I get bus anxiety. I suppose it stems from my limited riding experience. To put it in perspective, I got my driver’s permit at 16 years old and was cruising myself and my friends all over Long Island by the age of 17. My father would gas up “my” car every few days for those 11 years (not joking) until I moved out of the house at age 26. I never pumped gas before that. And even then, living in Ridgewood, Queens, I had wheels. My father upgraded his Hyundai and gave me his “old” Hyundai Elantra so I could get around (but really to visit him and my mother).

I rode the bus on few occasions in the Ridgewood days. Sometimes I would weigh the fear-factor – riding the bus vs. parallel parking in downtown Brooklyn. The bus won sometimes. In other instances – say when I was planning on having cocktails– I’d chance the bus instead of an extra hour on the subway.

As a Rockawegian, I’ve been riding the bus more frequently – about three times a month. Matt takes the car to work, so I don’t have a choice sometimes.

I have several bus anxiety triggers. Getting on the bus and not having enough money on my metrocard is a primary concern. To deal with this issue, I’m forced to bring $5.50 in change pre-counted and separated into two pockets – for safe measure. The new select bus service machine is very scary to me. My first encounter with THE MACHINE went horribly wrong.  I thought it dispensed Metrocards. A nice gentleman waiting at the stop explained and helped me get my ticket. In the nick of time, I hopped on the Q22. Bus in motion, I presented my ticket to the driver and he gave me the “raised eyebrow”. “That’s for the express.” I was baffled. The bus driver sensed my confusion, realized I was bus ignorant and didn’t kick me off, thank the good Lord.

High level fears include missing the stop. If I’m taking the bus off the peninsula, I track my location on my phone so I know exactly where to get off. I thought this was pretty witty but 6 months ago,  I was on the bus and it blew right by my stop. I ended up in a part of Brooklyn that could’ve been a Class M planet the Enterprise was about probe. I called Matt right away, panicky and he said “Did you forget to request a stop?”  “No, the stop was on the route” I told him. I learned then that if passengers aren’t waiting to board at a designated bus stop, the bus doesn’t stop. In the past, I guess I just go lucky. Then there’s the back door. I hate it. It’s really hard to open. I fear the bus driver won’t see me pushing it to get off. He’ll start driving away and I will fly out into traffic and die.

Lesser fears, annoyances and social editique… It’s hard to walk on a moving bus.  It takes me a while to get all my quarters in the machine, so the bus starts moving while I’m still standing. 3pm is the most annoying time to take the bus, I learned. The school kids get out and the bus is chaotic. It’s so crowded I’m afraid I won’t get out of my seat in time to exit at my stop. Lastly (I should know better) I learned it’s weird to check your lipstick on the bus and then take a selfie. But I had to for the sake of this column.

Readers, you may be thinking just Uber or take a Lyft.  Well, my mother tells me I could get abducted and killed and left for dead somewhere (probably in the Class M section of Brooklyn) if I “take one of those”, so I don’t Uber alone. I know it’s a bit irrational but every time I go to pull up the app, I see an SUV episode flash through my mind followed by my mother’s voice “DON’T TAKE THE CHANCE PAULA… DUN DUN!”.

Lucky for me it’s biking weather now. For the summer anyway, I should be able to avoid the bus and all the unpleasantries it brings.