Since graduating from high school in June 2011, Jessie has become quite accomplished at taking public transit on her own around the city. While this has required an interesting teaching technique (one part scaffolding, one part being yelled at as a mother-torturer who is making her take the bus when it would just be easier to DRIVE her! ) Jessie has successfully mastered the routes to more than 12 of her regular life destinations (including the Food Bank, H’Art Studios, dance rehearsal/class/teaching destinations, as well as all the arts venues in the city). There are so many locations because her schedule is what we have come to call irregularly regular (see calendar ). I.e., she doesn’t attend a program or work at the same place every day of the week.
Jessie is proud of this accomplishment, and so I am I, but probably for different reasons. Jessie, because she can now go just about anywhere— and I swear mastering our bus system is akin to surviving an Outward Bound adventure; and I because a) I survived the teaching process, and b) I get to add another hour or two to my working day. The only drawbacks are the number of junk food establishments she has to walk by en route (did I say walk by?, well, we are working on that), and the random unpredictable calls I get when she gets lost and I have to try to find here somewhere in the nether regions of the city.
Since she takes the bus so often, Jessie has a bus pass that she has to buy monthly. This, and a selection of basic health care and other items—mostly black pens, notebook, and paper, which she goes through at an alarming rate—is what she is responsible for remembering to buy out of her budget for basic living expenses. Sometimes, though, she forgets to buy the pass and then panics the night before the 1st of the month, and comes up with what she still thinks of as a brilliant solution: me driving her to work.
I say still, because me driving her has NEVER been an acceptable solution. It may be on the solution list, and it may be acceptable to her, but it’s never one that I agree to! Ah, the dirty work of teaching some measure of independence.
Sunday night she realized that she hadn’t bought her October bus pass, so she went to the corner store and bought 2 sheets of bus tickets (2 tickets for a bus ride, 6 tickets to a sheet) to get her through the day . . . and some in reserve just in case.
Monday, when she came home from the Foodbank (where she volunteers 2 mornings a week), we went through her purse to clean out the receipts and other bits of flotsam. Where I found this:
Six transfers, and NO bus tickets.
It appears that she used bus tickets EACH time she got on a bus (3 buses there, 3 back), instead of a transfer , because she couldn’t find her transfers . . . in her mess of a purse! This is how much it cost her to ride the bus Monday:
She didn’t want to talk about it, until I translated it into more meaningful terms, i.e., that taking the bus had cost her the equivalent of 8 muffins or a new CD AND left her no money for snacks for the week. THEN she was willing to sit down with me to review the use of transfers again.