Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

# 23 - Eastbound
Status: On time?

I met a friend at Quill's coffee shop on Baxter and decided to bus it over instead of using the car. It's one bus, practically door-to-door. I did have to walk one block south to Broadway. Since I did not see a bus coming and I wasn't exactly sure of the schedule, I went to the 4th Street stop, which has a posted schedule. As I crossed south on Broadway, an older man crossed north on an adult-sized tricycle with a basket. I'm sure there's a different name for it. And, no, it wasn't a recumbent bicycle.

At the entrance to the Heyburn building, another old man stood under at the awning. He may have said Hello as I walked by, but I was texting a response to the friend I was meeting. At the stop, I watched him as he waved at passing cars and pedestrians. When the bus arrived, he boarded.

A group of men were getting off around Preston. Just before the stop, a woman offered them a snack - -she had a resealable bag of either those sugary, orange slices or dried apricots. The man who accepted the offer couldn't get the bag open, so the woman opened it for him. Meanwhile, the bus had stopped and his friends had gotten off -- the bus almost drove off with him still reaching in the bag for a snack.

I waited until the bus passed the coffee shop and then took the next exit, with the street waver. I walked back to Quills along the block of Irish-themed bars.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: On time

On this bus ride, I sat down in an aisle seat even though the young woman in the window seat was encroaching into the other seat and didn't make any effort to move. I had my purse, lunch bag, and an umbrella, and I was tired. There's a seat and I'm not sitting. The man in the seat across the aisle from me had his cell phone ringer on -- the phone rang twice, that jingly, tinny ringtone that's supposed to sound like an old-fashioned phone.

The Baby Jane bag lady was on the bus again. She had 9, maybe 10, bags this time and exited at Ormsby. After she got off, an older man, woman, and young boy boarded. I thought they were together since they sat near each other and spoke to each other (in Spanish). I understood a few words and phrases but most of it was too fast and quiet for me. The boy exited at Broadway, alone, so perhaps they weren't all together after all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

# 4 - Central Park
Status: 2-3 minutes late

I was up early this morning because of a needy cat and left my building just before 7 a.m. Not quite early enough to catch the 7:02 at Broadway--I saw it pulling up when I was still at Theater Square. No point in running for a number of reasons. I continued walking south and stopped at Kentucky Street just before 7:14 to catch the next bus there. Across the street a red bike was chained to the TARC sign -- just the bike frame and the chain, no tires.

The driver was a singer. Which I haven't had before. He sang while he drove the bus but not while passengers boarded or exited (disembarked?). I need to tell you....how much I love you.... He did not have a particularly good voice. But he seemed to be in a good mood.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

Two young men boarded at around Ormsby. They acted very cool and street-savvy, but I wanted to say, "You're riding TARC on a Thursday afternoon--you can't be that great." The driver yelled at one of them to turn his music down. I could still hear it from my seat halfway back but the driver didn't say anything else. When telling this story to my husband, I said, TARC drivers are like ineffectual parents. They tell you not to do something but there aren't any consequences for not listening.

From the back of the bus, one of the guys said If I got someone pregnant.....[unintelligible] I'd marry the bitch.

At first, I thought this was positive. Good use of active verbs = taking responsibility. The pause could have been "Of course I'd..." Then I realized it could have just as easily been, "There's no way I'd..." In either case, please do not refer to women as "bitch," especially if it's one you've gotten pregnant.

When I got off at Broadway, they were insulting someone's (each other's?) clothing: You better take that shirt back to the corner store where you got it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

# 4 Iroquois Park
Status: On time (I think)

Uneventful trip this morning. Some familiar faces but no stories. I listened to Pimsleur Spanish on the iPod. The exciting news is the weather is improving--I may be able to walk home from work without getting drenched in a rainstorm. And the Louisville Root Cellar is opening on Saturday. It's on the route from work to home. More fresh produce to buy, and maybe some cold juice when it's hot out?

Yesterday I grabbed the #23 at Broadway & 3rd and rode it to Bardstown Road to meet a friend after work. Random snippets of conversation about Chinese water torture, child support, and what should and should not be shared from other people's Facebook postings.

I'd like to see if I can go 2 weeks without using the car (as driver or passenger) and that doesn't mean just letting R. do all the errands. It will require a little bit of planning. I was looking at bus options for Sunday to go to the Buy Local fair, but the options are limited. I think I can make it work if I stay aware of my schedule. It beats paying $5 to park and since I don't have a bike to ride (bike parking is free), I'll just hoof it from Brownsboro & Hillcrest.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: 2 minutes late

I am growing weary of the TARC circuit. Although with gas above $4/gallon, there's no way I'm going to start driving to work instead. If the weather were better and I woke up earlier, I would just walk.

