Today is the 33rd birthday of my former college roommate and one my very bestest friends, Monique (aka, Original Glamazon).
Monique is tall and gorgeous and as glamorous as they come (hence, the nickname), but it wasn’t always so. Well, she was always tall and gorgeous, but back at Rice, she was less than glamorous. She was broke, as was I. For a good part of our college careers, Monique and I were car-free, and not by choice. Both of us worked (Moni more regularly than I), were much too cool for campus (grown women lived in apartments, after all), and were therefore forced to figure out how to get ourselves from work to school and back again without wheels.
Monique is a true Texan and comes from a town where, as far as I know, they don’t even have buses. When I met her, she had never ridden public transportation (other than a school bus, if that counts) in her entire life. I, on the other hand, had been riding pretty much since birth but was terrified of learning a whole new system.
We learned the ropes together, despite Houston’s mediocre public transportation and car-focused development. We got lost together more than once, got off on streets we knew (unfortunately, far from the correct cross streets) and walked for miles in 100-degree heat and 100% humidity. I got fired from a job for being late on one-too-many occasions. (That last one was on a day the bus drove right past me while I stood dumbfounded at the stop. I think the driver was trying to make the light.)
In those days, getting fired was a reason to laugh. So was seeing a guy talking on his cordless phone at a stop downtown; and riding the route everyone called church, because of the driver who’d sing and praise the Lord for the entire ride; and avoiding the stalker guys who would immediately pounce on any woman sitting alone (thank God we had each other).
Moni isn’t a bus chick anymore (I think those days might have put her off the bus forever), but she sometimes rides the light rail that Houston recently built (a Super Bowl is a powerful incentive). She also rode the bus with me (still waiting on that light rail) the last time she came to Seattle. Of course, she created quite a stir, but then, glamazons always do.
Happy birthday, OG. Your friends in Seattle (and the stalker guys, I’m afraid) are patiently awaiting your next visit.
Bus Chick and Moni on a bus-enabled excursion in Seattle
Moni at the bus stop