In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Tag Archives: 14
A woman approaches the shelter, where one man is already sitting alone.
Woman: “Are the buses running today?”
Woman: “Not even the 48?”
Man: “I don’t think so. I heard there are a bunch of ‘em piled up down 23rd.” He pauses and thinks for a moment. “You could try the 14.”
heading to an evening meeting (short walk + 14) alone, sans baby pack or bag o’ tricks, wearing: shoes with a little flavor (nothing “earthy” about ‘em), that gorgeous coat handed down from your fashion-plate mother, and your now rarely used shmipod, turned up to a volume that is surely damaging your ears (but it’s been so long since you’ve listened to Goapele!) and is preventing you from making progress on that novel you’re so enjoying–which is OK, really, because the author is such an amazing writer you’d gladly read one of her sentences …
Tuesday, Eastbound 5th & Jackson stop, 8:40 PM
Fellow TAC‘er Miranda and I are discussing the future of transit in the region while waiting for our respective buses (me: 14, her: 36) home from the August meeting. A man approaches and asks if we can spare 50 cents. He has to get to the shelter by nine.
“And,” he adds, scratching his nether parts for emphasis, “I’ve got a rash.”
Wednesday, Westbound 23rd & Jackson stop, 5:00 PM
Chicklet and I are awaiting the 14, headed downtown to catch the 55 to my youngest brother‘s birthday …
Overheard on a Sunday trip to Fremont:
Westbound 14 stop, 23rd & Jackson, 2:30 PM
A dad and his two elementary-aged daughters are preparing to head downtown for some summer fun. As the bus pulls up, the dad turns to the younger of the two girls.
“Remember Hannah, you’re in charge of putting the money in.”
The little girl nods but looks slightly apprehensive as she steps into line. Just before boarding, she grabs her father’s hand and thrusts her fistful of bills at him.
“Daddy, I want you to do it!”
Eastbound 26 stop, 4th & Battery, 3:00 PM
On Tuesday night, I took the 14 home from the TAC meeting. The bus was packed with people, including several homeless people, who all got off at the same stop. The last woman to get off was in worse shape (both mentally and physically) than the rest and took almost five minutes to make it from the disabled section to the front of the bus. She stopped to stare at the floor, stopped to talk to herself, and, though she was barely able to move the cart she was pushing, became extremely agitated with anyone who tried to help …
Today , I rode the bus alone for the first time since Chicklet was born. (Yes, I realize that this makes me a bit pathetic, considering that my child is 12 weeks old. What can I say? She’s cute.) I have left the house without her twice–once for my birthday dinner and once for my friend Donna‘s birthday party–but Bus Nerd was with me on both occasions.
Today, I traveled solo to attend the King County Transit Advisory Committee‘s annual retreat. I wouldn’t necessarily call an extra-long meeting in our regular meeting room a retreat, especially …
I’m sitting in the very front of the forward-facing rows, on the driver’s side, in the seat nearest the window. At a light somewhere in the ID, the man sitting in front of me (in the closest of the sideways-facing seats) strikes up a conversation. Three sentences in, he asks an odd variation on one of those questions:
“What nationality are you from?”
I know full well what he’s getting at, but I play along anyway. “I’m from here.”
“No, but what is your ethnic background?”
I cut to the chase this time–no need to prolong the interrogation. “I’m …
On its way from downtown to Mount Baker, this well-used route happens to pass SOIL gallery. And SOIL gallery just so happens to be hosting an exhibit by former Sound Transit artist-in-residence Christian French, also known as Transitman.
Here’s how Transitman describes his project:
A meditation on the power of choice, and the ramifications of its exercise, this project expresses some of my assumptions about the hidden capacities we all have to make a difference in the world. Every act has infinite consequence. Even a simple choice like how you commute. We have the power to shape …