Just as I crossed Broadway at 7:36 or so, a bus approached. Except it had "Out of Service on it." A minute later, another bus approached. Except it had "Training" on it. Then the bus came, just a few minutes later. The "thinking in circles" guy had just shown up with his 2 cups of McDonald's coffee--he takes the next bus. He called out to the driver to wait because a bus was stopping on Broadway. Then he yelled the driver could go ahead. The driver and a female passenger laughed about the man directing traffic.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: On time

A young woman wearing pajama pants and with facial piercings recognized a slightly older woman boarding the bus with her 2-year-old. Apparently, they haven't seen each other in awhile since the piercings girl now has a 5-month-old the other one didn't know about. They discussed babies and toddlers and childcare, exchanged phone numbers, and talked of a play date in the future.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center
Status: Either on time or 12 minutes late

I arrived at the stop for the 4:28 bus and there were at least 6 people there waiting, which is unusual for a campus stop, especially with the regular academic year being over. A bus arrived right at 4:28. However, immediately behind it was another #4. So one was on time and one was late. We all boarded the first bus, and the two buses proceeded to play tag up 4th Street. The one in front would pick up passengers and the one in back would drive by, unless it had passengers to drop off. When we reached Broadway, my bus was in front again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: 5 minutes late

As the bus approached the stop, a bus on Broadway started honking its horn to let the driver to know to wait for passengers. Our driver motioned through the door and I thought he was indicating to wait to board because someone (maybe in a wheelchair) was getting off. So he opened the doors and lowered the bus and no one boarded and no one got off and finally the driver said something.

The security guard was there talking with the driver about run-ins/altercations on the job. Dealing with drunks, etc. The driver asked what kind of measures the guards can take (guns?).
Security guard: I had his arm behind his back and told him if he didn't relax, he was going to break his arm. 
Driver: It was the "break" that got him to quiet down.
Another passenger joined in and basically started insulting the guard before taking the conversation in a different direction.
Instigator: You're not real police. You work for a temp service. They give you a uniform and a gun and you think you're big.
Security guard: If it's a felony, I can make an arrest...You can be contracted by the city police. You need to learn the law.
Instigator: I know the law!....Something about rent-a-cops. I'm not talking about you, of course...
Security guard: I used to be police. I went to the Richmond police academy and everything. Put in my 27.
Instigator: What's your 27?
Security guard: 27 years. I was school board police...Jefferson County Public Schools has its own police.
He was with the police before, during, and after busing.
Instigator: They were just hallway monitors.
Security guard: Those were school security. They were useless. I had my own car and a blue siren and everything.

Friday, May 13, 2011

From Bus Chick

One good reason to use snail mail

USPS Sustainability- GoGreenStamps

Friday, May 13, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park

R. walked with me to 4th & Broadway to catch the 7:40-whatever bus this morning. I watched a flock of tiny birds in the parking lot nibble at a breadstick or piece of pizza crust. R. said, I think that guy is making a drug deal, referring to one of the men in the shelter (one of whom was the "think in circles" guy from the other week) talking on his cell phone. We were next to the shelter and didn't see who was talking, but I saw the circle man when the bus arrived.

Me: Distributing or receiving? I haven't been listening--I was distracted by nature.

R. wasn't sure but thought it was setting up a distribution deal, and I guess he would know from his criminal attorney days, but I didn't ask what the key terms were.

Then he watched the birds with me. Occasionally, they would skatter away and then come back to the bread. A squirrel approached and tried to take the bread; the birds scattered. Then the squirrel ran off empty-mouthed.

R: Those birds could take that squirrel if they ganged up.

Me: I wonder why the squirrel left it--he had it!

R. said there were a lot of downtown food options for squirrels and that maybe it was poor quality food. Then he headed off to work.

A few minutes later, a squirrel approached closer to the fence (maybe the same one) and started attacking an Oreos package. He managed to get the plastic wrapper off the container and found some big crumbs/chunks to chew.

The man standing near me smoking said, I didn't know they could read!

I said, We were just saying they had good food options downtown, but I didn' t know that meant double-stuffed Oreos

In other news, I decided the benches at Central Park were not stolen. As of Monday, there were seats and backs again. Maybe they were repainted. I'm sure they were missing before--I checked more than once.

