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Always Pick The Right Side Of The Bus. . .Meaning The Left

August 25, 2022

When is the left side the right side?

I used to commute from my home in Pleasant Grove to my office in Salt Lake City. Utah Transit Authority had special commuter buses. They were not regular city buses. Instead they were more like Greyhound buses. Nice plush seats. They even had wifi. And after making a few stops in Utah county, including a stop in Pleasant Grove, the buses then got on the freeway and headed north. They exited in Salt Lake City and made a few stops around down town.

In the afternoon the pattern was repeated just in reverse. The last bus left Salt Lake at 4:30 which meant that I almost never was request to stay late. Several of us in my office took public transportation. Since Utah also employs carpool lanes it was not uncommon to have someone walk through the office around 4:15 looking for “a carpool buddy.”

The first time I took the bus, I admit I was a little nervous. I got in and quickly took a seat next to the window. But, I didn’t realize I did it wrong. I chose the right side of the bus, which is to say I chose the wrong side.

What makes the right side of the bus the wrong side? It had to do with with time and location.

I was reminded of my commuter days recently when I had to drive home from my office in South Jordan to my home in Pleasant Grove. I realized I was on the wrong side of the car, just as I had previously been on the wrong side of the bus.

I 15 headed south is a different commute than headed north

I had to head home in the morning and dealt with the sun in my eyes

See, Salt Lake City is north of Pleasant Grove. When I commute in the morning, the sun is rising in the east. That’s the right side of my car, and the right side of the bus.


Utah's summer sun coming up over the Wasatch

Both seats are not created equal when one of them is subject to the sun

When I’m headed to work, the left hand side of the car and the car (or the bus) is in the shade. Just as in the afternoon, when the hot Utah sun is headed toward the west, and I’m commuting south, the left hand side of the car (or the bus) is again in the shade.

When I got on the bus that first day the seats on the right hand side of the bus were available. I didn’t consider it at the time. But, my fellow commuters were more experienced than I was. They knew that the sunny side would not only be hot, but uncomfortably hot.

It didn’t take me long to realize my mistake. Sometimes a simple choice seems inconsequential, but has consequences we never considered.

What’s your “right side of the bus” story?

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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