In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
A lot has happened since my last post. (This is mostly because I wrote it over six weeks ago, but it was a pretty jam-packed end of summer.) For one thing, my baby brother got hitched. (!) And also, we made a trip to the Puyallup Fair.
The last time we did the Puyallup (way back in ’08), Pierce Transit offered a shuttle from Tacoma Dome station right to the fairgrounds. The trip was reasonably painless but did involve two transfers and a bit of a roundabout route. These days—in case you haven’t heard—Pierce Transit is …
A bus-wide discussion about how hot everyone is (par for the course on any [non-air-conditioned] Seattle bus on any day above 80 degrees) is in full swing before we even reach Harborview. Folks express all the usual (uninteresting) weather-related sentiments, until a middle-aged man sitting directly behind the driver adds his two cents.
“I’m about to go home and get naked. Yep, I’m going to get naked with a little, tiny fan.”
It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and Chicklet, Busling, and I are wandering the aisles of the Douglass-Truth children’s section, looking to replenish our summer reading selection.
At a nearby table, a grandmother is reading a picture book, which happens to be one of those reinterpretations of The Wheels on the Bus, to her two-ish grandson. When she gets to, “The driver on the bus says, ‘Move on back!’” Chicklet immediately stops what she is doing.
“That’s not very nice, is it?” she asks, eyeing the grandmother suspiciously. (Don’t sleep on the Chicklet Side Eye.)
I assume that she …
The bus is packed, per usual, so I make my way to the very back and squeeze into one of the sideways seats. After a few minutes of settling in, I break out my current ride read, Hotel Angeline.
The young man in the seat diagonal from mine, who has been holding court since before I boarded, asks, “Is that a good book?”
“It’s interesting,” I reply, and then explain that it was written by 36 different authors, on stage.
“So, what,” he counters, “It’s like the Bible of Broadway or something?”
OK, so …
Almost exactly a year ago, I started a job at a nonprofit I’ve admired for many years. I believe deeply in the organization’s mission and enjoy my work a great deal, but I almost never write about it here. This is because, up until July of 2011, my transit “advocacy” (such as it was) was completely independent of any organization and influenced only by my own opinions and experiences. I’ve never been paid to write my …
I’m going to need one of these in my neighborhood.
(via: Melanie, a German grad student who is doing some important work related to mobility and families. If you speak German–or know how to click drop-down boxes on an Internet translation page–check it out.)
Congratulations to Bruce Kennedy, KC Metro’s 2011* Operator of the Year. Bruce, who drives the 346, is a 36-year Metro veteran with “a near-perfect safety record, excellent reliability, and a professional attention to quality service.” (You can read the entire announcement here.)
Unfortunately, the young men …
Two middle-aged black men are sitting near the front, discussing job prospects. Somewhere near Harborview, one mentions a position he is particularly interested in, which offers, among other perks, union wages and benefits. The other scoffs.
“Let me tell you something: Seattle has black jobs and white jobs. If President Obama went down there and applied, he couldn’t get one of those jobs.”
My most recent bus read was the autobiography of OG Detroit activist, Grace Lee Boggs. Come to think of it, it was the bus read before last; I finished Home last week. (I’m currently experiencing some rather extreme Toni Morrison withdrawal and am still carrying it around in my bag.)
Among the many things I learned when reading Ms. Boggs’ book is that this amazing song exists.
I originally posted this in May of 2010, but it’s been on my mind lately, for a number of reasons. Wishing peace and comfort to all who have lost loved ones to violence, including (and especially) the violence of war.