At last, we have arrived at the final traumatic event of my notorious worst day in Indiana (see Part 1 and Part 2). Any one of the incidents I experienced on Wednesday would be frustrating and annoying, but compounded together… Let’s just say, my tenacious, things-could-always-be-worse outlook on life was suffering some major cracks.
On the crazy bus ride to class, it occurred to me that I might need to go to the student health center to get the cut on my face checked because it might actually need stitches. I’ve never been stitched up before, and the thought of it was making my stomach do cartwheels (or maybe that was the bus’s seemingly random and very sudden stops and starts). I knew I wouldn’t have time to go before class, as I was already flirting dangerously with tardiness, and missing class was a definite not-going-to-happen after everything I’d been through just to get to class in the first place. Thus, my plan was to go to the health center after class.
But a meeting with my professor that I thought had been pushed to the next day was still on, meaning I didn’t finish up for the day until a couple of hours later than I had anticipated. This was pivotal for two reasons. 1) I decided the cut didn’t look so bad after a few hours of healing time. 2) I would have to wait another hour and a half to catch my shuttle home because it was lunchtime.
My face hurt, my knee hurt, the Tylenol had worn off, it had been a stressful morning, I was hungry, and I was ready to just go home. I decided to skip the student health center and not wait on the shuttle. Instead, I opted for the city bus.
That was my first error in judgment; my next was deciding to wait for the bus at the stop where it had dropped me off (where there was an enclosed shelter) instead of my usual stop (where I would be at the mercy of the wind).
After a good thirty minutes, the bus finally crested the horizon. I boarded and settled in for a relatively quick trip home….
And found myself on the other side of the river nearly twenty minutes later. “Not a big deal,” I thought at first. I knew the bus had to go through the hub at some point along this trip. Apparently, I had just gotten on the bus taking the route in the opposite direction from where I needed to go. But the route is a loop; it would drop me off at home eventually.
Yeah. So much for that line of thought.
At the hub, my bus number became a different number, meaning it took on a new route. The numbers were fairly similar, so I was quite confused, thinking I might have been on the wrong bus all along. However, after another half hour, I realized the bus number had, indeed, changed the first time — I knew this because the bus number changed again.
By this point, I was a good twenty miles from home, on the complete opposite side of town, and I had been on the bus for nearly an hour. In a frazzled, near-panic, I pulled the cord and got off when the bus stopped in front of a Wendy’s.
I was starving, but too upset to order without blubbering, so I ignored the counter and went straight to a booth in the corner to text my roommate and beg for a ride. I hated to ask, and if I hadn’t reached mission critical on what I could handle in any one day, I would’ve just used my bus app and tried to figure out which hops to take so I could at least get back to campus (and my familiar, faithful shuttle). But the day was just too much, and I’m human enough to admit, I went into the bathroom at Wendy’s and cried. Twice. It was on the second such trip that my wonderful, fantastic, best-roomie-in-the-world, I’ll-cook-you-dinner-for-a-week-if-you’ll-just-come-get-me roommate called me. She was off work and on her way!!!!!!!!!
Still sniffling a little, I went back to my seat and attempted to compose myself. After a few minutes, I realized I was about as presentable as I was going to get, and knowing I still had some time to wait, I finally went to order a sandwich.
I was standing behind the barrier perusing the menu when I heard someone say, “Excuse me.” Thinking I was in the way of someone who wasn’t on the verge of falling apart and who actually knew what they wanted to order, I mumbled an apology and moved out of the way without really sparing a glance.
And then I heard it again. “Excuse me.”
Confused, I turned and faced a stranger.
“Can I buy you lunch?” he asked. “You just look like you are having a really bad day, and I would like to buy your lunch.”
And just like that, I was blubbering all over again.
My insanely awful, horrendously bad day was turned around by a little kindness from a stranger, not to mention a tremendous favor by my roommate. I graciously thanked the man for his offer of lunch but declined, and I ate my sandwich while I waited for Danielle to pick me up. I joked that I looked so pathetic, a stranger took pity on me, but his generosity really did brighten an extremely dark day. Even though the day was awful, it still produced a good memory. And after all, it’s the bad days that make you fully appreciate the good ones (and it’s the hard times that make you truly appreciate a good roommate). 🙂
I’ll leave you with a serendipitous picture someone posted on Facebook just as I was about to publish this blog post: