Monthly Archives: June 2010

Walk like a woman

My current* bus read is Helena Andrews’ new memoir, Bitch is the New Black. While the book isn’t exactly my flavor (no disrespect), there’s no doubt about Ms. Andrews’ talent; the woman is hilarious. She’s also a total bus chick–well, minus the buses, anyway. Peep it.

From chapter 10, “Walk Like a Woman”

In the face of my driver’s license deficiency and an abhorrence for the close body contact [ahem] prevalent on most Metro systems, I’ve learned through pluck and circumstance to use the legs God gave me. People, I’ve walked across state lines–multiple times–without getting winded or wreathed. Never thinking twice about the damage being caused by the thinning skin above my smallest three toes until it was too late. I average five, maybe six miles a day without even trying. Pedometers are for [censored].

Except for the lack of driver’s license (I do, in fact, have one) and the distaste for transit (um, hello!), this could totally be me. I am an absolute walking fool. Once, when I was pregnant with Chicklet, I talked Bus Nerd into walking from our home in the Central District to Pier 55 to catch the Water Taxi. After the ride, we walked from Seacrest Park all the way to Pepperdocks on Alki and, after a quick lunch with my brother, Joel, and some friends, all the way back. Did I mention that it was August? Nerd (a man who’d rather get there already than “enjoy the journey”) still hasn’t forgiven me.

Chicklet, it seems, is embracing her inheritance. Last week, when I declined to pick her up during our morning stroll to her preschool, my little chip off the big chick didn’t even protest. Instead she puffed out her chest, two-year old style, and announced, “Bus Chicks know how to walk!”

A bus chick and her chicklet walking in the city (Photo credit:



Eastbound 8, 1:30 PM

A young girl (around seven or eight) is sitting near the back with some young adult caregivers (camp counselor types), chatting about her interests, friends, and et cetera.

Adult 1, in (a rather inexplicable) response to the mention of a particular friend: “Are you going to marry Casey C?”
Girl: “No! You’re supposed to marry a boy.”

Hmm. Guess they picked the right route for that conversation.

On busing and breastfeeding

I recently read a story on Motherwear’s breastfeeding blog (yeah–so?) about a mom’s experience nursing her child on a public bus. In short, she was harassed by other passengers until the bus driver came to her aid. Yikes.

Despite the fact that breastfeeding is touted as a “hassle-free” feeding option, I haven’t found it to be so. (Great way to bond with my child? Absolutely. Convenient for bus parenting? Not so much.) While it’s true that, unlike moms who drive (well, except this one), bus moms have the option to feed their babies while they travel, this only matters if they actually feel comfortable nursing in public. (And folks, it doesn’t get much more public than Metro.) And unlike moms who drive, breastfeeding bus moms don’t have cars to retreat to when they get where they’re going. So, not feeling comfortable nursing in public means not feeding your baby while you’re out.

I know there are plenty of women who are comfortable nursing in public–probably some who are even comfortable nursing on buses–and others who can feed babies in slings/carriers without anyone being the wiser. I, unfortunately, am not one of those women. For most of my outings with Busling (except those to destinations that offer privacy or are populated with other moms), I either: 1) bring a bottle (which, if done too often, can interfere with nursing) or 2) rush home in time for his next feeding. (Yet another reason why late/slow buses are even less tolerable now than they were when I was a solo bus chick.)

Folks, living by bus schedules can be a challenge; coordinating bus schedules with infant feeding schedules (not to mention naps, diaper changes, and two-year old trips to the potty) takes up more of my brain cycles than should be spent on getting around.

I cherished my first year with Chicklet, and I’m having an absolute blast with Busling. I’m not in any rush for my babies to grow up, but I’m definitely looking forward to the day when the only travel snack* I have to worry about is a box of raisins.

*For them. For me: Black Russians from Three Girls!

More on the beauty of buses

Excerpts from an essay about the romance of the ride by a kindred, bus loving spirit:

A bus stop is stillness by which everything passes: the hurried steps of cell-phone gabbers, carts pushed by homeless men wearing dusty parkas in the summer, mounted policemen, snapshooting tourists. I firmly grip my MetroCard, ready to extend my arm out, because I sometimes get paranoid that drivers won’t see me and will keep on driving. My caution is needless. Once I step into this indeterminate zone, usually marked by a simple sign-topped pole, I’m not just another person with some fly-by business on the sidewalk. I’m a bus rider.


In the Victorian era, theatrical panoramas became a popular form of mass entertainment, the 3-D IMAX of its time. Novelty-seekers stepped onto specially built platforms to immerse themselves in scrolling views of far-away cities, some as long as 300 feet. Bus windows are live panoramas of my city. I’ve lived in New York for more than a decade, and I still think myself a tourist. When I feel too anchored, I sometimes catch a comet–I hop on an unfamiliar bus, knowing only its general heading, and if I get lost, I look for one on its way back to terra cognita. It doesn’t matter if I’m comet-riding or on a regular bus route I’ve taken hundreds of times, I’ll find a window seat and press my brow against the glass and watch the mad carnevale flow by.

(via: Raquel in San Antonio):

Oh, Pitchaya Sudbanthad, I would like to meet you.

Why can’t you be more like…?

My current ride read is Siblings Without Rivalry, by family relationship gurus Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Toni Morrison, it ain’t, but I like to be prepared. I realize that using my precious solo bus time to consume such material makes me a lentement, but I’m learning a lot about how to foster cooperation (et cetera) between my little darlings, and it does have the added benefit of deterring any potential bus macks. I digress.

Folks, Chicklet and Busling, who’ve been getting along famously these past four months, are not the members of the Bus Fam who need help with rivalry issues. It is Yours Truly (a native of the 2-0-sickness and a total Seattle partisan) who has been guilty of hating a bit on our sibling city to the south–in part, at least, because I’m jealous of its transit system and all the alt-transpo love it gets from the rest of the country. What can I say? According to my brother, Jeremy (speaking of siblings), I’m a natural born hater.

And so, it is in the spirit of my newfound insight (at least, as much insight as I’ve been able to gain from the first 100 pages) that I celebrate the latest addition to Pdx’s progressive transportation resume: the “low-car lifestyle” magazine, Portland Afoot. Check it:

We bus. We bike. We MAX. We walk. We’re fifty thousand families strong, and just by getting around without a car sometimes, we’re transforming Portland step by step. We all know Portland’s got issues when it comes to getting around. But where’s our voice? What’s our conversation? And by the way, how can I get my boss to pay for my rail pass?
Portland Afoot is on the case. Solve the problems. Get the issues. Join the fun.*

Sold! I couldn’t resist subscribing, since I’m a sucker for smart writing and transit (and walking, and cycling) talk, no matter the city of origin. I can’t wait to read it.

OK, you scored again, Portland. Mom always liked you better, anyway.

It’s a bus, it’s a train…

Bus Hero, Transitman, and The Human Bus Schedule notwithstanding, folks don’t generally associate super powers with PT riders. But this cool post on Archie McPhee’s Monkey Goggles blog (via: Coby) identifies the true transit superheroes (and villains): those bus characters who spark our imaginations and add all the flavor to our rides.

I’ve got several favorite bus characters. Two that come to mind are Captain and Origami Man. Who are yours?

If the shoe doesn’t fit…

My bus sightings seem to come in clusters. Back in the spring of 2008, it was animals. Next, musicians. Spring, 2010 is apparently all about footwear–minus the feet.

Bus stop shoes
Mary Janes at 3rd & Cherry (via Bus Nerd)
Bus stop shoes
Flip flops at 31st S & S Lane
Oxfords at 23rd & Aloha (Are those Stacey Adams?)

Back before I knew that leaving one’s shoes at the bus stop was a common occurrence (which could possibly explain another somewhat common Seattle phenomenon), I thought this was caption worthy. Now I don’t need a caption–just an explanation. What gives?