# 4 — southbound.
I hadn’t expected to catch the 7:43 bus, but when I saw it heading east on Broadway, I had hope. Except for that damn traffic late. I did not take that bus. As I waited at the light and watched it turn south, stop, and then go, another bus passed me heading west. On its side was the new TARC advertisement: “Make your commute a happy one. TARC Therapy.”
I called R. as I crossed the street since I had 12 minutes to kill. I’m getting my physical therapy from TARC today…I’m walking down 4th a few stops to wait for the next bus.. I stopped at Breckinridge to photograph the ad I had seen placed there on Monday advertising help with homework, complete with misspellings.
Then I kept walking and stopped at Kentucky Street. I could have made it to Oak, at least, since the 7:55 never showed. The 8:07 was a little crowded. The driver didn’t say anything when I boarded but at a later stop, she told the people boarding, Sorry for your wait, the last bus broke down.
Someone pulled the cord approaching Lee Street. The driver stopped, but no one got off. The driver muttered, loudly, about no one apologizing or saying Next Stop. The woman next to me commiserated, even though we were at a red light. Someone pulled the cord around Bloom Street, which may or may not be a stop. The driver popped the doors open and closed and reset the cord. Someone pulled the cord; the driver reset it. Someone pulled the cord, and the driver stopped at the light at Cardinal.
A man called out, Can I get out here?
No, because you asked for a stop and didn’t get off. Was that you who pulled the cord earlier?
Yeah, um no, yeah, just about 30 seconds ago.
The driver expressed her annoyance. The man said, I’m sorry. The driver let him off at the Cardinal Stop (past the light).
# 23 – eastbound
I waited for the 8:45 at 4th & Broadway. It was a cool but sunny day, and I had my headphones on as I walked to the stop. When I got there, a man asked me if this bus went to the Goodwill. The one further down Broadway? I asked. Yes.
He asked if there were other thrift stores nearby. I haven’t been over here in awhile. I said I thought the Goodwill was the closest.
He was missing his top two middle teeth and had a cigarette sticking out of the side of his mouth. It was impressive. He said he had been caught in the storm last night (torrents of rain), and I knew he hadn’t just been caught in between places. He had been outside because he had no place else to go. So then this morning I said I’m going to get a rain coat. Which is why he was waiting for the bus to Goodwill.
Another man with a shaggy, grey beard rifled through the trash can by the stop. He had a folded newspaper sticking out of his shirt pocket. He pointed out an umbrella to me, but I said, “You can have it — I’m fine.” The umbrella was folded so it was hard to tell if it was broken, but why else would it be in the garbage can.
The morning seemed less bright after that.
# 18 – westbound
Status: on time
The bus wasn’t full, but there were just enough people sitting in just the aisle seats that I swerved my way to the back and sat in the center of the rear row. At the front of the bus sat a toddler still in her wheelchair drinking a Circle K Polar Pop fountain drink. Ok, maybe it was water.
In the row perpendicular to me, on the right, sat a man drinking a 40-ouncecan of beer. Based on the little bit I saw sticking out of the bag, I’m going to guess it was Miller Lite (blue and yellow). 40 ounces of light beer, wow. The man wore a shirt with a smiley face on it and seemed happy drinking and talking to himself, waving his hands a bit.
# 4- Southland Park
Status: On time
One of my favorite drivers today. I was at the infamous 4th & Broadway intersection when the bus approached. And while the driver could have made the turn while the walk sign was counting down, she didn’t. Perhaps because she was running early. She also gave herself room at the light to make the right turn when she needed to. Yes, this is a highlight.
Yesterday was a bicycle day. Apparently, it was Backwards Day and no one told me. While I was riding south in the bike lane on a one-way southbound street, I had a bicyclist (no helmet) approach me in the lane riding north. He swung out towards the street–fortunately, no oncoming traffic–and said Good Morning as we passed. A little bit later, there was a jogger going north on the southbound street in the bike lane. That afternoon, I was on the right-hand side of Garvin heading north towards Oak when a woman in an electric wheelchair approached, coming right down the middle of the road but veering towards my right. I swung out to the left to go around her.
