Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

# 4 - southbound / Iroquois Park

I was listening to my Learn Spanish downloads on the iPod but turned them off to listen to the two men actually speaking Spanish on the bus. It was mainly the man behind me who alternated between English and Spanish. I caught Yo voy. and ....contigo. And something like ...le ferente [?]He gave the 2nd man candy and they discussed the route.

A third, non-Spanish speaking man, got on at 4th & Broadway and sat in the last sideways seat on the passenger side. I was in the first forward-facing seat and the Spanish speaker was in the row behind me. The Spanish speaker said good morning to the new guy. They shook hands and new guy said How's it going, dude? The Spanish speaker said something about a wonderful day and then repeated himself. I thought at first he was commenting that it was a wonderful day but then realized he was telling the new guy to have a wonderful day. You too, man. Bless you. You too, man. Well, see you later. The new guy got off about 4 stops after he got on. Then the Spanish speaker coughed all over my back.

Friday, March 25, 2011

# 4 - southbound

The BBB woman was already on the bus when her two companions joined her at 4th & Broadway. These two women seem to ride their first bus together. One works with BBB and the other nearby, so the three women generally always get off at the same stop. 

One of the companions said that the first bus had the blue interior lights and the driver had commented, I feel like I'm in a night club. The women speculated that the blue lights were more energy efficient and that perhaps the blue was supposed to help calm some of the craziness on the bus.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 22, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

I wore new shoes to work--I have worn them before, but this was the first time I wore them without socks, just those little nylon footie things. The shoes are still stiff and dug into my heels.  So when it was time to catch the bus for my appointment, I took the #4 instead of the #18 because the stop is closer. Even though the #18 is a shorter ride. I considered it "research," because it also allowed me to see exactly where the #4 goes now. I had thought it turned right at Liberty going north, which has led me to get off the bus early, but it actually goes all the way to Market before turning and then turns down 1st Street before going left on Chestnut. Dropped me off right in front of the building.

It was only about 25 minutes. No interesting stories. I listened to my Pimsleur Spanish on my iPod where a man spoke in Spanish about how he doesn't understand or speak Spanish very well. Sounded pretty good to me. Muy bien.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One of the 10 best cities for commuters?

According to Kiplinger, Louisville is # 9 on the list. Really?

Apparently, this list only takes into account commuting time and costs for drivers and not non-car options. Obviously because Louisville has no commuter or passenger rail system, a weak bus system, and no car sharing service yet (hello, Zipcar!). And Kiplinger obviously was here on a rare day when some portion of Spaghetti Junction wasn't backed up. And now River Road is closed between 3rd Street and 8th Street because of flooding.

Also, this description:

At the intersection of the Watterson (I-264) and Gene Snyder (I-265) highways, Louisville offers 13 city-owned downtown parking garages and six lots. Commuters can buy monthly parking permits or use prepaid parking meter smart cards, which refund the minutes you don’t use. Commutes are shorter, 
congestion is low. 

isn't even accurate. It makes it sound like downtown is at I-264 and I-265, when neither of those even go through downtown. You will end up on 64 or 65, probably both. Are 13 garages and six lots really a good thing? Does this include the new garages being built by the Henry Clay and the Zirmed building? Or the possibility of the Whiskey Row Iron Quarter Parking Lot?

The prepaid parking meter cards are pretty sweet--you also get a discount using those instead of change. But you can still only pay for 2 hours at a time.

One of the things about Louisville is you can drive pretty much anywhere in 20 minutes. Except when it takes an hour because an 18-wheeler overturned at Hospital Corner or there's a basketball game or a random road closure or construction projects or some combination of the above, plus more.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

# 23 - westbound
# 4 - soutbound (Southland Park)

I dropped the car off at the Firestone at Broadway and Preston (turn left at the Martin Luther statue! The shop is next to a Lutheran church) and then caught the # 23 westbound to get to work. The bus was pretty crowded so I grabbed a pole and stood. The bearded man who boarded behind me stumbled when the bus started up and half fell into me and a man sitting

The man who was sitting said to me, Ma'am, would you like to sit down?

I started to say no thank you because I was only riding a few blocks.

Cuz your pocketbook is in my face.

I apologized and tucked the bag against me. But, dude, your face is in my pocketbook. He had the first seat facing front but was sitting facing the aisle and half blocking the aisle.

Then the pocketbook man (PM) and bearded man (BM) bonded over the stumbling incident and then quickly moved onto highly personal issues.

PM: I tried staying in a hotel...But I love my wife...I can't leave her...We've been married 5 years...She was a dental hygienist so she really knows the body [?!?!]. She saved my life, man. Brought me back to life.

BM: I've been there.

PM: People jealous of what we had and they try to keep us apart...

