For better or worse, part III

For better: The 48, where everybody knows your name

On Friday, Chicklet and I traveled to the Eastside (48 + 545) to meet Bus Nerd for lunch. My parental leave is quickly dwindling, and we’re trying to get in all the family bonding time we can. I digress.

The 48 ride was one of those cool trips where it feels like you know everyone on the bus. We ran into my friend Paulette, whom I met several years ago (through Bus Nerd) on the 3. Actually, I originally met Paulette many years earlier, when I was still a child, because, as we discovered upon our second meeting on the 3, she knew my dad. Again, I digress.

Paulette is a teacher and a student, and she was on her way to the UW to make copies of some old bound issues of Labor’s Heritage, to do research for a class about education for revolution, or the revolution of education, or some equally cool subject.

I didn’t catch all of the details about her class because in the middle of our conversation, Sarah B, a woman I went to high school with, sat down next to us. Sarah was also on her way to the U, no doubt to work on her dissertation, so she can go ahead and knock out that PhD in environmental anthropology.

We all got to talking–about the sunny weather, the origins of Chicklet’s name, and Paulette’s blog (about local eating) for the Splendid Table.

I got so caught up in conversation that Chicklet and I missed our stop and had to backtrack a couple of blocks (in the sunshine!) to Montlake Freeway Station to catch our transfer.

For worse: Freeway station interrogation

Just as Chicklet and I had settled in on the bench to await the trusty 545, a rather odd man (there were no obvious outward signs of his oddness, but I have very sensitive insanedar, honed from a lifetime of bus riding) sat down next to us.

Odd Man: “Have you seen the 265?”
Bus Chick: “I’ve only been here a few minutes, but I haven’t seen it.”
OM: “But what time is it supposed to get here?”
BC, gesturing toward the enormous sign to our left: “Schedule’s right there.”
OM: “Yeah, but it doesn’t have the 265 on it.”

Having no more help to offer the man, I turned back to Chicklet.

OM: “Is that your only child?”
BC: “Yep.”

And then, with absolutely no transition, he followed with one of my favorite questions:

“Are you half black?”

Of course I could have (possibly should have) shut him down at that point, but I’m a curious person (though apparently not as curious as some), and I wanted to see where his questions were leading.

BC: “Yes, I am.”

He continued to ask (How many siblings do you have? Are your parents still married?) and I continued to answer, until he started asking too many questions about my mother’s death, and I decided I’d had enough.

BC: “These questions are a bit personal, wouldn’t you say?”
OM: “Oh yeah. I bet I’m the only one who’s asked you this stuff, huh?”

Not by a long shot, buddy. Not by a long shot.

Finally, the 255, arrived, (not the bus he’d asked about but apparently the one he decided to take) and he got up. As he waited in line to board, he turned to me one last time.

“Say, is your husband black or white?”

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