OK, so it’s not an actual ode, but I needed a title, and the author of this poem took the good one.
It is, however, one of the top five bus poems I’ve seen–ever. Such economy of language! It took me over 400 words to describe the same phenomenon.
The third and final carfree Sunday took place in my original neighborhood of West Seattle, so I didn’t mind the two-bus ride (4 + 56) to the festivities. (Then again, what’s two short rides compared to an unobstructed view of the Sound and the Olympics? I digress.)
• It wasn’t really car free. The far east lane of the street, which was separated from the activity with cones, remained open to all traffic. It wasn’t nearly as freeing or novel to play in the street with a line of vehicles inching by a few feet away.
• There wasn’t a concentrated point of activity. The street was closed (well, sort of–see above) from Seacrest Park on Harbor Ave all the way to the mini Statue of Liberty near the end of Alki Ave. Most of the activity was happening near the south end, so folks who jumped in farther north were likely disappointed.
• There was no music. This made a huge difference in the atmosphere and (my) general enjoyment.
• The majority of attendees were riding bikes. Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing but love for my bike nerd brothers and sisters, and I certainly don’t begrudge them the chance to take advantage of a chance to ride–free of worry–in the street. As a pedestrian, though, I was somewhat ill at ease. It felt more like I was walking in the bike lane than attending a street festival.
Of course, all those issues are minor and can be worked out on future carfree days. On to the photos:
Despite the concerns of its manager, business at Duke’s didn’t appear to suffer:
The best thing about the West Seattle carfree Sunday was, of course, the view. There’s something about the combination of water, mountains, and sunshine that inspires romance.
Me? I’m having a romance with my city. I’m proud of our first attempts at carfree days and looking forward to more next summer (or sooner!).
This one in San Francisco:
[Christina Wu and Chris Little] got to know each other four years ago waiting for and riding the 31AX-Balboa express bus to their jobs in downtown San Francisco. Today, they will be getting married in a Muni-themed ceremony.
[Wu] and Little used to catch the morning bus at the same Richmond District corner at 25th Avenue and Balboa Street, and after a couple of months of noticing each other, he struck up a conversation before the express arrived.
“Muni wasn’t my Match.com – at least not by design,” said Little, 39, who works in Internet advertising sales. “But if I drove, I probably wouldn’t have met Christina.”
Thanks for the link, John.
Three years ago, on his way home from work on the 308, Troy Kleweno saw Christie Hsieh. Six months later, he talked to her for the first time. And now, folks, Troy and Christie are engaged.
Tuesday afternoon, Troy devised a story to bring the two back to downtown Seattle. With a little pre-planning from Metro, the stage was set. When the 308 reached Lake City Way, Troy made his way up to the front of the bus, and using the bus intercom system, asked Christie for her hand.
(Source: Transportation Today)
I keep trying to tell y’all!
You can watch a video of the proposal, if you’re into that sort of thing. I can’t front: I am.
Congratulations, Troy and Christie!
In my last post, I mentioned that Bus Nerd recently (last weekend, in fact) took a trip to Chicago. As is our custom, I “saw him off” by accompanying him on the bus ride to the airport. Unfortunately, Bus Nerd’s departing flight left at 11:30 PM, which meant, of course, that I’d miss the last 194 and would be returning home–after dark, no less–on its ugly steproute, the 174.
It’s not like me to be skittish about riding at night (I happen to love it, as long as I don’t have to wait at isolated stops or walk long distances), or for that matter, about any particular route. Sure, there are some routes I don’t care for, but I have yet to encounter one that inspires fear. And yet, for some reason I can’t name, last Thursday, I was feeling nervous about riding the 174 late at night, alone. (I choose to blame it on my condition, which makes me conspicuous, messes with my state of mind, prevents me from running–at least from running fast–and generally makes me feel like a big, waddling target.)
I decided to go, despite my misgivings. (What’s a minor case of nerves compared to a lovely, romantic bus tradition?) After I said goodbye to Bus Nerd, I joined the crowd of airport workers, returning travelers, smokers, and generally trife people waiting at the Seatac bus stop. Within minutes, I spotted a familiar face: none other than Mr. Clato Barnes, an elder at my church who also happens to work for TSA. Mr. Barnes lives in my neighborhood and was waiting for the 174, too. I didn’t say hi (wanted to let him read his paper in peace), but his presence helped me relax–and remember why I don’t fear buses, no matter what time of night I ride:
The folks riding with me may be strangers, but one of those strangers is an elder at someone’s church. Another is someone’s grandfather, neighbor, or best friend. Yes, there are occasionally troublemakers who make it less-than-pleasant to ride, but among my community of fellow passengers, I always feel safe.
Because Bus Nerd and I “met” on the bus we ride to work, our early courtship was supplemented by some infatuation-enhancing bus conversations, the kind that actually made me look forward to my commute. Pre-Bus Nerd, I relished my mornings. I loved that I didn’t have to be at work at any particular time, and I never rushed. If I missed my regular bus, well, there’d be another in 15 minutes. More time for NPR. After I got to know him (and which departure time would likely result in an encounter with him), I warmed up to rushing and regularly found myself running up the hill toward the bus stop, coat unbuttoned, bus chick bag half packed.
The problem was, there was no guarantee we’d get to sit together. Back then, I got on downtown (about midway down 4th Avenue), and he got on several stops later, at Montlake. Folks, I’m not proud of this, but it’s time I came clean: I wanted to sit by Bus Nerd so badly that I regularly (and intentionally) committed a minor bus foul: I saved him a seat.
I used the standard tactics: leaving my bus chick bag on the seat next to me (a shocking transgression by a woman who prides herself on her impeccable bus etiquette) and pretending to be busy digging through it each time new people boarded. Sometimes I even resorted to feigning sleep to avoid being asked to move it.
In my defense, I never held the seat if there weren’t others available (remind me to tell you about the time my sister, a much braver soul than I, almost started a bus riot by saving a seat on a standing-room-only bus), and I didn’t turn down anyone who directly asked to sit there–OK, one woman, but that was because Bus Nerd was right behind her and there were several seats open in the area. (Yikes. That one might actually be a sin to confess to Busfather.)
I still look forward to my rides with Bus Nerd, but I don’t miss those nerve-racking seat-saving days, and I still haven’t forgiven myself for breaking the bus riders’ code.
Your turn. Ever intentionally committed a bus foul?
If you’re a person who actually likes “how we met” stories, you can read Bus Nerd’s and mine in my latest Real Change column.
I know it will be hard not to have anything bus-related to read for an entire week, so the rest of you can talk among yourselves. I’m hoping to return to lots of fabulous and thought-provoking comments.