BM: Family can do that. They're jealous because they don't have what you have. But if you have a Pure Love...  

Then I had to get off the bus and cross at 4th to catch the # 4 so missed the rest of the talk therapy session. The # 4 stop was uneventful: a few smokers and a college student with her iPod on loud. The former TARC security guy was on the bus but wasn't engaged in conversation with the driver.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011 -- afternoon

# 4 - Downtown
# 19 - Oxmoor Center

R. took our cat to the vet this afternoon and it turned out the little guy needed surgery. It was just after 3 p.m. R. had the car and I was at work. I offered to take the bus(es) over to meet him. I grabbed the 3:28 northbound #4 and got to 5th & Chestnut at 3:41. The # 19 was due to arrive at 3:45. I crossed the street for the Chestnut & 5th stop. An apparently homeless man (disheveled, gray unkempt beard) walked up to me and said Hello. I said hello back but in my firm "Leave me alone" voice (apparently, I need to work on that). Then he started talking to me but I have no idea what he was saying because everything was unintelligible. Like he had no tongue.

Me: I can't talk right now.

Him: Why? (I got that part). Touching my shoulder and back and standing very close.

Me: Because I'm very stressed out. (I wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks; I'm waiting to hear about jobs; my cat is about to have surgery; I'm trying to pay off the credit card; I'm gaining weight; I don't know you; and I don't understand what you're saying.)

I looked west down Chestnut and saw the #19 slowly approaching. The guy walked in front of me and stood in my face, touching my arm again, and speaking incoherently.

Me: Please. Leave. Me. Alone.

I guess that worked, because he walked off and started smoking a cigarette. He did not get on the bus.

The bus dropped me off right in front of the animal hospital, and it took a little over 30 minutes. I spent half the ride feeling guilty for being rude, even though I said please, and the other half worrying about the cat.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The # 4 was traveling west on Jefferson between 6th & 7th while we were walking east. It'll go around the block, I said, and I can pick it up at 6th Street. The new route has it doing this little circle because of the one-way streets.

The bus was very warm. Someone pulled the cord for the stop on Broadway at 5th Street but the driver kept going through the green light. The woman called out, Stop please! The driver turned onto 4th Street and stopped at the 4th & Broadway stop.

He ran a red light at 4th & Brandeis but did stop at Stansbury Park when I pulled the cord.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011 -- afternoon

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

The bus was 5 minutes late to my stop. At the next stop, as the bus was pulling away, a girl yelled out from the back, Wait, there's someone trying to catch the...Oh, nevermind. And her voice trailed off.

The driver had pulled through the light but stopped on the other side with the doors open..

The woman behind me said, We don't have time for this shit. I have another bus to catch.

A college student ran up to the bus, breathless. I can't believe you stopped for me. Thank you!  I had given up.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

# 4 - southbound

I walked with R. to the Java at 4th & Muhammad Ali and then continued on to the bus stop at 4th & Oak for the 8:13 bus, which arrived at 8:15. The bus stopped at Magnolia (I think) to let a passenger off. Across the street were a young woman in a knee-length denim skirt and ankle boots, and a guy in baggy red-and-black clothes having an animated conversation and shuffling around a bit on the sidewalk. The northbound bus barreled past them without stopping. The light turned red so our bus stayed at the light. The southbound driver either spoke through the microphone or to himself about the stop not being there anymore. Then as we drove through the green light, he opened the window and yelled across the street, The bus doesn't stop there anymore! The guy on the street said something. The driver responded, No, player, the stop moved ages ago.

This is the stop that has moved farther north across the street from the park and is not at a light, even though the southbound stop is still at the light. Yes, player, that stop changed a long time ago, but no one seems to have gotten the message yet.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

# 4 - Iroquois Park

I caught the 7:48 at 6th & Jefferson. It was actually early at 7:46. I had my iPod on listening to Spanish lessons and was confused when I thought the driver was motioning to me in his rearview mirror. I went back up with my ID, but he wanted the woman in the very back of the bus. Perhaps doing more than motioning and saying "that woman" would have cleared up the confusion.

A man in a camouflage-color coat and purple backpack ran to catch the bus just north of Kentucky Street. He pointed to me and complimented me on my glasses. They look like mine, he said. Actually, his were wire-framed and oval shaped, whereas mine are more rectangular with a tortoise-shell pattern, but okay. Then he pulled out a full half-gallon of Kroger mint chocolate chip ice cream and a plastic spoon and started eating. He motioned to me again. I smiled and said something about ice cream being a good choice for breakfast. (Even though it isn't). Another woman called it the breakfast of champions. I had just used that phrase yesterday when referencing my airport Cinnabon breakfast. That Wheaties slogan gets used a lot.