Monthly Archives: July 2011

How to make a bus chick proud, part II

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of buschickdom (buschickhood? buschickery?) is in extremely good (and thankfully, nerdy) hands:

A Personal Teen Story on Why the $20 Congestion Reduction Charge Matters
By Jasmine Beverly

I’m not a stereotypical high school girl. I don’t go to high school dances, I have to be dragged to shop for clothes, and I’d rather spend time with my family than go out with friends. I’m seventeen and I don’t even have my permit or license yet. That’s right, a high school girl without a driver’s permit or license. Reading this story anywhere else, you’d think “Ooh, she lives in the middle of nowhere and is a little farm girl,” or “What a deprived teenager she must be! Living without a car?” or “She must be the nerdy outcast who doesn’t have any friends.” And although I’m a choir nerd, neither of those statements is true; I simply live in Seattle where public transportation is amazing. Well, for now it is.

Read the rest…

Seven uses for a plastic bag

1. Impromptu rain bonnet: Sometimes, after 45 minutes with the flat iron, an umbrella simply isn’t enough insurance.

2. Pants protector: There are those occasions when something should come between you and that bus stop bench.

3. Trash receptacle: You’d be surprised how many stops don’t have cans.

4. Laundry bag: See here for a recent example. (Related use: as a “wet bag” for cloth diapers. Sorry. TMI?)

5. Umbrella cover: No wet umbrellas on the floor means no more lost umbrellas. No wet umbrellas on the seat means no more rain-related bus fouls.

6. Shopping bag: Seasoned bus chicks carry running shopping lists (on paper, on mobile devices, or in their heads) and purchase needed items when they’re nearby.

7. PT version of an airplane “sick sack”: Useful for busing while pregnant and other, related scenarios (see above).

Do note: A single plastic bag cannot be used in all of the previously described scenarios. Several are single-use use cases and require the bag to be thrown away and replaced. If you find yourself replacing your bag often, you should consider carrying more than one.

How to make a bus chick proud

Line to testify - image by Jenn Olegario

My current heroes: Every one of these 500700+ people, who stood in line for hours on a Tuesday night to testify before (some members of) the King County Council about what 700,000 hours of bus cuts would mean to them.

If you couldn’t make it to Tuesday’s historic hearing, you have another chance: Let’s do it again in Burien on Thursday!

More glossary excavation (or, relief from all the baby talk)

Recently, I found myself sitting at a coffee shop a few feet from one of my bus crushes from back in the day. It reminded me of this post (and this one)—and of the whole bus crush phenomenon.

Bus crush, n:

1. Feelings of overwhelming admiration–occasionally, though not necessarily, of a romantic nature–for a fellow passenger; excessive interest in, or curiosity about, a fellow passenger.
2. The object of such admiration or interest.

My biggest bus crush was (and still is) Bus Nerd, but I have minor bus crushes–on women, men, young, old, passengers, drivers–all the time. There was the mother-daughter team that used to ride my morning 48 to Montlake Elementary. The mother: in her early thirties; pretty; with flawless chocolate skin, a simple, pulled-back hairstyle, and a great fashion sense. Her daughter: an eight-year old, curly-headed BCiT who reminded me of myself when I was a young bus chick, minus the awkwardness, the shyness, and the “summer haircut” (a post for another time, my friends), and plus a rather unfortunate fondness for pink. I stopped seeing them years ago, but fortunately, I have my own little BCiT to ride with these days. There are the three siblings–a big brother, a little brother, and a baby sister–I see all over the city, on several bus routes and sometimes walking, never with parents. The big brother is in charge, looking after and scolding the younger two, and I make up all kinds of romantic stories about this threesome, most of which involve variations on a Party of Five theme. There is Georgiana, the cool grandma and 27 regular I finally met this year at my precinct caucus, after years of admiring her from afar. And of course, there is Smooth Jazz.

Your turn. Ever had a bus crush?

Not so SMART

Bus Nerd saw this in the Free Press today:

The SMART bus driver who told a Taylor mom she couldn’t breastfeed on a bus in late June was suspended for five days without pay, and her dispatcher was suspended for three, company officials said today.

The two employees were punished for not following company policy and for using profanity after Afrykayn Moon, 32, said the driver tried to keep her from boarding the bus while her then two-week-old son was nursing.

She said the driver refused to drive the bus until the child was done breastfeeding, and had security guards try to remove her.

Yikes. Southeast Michigan, this is not a good look. You can’t offer a two-week old a sandwich.

Here’s a longer article about the same incident, and, in case you care, here’s one of my past posts on the subject of breastfeeding in transit.

On busing and biohazards


This morning, Bus Nerd and I realized that our entire Saturday was wide open—no birthday parties, family events, volunteer commitments, or pressing chores (OK, some pressing chores)—so we decided to take our nerds-in-training to the Science Center for a few hours. It had been a while since we’d gone (last time was November), and I’ve had four free passes burning a hole in my bus bag since last spring.

The morning started off well enough. The whole fam was packed and ready to go slightly early, so we got to spend a few minutes playing at the park while we waited for the 8. The bus was full but not crowded, and we were able to find three seats together in the front section. Nerd and I shared reading duties until somewhere around Miller CC, when a little old lady offered Chicklet a small bouquet of daisies.

In the final stretch of the ride, baby Busling, who had spent the early minutes hollering, “Daddy, read dat boot!” at Bus Nerd, became unusually subdued. He leaned his head back against me like he was about to go to sleep, but his eyes remained wide open. Somewhere on Denny, he burped.

I think you know what came next.

Folks, I’m no stranger to bus vomit (ahem), but today was the first time I become intimately acquainted with it.

I turned Busling’s body inward just in time to ensure that any of the regurgitation I wasn’t able to catch in my hands (oatmeal, take II–ew!) landed on my lap (and unfortunately, Chicklet’s) instead of the aisle and several of our fellow passengers’ knees. Then, Bus Nerd and I took advantage of our well-stocked-yet-lightly packed bus bag and ready-for-anything bus parenting skills and sprang into action. Here’s what we did:

1. Bus Nerd got out the baby wipes and used several to scoop Busling’s breakfast out of my hands.
2. I found the plastic bag I always carry with me* and dumped the foul wipes—as well as the jackets of the three of us who were vomited upon—in there.
3. Bus Nerd used more wipes to clean off the kids as best he could (and do a quick once-over on the seat, just in case), before it was time for us to get off.
4. At the Science Center, I took the kids into the bathroom and used (perhaps for the first time ever) both of their changes of clothes. (It had been so long since I packed them, Chicklet barely fit the pants that were in there for her.) I then threw away the icky wipes and added their dirty clothes to the (now quite foul) plastic bag.
5. Since I don’t carry a change of clothes for myself (after today, I might start), I washed off my jeans with a soapy paper towel. Then we all washed our hands.

As it turns out, Busling is not sick; he just suffered a bout of motion sickness. All of us managed to have a great time at the Science Center, foul plastic bag and all. We even enjoyed a spontaneous picnic lunch and some live music at the Bastille Day celebration near the fountain.

I’m hoping that the incident was just a fluke. As someone who suffered from motion sickness well into early adulthood, I wouldn’t wish that on my kid. And, as someone who is not particularly fond of being vomited upon, I wouldn’t wish it on myself. But, just in case, we made a point not to sit in the side-facing seats on the way home–and I kept a new plastic bag at the ready for the entire ride.

*I don’t think I’ve discussed this enough. I couldn’t find a post–or even a paragraph–devoted to the plastic bag’s many uses. It’s coming soon, I promise.

Upcoming events for transit types

The County Council is hosting some public meetings about the proposed congestion reduction charge this month. One (in Kirkland), has already come and gone, but here’s the info on the other two:

Tuesday, July 12, 6:00 p.m.
King County Council Chambers
516 Third Avenue, 10th Floor, Seattle

Thursday, July 21, 6:00 p.m.
Burien City Council Chambers
400 S.W. 152nd Street

If you can’t make either meeting, you can submit your feedback here.