In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Monthly Archives: February 2007
This month’s Golden Transfer goes to Charlie Tiebout, a retired full-time and current part-time Metro driver (notice a theme this week?). In his years at Metro, Charlie has driven almost every route in the system, but in the last 15, he’s stuck mostly to North Base routes: 31, 41, 65, 66, 67, 68, 71, 72, 73, 76, 77, 79, 312, and 306.
Back in his full-time days (1973, to be exact), Charlie was Metro’s first Santa.
I asked Metro if it was okay. [They said yes,] and they even …
Yesterday I attended the first day of a two-week class for bus drivers who are converting from part time to full time. (The part-time class, during which they actually learn to drive a bus, is six-weeks.) It was cool to learn a little bit about how Metro operates from the inside, and it was really cool to spend the day with 24 bus drivers.
What I learned (the condensed version):
• You have to be a part-time driver before you can be a full-time driver. Part-time drivers have set hours and tend to be assigned to the straightforward (and relatively …
According to my new, second-favorite* driver, that’s the 48, because it’s a “long drive with a short putt to the beach.” The thing is, a long drive with him at the wheel wouldn’t be half bad. The man kept us entertained over the loudspeaker for the entire (not-so-long) ride on Friday afternoon, announcing landmarks and businesses of note at every stop. At Union, the transfer to the 2 (“you know how those lake routes are”); at Cherry, Catfish Corner (“wouldn’t mind a piece of peach cobbler right about now”); at Jefferson, Medgar Evers pool (“it’s Black History …
Speaking of transit-inspired language…
Bus luh, n: A bus-based interaction between two people who are attracted to each other. The interactions vary widely, but participants are always: riding on or waiting for a bus; in love, lust, or very deep like; and engaging in some sort of physical contact.
Bus mack, n: An attempted bus hook-up, in which one rider approaches another in a way that indicates romantic and/or sexual interest. On rare occasions, a bus mack can result in future instances of bus luh (see above).
Bus foul, n: An action or behavior–on a bus or …
In May of 2005, Bus Nerd and I took a trip to Paris. I speak French fairly fluently and so gave him a few lessons (enough so he would feel comfortable ordering in restaurants and reading the odd sign) before we left. He decided, in true nerd fashion, to practice his newfound skills by speaking only French on the trip–even to me.
On the RER ride from the airport, which was taking longer than he expected and jeopardizing an appointment in the city, he turned to me and blurted out the only French word he knew that …
The bus is late and crowded, so I am forced to sit in the very back.
To my left: Two dudes rolling joints, counting change, and discussing the relative fluid levels in their lighters.
To my right: A young woman talking on a cell phone, apparently to another young woman who is taking care of her child. She alternates between coaching the caretaker in the fine art of potty training (Ask him if he wants to go poo-poo.), giving orders to the child over the speaker (Darrell, I’m not playing–you’d better eat that sandwich!), and gossiping.
Because I’d like to see more and better public transportation in this region, I’d also like to see more–and better–sources of public transportation funding. In my ideal world, we’d fund transit with gas taxes, parking taxes, tolls, and congestion charges–instead of just sales tax. For now, I’ll settle for advertising as a source of revenue.
Which brings me to my point…
In December, the King County Transit Advisory Committee, “an appointed County board drawn from King County Metro Transit riders,” sent a letter to Seattle City Councilmember Jan Drago encouraging the city to allow “tasteful” advertising …
Jamie Foxx, as Curtis Taylor, Jr.: “This song will make people feel good about riding around in their cars.”
Danny Glover, as Marty Madison: “Jimmy’s fans like taking the bus.”
Unlike my Gail, my mother was not a bus chick sympathizer. Truth be told, she didn’t much like the bus or my decision to ride it every-dang-where. And truth be told, I often wished she was more interested in my ideas about sustainable transportation than she was in my ability to coordinate belts and purses. But despite our surface differences, she was an amazing role model for me, a model of courage I didn’t fully appreciate until now.
This week’s Real Change column:
On Jan. 3, after a four-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer, …
Am I the only one who didn’t know that Metro’s website lets you create custom schedules? Probably, but just in case there are one or two others: Go to any route timetable; click the “custom print” button at the top of the page; and then choose the direction, window of time, and stops that are important to you. I just made custom schedule for the 8 and one for the 4. Easy. For a bus chick, even fun.
This feature would be amazingly useful (Finally–a way to manage the insanity that is the 3/4 schedule!) except that, you …