In the evening, R. and I went for a walk. At a parking lot, a man in dress clothes was at his car when his puppy escaped. Cutest brown-and-cream boxer. The man obviously has not been watching the Dog Whisperer because the puppy ran around between us and jumped up on my butt. I squealed, Ooh, don’t run into the street, while the man yelled, Stop – get your fuckin’ ass over here…I can’t believe you…. The puppy ran over to me again and I grabbed his collar so the man could get him. Although I was totally tempted to dog-nap him.
#4- Downtown/Medical District
Status: 1 minute late
We made up time quickly–not a lot of stops and another heavy-footed driver. At Kentucky Street, we turned right instead of continuing north on 4th Street. I’m not sure who was more surprised–the passengers or the woman at the stop just north of the intersection waiting for our bus. As we turned, I could see the next intersection, Breckinridge, blocked by fire trucks.
Someone pulled the cord and the driver stopped on Kentucky. Three boys–one teenager and two younger (brothers?)–were about to get off when the driver asked where they were going. They need the 800 Building, which was further north at York. She said she’d be back on the route by then.
Another passenger worried the bus would be late and she would miss her connection. I’m running early anyway, the driver said. I could have gone through and gotten stuck behind the trucks.
I understand, the woman replied.
We went east on Kentucky, turned north on 2nd (3rd is southbound), paused at Breckinridge (the intersection was completely blocked off at 4th), then flew up to York. And turned left:
York is two narrow lanes where it meets 2nd, and it feels even narrower with a building right at the northwest corner. An SUV was in the eastbound lane waiting to turn. The bus had the light and swung into the westbound lane, coming very close to the SUV, who took forever to back up and get out of the way. I was lucky enough to be on the driver’s side of the bus in the seat just about where we would bump into the SUV or take out its side mirror. Passengers further back called out to the driver to hold on.
Someone yelled, When is that [woman] gonna get out of the way?
She’s moving, just slow, the driver said. We completed the turn and no one was hit. The teenager and two young boys got off at 4th & York before the driver turned right and returned to the route.
# 4 – southbound (Iroquois Park)
Status: 1 minute early
Warm, windy, and rainy today. I got to the stop about 5 minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive and joined two guys in one of the shelters. It was too windy to hold the umbrella open and too rainy to stand with no shelter. Just as the bus was visible on Broadway, a gust of wind burst through the shelter and knocked down one guy’s coffee cup. It spilled open on the ground (with cream and sugar) and then the cup bounced/blew up 4th Street and across Broadway, lidless and empty. At least it was McDonald’s coffee and not something more expensive like Starbucks.
Oh no! cried the guy. My coffee! It’s not supposed to blow off the bench.
I almost said, I hope you got some caffeine earlier, but instead went with Looks like it’s going to be one of those days. Seriously, why do I say things like that? I felt very Someone’s got a case of the Mondays from Office Space, and that’s not a good feeling.
That was so close to you–did I get your shoe? I looked down and saw a few spots on my shoe, but it could have been rain — Don’t worry about it; it’s canvas.
By the time I got to work, the tops of both my shoes were wet, so whatever coffee might have been there was washed away.
# 4- southbound (8:07 am)
Status: On time
A young man and older woman discussing religion, philosophy, etc. I’m not sure if they know each other or are just bus friends.
I don’t pray a lot; I do a lot of listening and meditating. But when I do pray, I pray for lawlessness for a month…The laws protect those who can’t protect themselves, and they’re the ones causing trouble.
The devil’s running amok.
Everyone’s talking. On their cell phones and computers and video games. No one listens.
It’s like that old adage, Too many chiefs, not enough Indians.
I like those little dogs — close to the earth.
If trees could talk, they have so much history to share.
I think I was a dogwood in my first life.
You best blink. Some people say Don’t blink or you miss something. I say, You best blink and bring everything back into focus.
From Salon.com, a piece called It’s Time to Love the Bus:
“If you decide that buses don’t merit investment, you’re going to miss a lot of opportunities to help people get where they’re going, and to expand their sense of freedom of movement, just because you don’t like the vehicle they’re riding,” says transit consultant Jarrett Walker.”