Huffington Post article about public transit and jobs

lWide Disparities In Public Transit Access Keep Residents From Jobs, Brookings Study Says
WASHINGTON -- Seven in 10 working-age metropolitan residents live within three-quarters of a mile of a transit stop. But a new study from the Brookings Institution found that these commuters can reach only 30 percent of the jobs in their area in under 90 minutes.

View the report here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday, Mary 5, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park

I got off at Brandeis and crossed on the south side of the street. A man at the northbound bus stop called out to me. Being the nice person that I am, I stopped. The man was possibly drunk and slurred his words a little. It was shortly before 8 a.m.

Man: Excuse me, are you honest?
Me: [Is that a trick question? It's not quite the same as asking, Do you lie? If you say yes, then you're telling the truth; if you say no, then you're lying. I avoid the entire question] How can I help you?
Man: I need to get up to 4th Street Live.
Me: The bus will go straight up 4th Street. You can just catch it here. It should be here any minute.
Man: Are you honest?
Me: Yes, but I have to go to work. [True!]
Man: [holding a couple playing cards in his hand] I'm asking if you're an honest person. I want to show you something and give you money.
Me: [?!?! That's a switch from asking me for busfare but I do not like where this is going] I'm sorry, but I have to go to work. [I kept walking]

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

A heavyset white man wearing a new Churchill Downs cap boarded at Ormsby and then made a call on his cell phone.

Guy: Hey, I'm on the bus now... Who are you going to say was in the car?
Guy: Don't give them the police report. Give 'em the claims report from All-State.
Guy: Promise me you won't tell Monica.
End of call. He got off at York.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

I went to the fitness center after work and then walked to the bus stop. According to the schedule, I had 7 minutes before the next bus, but I was already suspicious because I had not seen the previous bus pass by on my walk to the stop (which requires crossing 2 parallel streets so there is a clear view of the stop).

Three minutes after the bus was supposed to arrive, I called R. The bus is late, and I've seen 3 southbound buses pass in 10 minutes (The route runs about every 12-15 minutes). He suggested I just start walking. But I already exercised! I thought but did not say. However, I started walking and 4 minutes later the bus passed me while I was between stops. At least the weather was nice and it was good exercise. No rain. Not too warm or cold.

I walked about a mile to Oak Street in 14 minutes and reached that stop just as the next bus approached, so I hopped on. I got off at York, meaning I walked about 1.6  miles and road the bus for 0.6. Not bad. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

# 4 - Southland Park

It was cold, windy, and rainy on the walk to the bus this morning. I had my coat with a hood but no umbrella. When I got to the covered stop, the man from last week (who pretended not to speak English) was standing there with some McDonald's coffee again. It's raining again, he said. I'm sick of this, I responded. Another man showed up and the two started talking about the weather and life philosophies. No point complaining if it's already happened. In a few months we'll be wishing for rain! The first man said his basement was flooded. The 2nd man said, What are you gonna do? It's already happened. Everything happens for a reason.

They talked about being grateful to wake up each morning. That's a good approach to take, but sometimes you just want to get to work without your pant legs getting all wet.

Monday, May 2, 2011

# 18 - westbound

Another medical appointment (about every 3 weeks now), so another trip on the #18 to the medical center. A man carrying a couple plastic bags and holding an umbrella was at the stop when I got there. It was not raining yet. He asked me if I was a student (does this mean I look young??), and I said that I worked at the university. He commented on the students finishing soon, and I said I thought Tuesday was the last day of finals. I work in the library and it's been much quieter than usual. Then I wondered if people just think the library is always quiet (it's not). He asked about book sales--I don't think our library does those.

As we waited for the bus, it started to rain, of course. He opened his umbrella, and I pulled up my hood. He offered to share his umbrella with me, but I politely declined. Then the bus came. It was a little crowded, so I stood at the back doorway. A woman near the front wore a plastic poncho and curlers in her hair. She had a grocery cart. When a passenger got off, I grabbed a seat near the front. Three high school students (two boys and a girl with a purple streak and a purple sweatshirt) were sitting in front of me. One of the boys kept looking back and said That girl behind you looks familiar. I know her from somewhere. I thought he was talking about me (since I was the girl right behind his friend) and I started to say something. Then the girl behind me said, I rode the bus with you last week. She was a young woman with a toddler.

Two women got on together and started talking about Osama bin Laden, but I couldn't get enough off their conversation to tell what exactly they were saying.