Step 2 in the frugality plan involves riding the bus. People that don't live in the upstate may be surprised about our "cat bus" system. You don't pay as you go on the bus system here. It is a system paid by fees of Clemson University and taxes from the cities of Clemson, Seneca, Pendleton, and Anderson. In other words, it doesn't cost anything extra to ride the buses. I have heard that the gas prices have increased in the last couple months so I thought this would be a good way to 1. save money and 2. exercise.
The bus stop is about a mile from my house and it drops off about a mile from the church. I know I could walk but I have decided to start riding my bike and since the bus has a bike rack........whallllllaaa! Double Great for me.
I grew up riding the public bus system in Nashville. I think I still have my EZ rider card from back in the day. I made up some sort of funny name to put on my card. Something like "Ted Nugent". They never checked the name anyways as long as the picture looked right. Riding out of necessity you don't really get inconvenienced by all the weird folks you meet on the bus system. I saw fights, people yelled, a couple folks nodded off to sleep on my shoulder. I even saw a kid get killed one time. I think he was high. He got off the bus and immediately ran in front of the bus into oncoming traffic. I remember feeling so bad for the bus driver even though it wasn't his fault. Cleanliness and crowds of people don't usually go hand in hand either on the public bus system. All par for the course when that is what you expect.
The cat bus system on the other hand is clean, "free" and hardly anyone rides it. How can this be? How have I not been riding it all the time before now?
The only answer I can come up with is convenience. I have to alter my schedule to the bus route. I might get sweaty biking back and forth. I may need to make an emergency visitation. All legit.......but not really necessary. Its really just what I want to do and is easier for me because I am financially able.
There are all kinds of ways to rationalize my behavior. I am paid as a minister and I need to be "available" whatever circumstances arise. That is what I am paid for. But would anyone at church object if I took the $100-150 bucks I spent on gas each month and used it for supporting three or four children in the orphanage even if it meant my response time to whatever church crisis arose declined by about 2 hours? I doubt it.
So I thought about that as I rode and talked to Allen, one of the other four people on the bus. He is a vet, used to work for Greyhound and is originally from the area. He lived in Knoxville for a while, has moved around a bunch and has lots of family in the area. A nice guy......that I may never have met if I drove in listening to sports talk. I doubt we will become bestest buddies......but you never know.
I thought about my "conveniences" as I prayed and thought about my routine, my schedule, and the decisions I make. Why don't I automatically think about how "convenient" it is to be able to interact with my neighbors on the bus? Why do I value the things I do? I know my selfishness is involved in this dilemma somehow but I am not going to beat myself up or feel guilty about it. Or should I? I am just going to pray that God change the things I want, to be the things he wants. What is convenient is based upon what you value. Therefore, I am going to pray that my "value system" changes.
Oh and I can't believe I am actually sore after that little bit of riding.