# 4 – Southland Park
Status: On time
In a case of foreshadowing, I remarked to my husband while getting ready that I hoped I didn’t have to run to catch a bus because my legs were still sore from Monday’s Boot Camp work-out.
Well, at 4th & Broadway I stood waiting for the light to change when I saw the bus turn from 6th Street. No one getting on or off at 5th, so the bus kept coming and approached 4th. I did not want to wait for the next bus. As the crosswalk finally started counting down, I put one foot in the street. An older man in a suit commented, I wouldn’t risk it if I were you. Cars were still coming but there were only seconds left before the light changed, and the bus was turning the corner.
I know, I said. I’m just getting a head start. As soon as it hit 0 and the traffic light changed, I was out. The man said something I missed, and I turned back and called out, This intersection is dangerous! Then I scurried and ran. With my aching quads, straight skirt, oversized bag, and big umbrella (closed). I was at the bus when the doors closed. NO! A young man still at the stop called out to the driver, who opened the doors. I thanked the guy and boarded. I was in my seat when the man in the suit walked past the bus.
# 4 – Downtown/Medical Center (p.m.)
It was supposed to warm yesterday, but it was grey and chilly at the stop. The other woman under the shelter commented on the weather. I thought it was supposed to be sunny, I said. She said the good part was we’d be home before it started raining. I said I was glad there hadn’t been a lot of snow, but I was tired of all the rain. She said she was planning on moving south. I keep thinking about Florida, I said. That’s what I’m doing, she said. She was going to help her sister settle in in Georgia first and then keep going. I can’t stay too long; I need my personal space. I said it was hard living with a sister. We get along, she said. Oh, I have 3 sisters, and it’s hard for me! I replied. The bus pulled up, and I wished her luck.
Shirley Temple Bag Lady boarded at Orsmby going north. A first for me, although it was early afternoon and not my usual time. She had a dark green velour track suit on and a matching cap. And thick curls. Plus many bags–4 of the Vera Bradley-type in her cart plus a few more below and she was carrying one. She was still on the bus when I got off at Broadway. She is an enigma, as a friend commented.
# 4 – Iroquois Park (a.m.)
The annoying old guy boarded at Ormsby — I don’t have a better nickname for him. I guess he could be the Bus Driver Guy, since he calls every driver “Bus Driver,” like it’s a name or title. He boarded with his metal cane and sat down near the middle of the bus (the front seats were occupied). Then he called out, “Bus Driver! I need to talk to you a minute.” Holy shit, what happened? I thought. He stood up and then bumped into the girl sitting in front of me with his cane. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, awkwardly. “I didn’t mean to bump you.” Then he went up to the front of the bus, got his transfer ticket, turned around, and came back to his seat. Then he pulled the cord, got up, and walked to the front of the bus to get off at the Hill stop.All of this in 3 long blocks. “Thank you, Bus Driver!”
# 4 – Downtown/Medical Center (4:39)
Status: 3-4 minutes late
The bus was full, and I was heading towards the very back row of seats when I saw an empty row across from the back door. Score!
In the front part of the bus were a woman with a suitcase, an obese woman, and a woman with her early-elementary-aged daughter. Right behind them were three men in a row (two together and one across the aisle). I initially thought the three men were together. There were of similar age and dishevelment, with greying facial hair. Two wore ski caps, even though it was close to 50 degrees, and one wore a baseball cap. Most noticeable, however, was one man had a dog. Not a seeing-eye dog. Not any other type of assistance dog as far as I could tell. The dog was on a regular leash and sat in the man’s lap. It was a scraggly white collie-type of some sort.
At Lee, the man next to the dog man pulled the cord. Dog man was on the aisle and other man was at the window. Dog man kind of turned to the side to let the other man out, but there’s not that much clearance, and he didn’t stand to move out of the way, so the other man basically had to climb over the dog man’s legs (and the dog!). Dog man continued to sit in the aisle seat with his feet somewhat in the aisle as more people boarded.
DM: You’re such a good dog, yes, you are.
Young guy boarding the bus: That’s a dirty-ass dog, as he walked down the aisle to the back of the bus.
DM: What’d you say?
Other voice from the back: Uh-oh!
DM: Snowball (?!?!), you’re a good dog. Next time someone says something mean…bite ’em.
The dog man pulled the cord for Hill but didn’t actually get off until Ormsby. He rambled/ranted a bit and held his dog, the surprisingly named Snowball. As the man got off the bus, after kind of stumbling up the aisle with Snowball on his/her leash, the man spoke to the driver. I assumed he was thanking her for letting the dog be on the bus (note to self: is there a rule about pets on board? I assumed so, but maybe not?), and the driver laughed.
DM: And Snowball thanks you, too! as he bent down to pat/rub the dog at the front of the bus.
No ride highlights — I’ve mostly been standing at corners, checking the clock on my phone, waiting for the bus. The greatest work of fiction is the TARC schedule. I was excited when it was finally available through Google Maps, but that has not made riding any easier or any more reliable.
Last Saturday, I started to walk home from my weekly coffee-work date but decided it was a little chillier than I was prepared for, so I used my phone to check when the next bus was coming. Any minute, so I walked the block west quickly. And waited. And checked again. To see different times. So I walked a few blocks north. Should have just braved the chill the whole way, but a bus came, and I boarded.
Last Sunday, I rode the #43 to brunch with a friend and a few of her friends. Starting Friday I checked the bus schedule through Plan Your Trip and I checked Google Maps for the best bus option. I feel like every time I searched, even though I had the date and arrival time the same, I had different options — different buses at different times, or the same bus at different times. I caught the #43 around 11:50 and headed towards Germantown. Along Shelby, an older woman with a grocery cart was walking north, while the bus traveled south. The woman motioned towards the bus, and the driver pointed at the corner, where she pulled over and stopped. The woman turned around, walked to the corner, and boarded. I could never figure out what she was walking the opposite direction as the bus.
A few stops later, a man boarded and told the driver the bus was late. I’ve been waiting 20 minutes — I’m gonna be late for work. The driver said something about a new schedule. The man commiserated with the grocery cart woman about the bus being late. Another woman handed them her copy of the yellow schedule — yellow meaning new times. Monday I saw a press release online about changes to the #43 starting the day before — Sunday. But if you’re not at a location with the new schedules, and you’re not online, and there’s not a schedule at your bus stop, and there’s not necessarily the new schedule on the bus, how do you know the scheduled has changed?