figured out for himself, but for some reason, the dominant partner made a mistake and got on the express bus, so of course, the recessive partner went along. Ten blocks into the bus ride, Roy decided we were wrong, so then, we made our second mistake: we got off the bus in a strange spot, with no recognizable bus stops and a street that we couldn’t find on our map.
We began rushing madly up the street in the direction we thought we should go. It doesn’t help when the recessive partner perceives that the dominant partner is somewhat panicked, because at least in my case, I was willing to help with the panic.
And that’s when I discovered a new definition for lost. Lost is when you are standing on a street corner where many of the street signs are in foreign languages (at least, foreign to us), looking at a map, which mercifully was in English, and the business outside of which you have chosen to stop is a topless bar. We didn’t need English to figure that one out.
It was at this point, that Roy decided he had about had his fill of being lost and since I, as the recessive partner, was doing my part by panicking, it was up to him to get us out of it. Whether it was his outstanding skill at this or sheer dumb luck, he managed to find a bus stop just down that street which had the right bus and the next thing we knew, we were on our way back to our hotel and the adventure was over.
Roy doesn’t have many epic fails when it comes to getting us around on our travels and today I was reminded that this is a very good thing!