Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another relatively uneventful morning in the car. It's hard to find good car-commuting stories because everyone's hidden in their separate vehicles. Last week I was stopped behind a vehicle with the personalized plate LVGRT. I first read it as Live Great but then decided it was probably Living Right. It was a Mercedes SUV, so the driver must have been doing something "right."

This morning I walked with R. to his bus stop. It's about 3/4 of a mile. The bus has a stop before making a left turn, drives a block, then turns right and has a stop. The other week a driver stopped along that middle block at a stop and picked R up. He tried it again this morning, but, apparently, it's not technically a stop for that route and this driver kept going. R. started running towards the next stop. I turned around and started walking home, but we checked in by phone and he had made it. This morning I admit it was my fault he was late because he was waiting for me to walk with him. I will only admit to this morning, however.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

On the way home from work, I saw three* Audis in about two minutes. And I was not driving past an Audi dealership.

*It's possible it was two and I saw one of them twice, but I can't figure out how the Audi that passed me on the highway would have then ended up behind me after I took my exit without some really fancy driving.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - Hiatus over?

I'm still not riding the bus but thought I'd try out general transit stories and see how that goes.

- Yesterday morning R. called me from the bus -- he had been running down the sidewalk on Delmar towards the bus stop when the woman he was approaching stopped, turned, and "put her dukes up." I guess the idea is someone running down the sidewalk this early is up to no good, he told me. This morning he tried out his new Razor-type scooter to get to the stop faster. Still missed the bus he planned on taking, but it was a fun ride, he says.

- One of the benefits of working in and driving to the county is I was able to stop at Trader Joe's on the way home from work yesterday. In Louisville, the TJs was out in the 'burbs and I never went out that way. This one is also in the 'burbs but it was on the way home if I took I-64 (i.e. "40".) Much nicer than the Sad Kroger but surprisingly crowded for 3 o'clock on a weekday.

- A couple weeks ago, I posted this on Facebook: On my drive to work, I take an exit ramp with a yield sign -- approaching traffic is coming over a hill and has the option to use my merge lane to take their own ramp. Many people stop at the Yield sign, including the car in front of me this morning (and me), but one of the cars behind us didn't like that and honked. Even though there was no place to merge. Too bad you're late for work at Monsanto (both of the possible cars turned into that campus), but deal with it. I thought people were nicer in the Midwest?
This morning, there was an accident at that ramp. Two cars, two drivers waiting for the police. I should point out that the speed limit on the road to merge onto is only 40 mph. I have also decided Missouri drivers are mean. And I used to live in the DC area.

- I have yet to ride the bus here yet, but I plan on taking it downtown Friday to get the paperwork I need to register my car. I decided it's cheaper to take the bus than pay for parking. Even though I just moved here, I have to get a form that says I don't owe property taxes here. You have to pick it up in person and the office is only open Monday-Friday.

- Yesterday afternoon I walked to the YMCA to meet R. when he finished work. On the way I passed two men sharing a large can of beer in a paper bag. One of them said, "Hey baby," as I passed, and I could smell the beer even from a few feet away. I have this instinct to say hello back, even when I'm being called baby by a man drinking beer on the sidewalk at 4:30 in the afternoon. Over the weekend we went for a walk, and a man asked R. for a quarter and then asked if I had a sister for him. I have 3 sisters -- anyone interested?

- On our walk home, there was a car slowing down at a red light and making strange noises. The intersection was clear and the car drove through the light. I laughed and pointed it out to R. He noticed the car had its flashers on. Maybe if they stop, the car won't re-start -- it did sound weird, I said. Maybe they're taking it to the shop. R. said, That's a nice story.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Post 200 / Hiatus

I moved to St. Louis from Louisville three weeks ago and have not ridden the bus since. Thus, this blog is on indefinite hiatus. I considered a variation with Today's Commuting Story, but nothing interesting happens in the car except for people driving without headlights or cutting across four lanes of traffic to take an exit. There's no personality on a driving commute.

I also asked R. if he wanted to take over since he is riding the bus regularly to work. He said he didn't have any stories. And then told me about a man with a flashy cape and a cane. But he reads on the bus or talks on the phone and told me he might be the bus story.

My drive to my new job is about 10 miles, which is the farthest I have ever driven for work. I took the interstate the first two days and was dismayed by the random traffic jams, especially since I thought I was driving "against" traffic -- heading west into the county instead of east towards the city. I found a new route, which is less stressful. I did investigate taking the bus to my new job -- there is a bus stop right outside the building. However, the trip requires two buses and would take a minimum of 70 minutes. And that's assuming everything runs on time. The bus stop outside my office runs north-south, but I need to go west first and the stop is not at a cross street. I checked a variety of departure/arrival times using Google Maps and did find one possibility that was still 2 buses but that was only 60 minutes. However, the last 20 minutes is a 1.2 mile walk from the bus stop to my office. Which would not be a lot of fun in January, February, June-August, or any day it's raining. I also can't remember if the street even has sidewalks the entire time. Then the ride home would take 80-90 minutes.

I liked using public transportation. It took me longer, but I saved on gas and mileage, and when the weather was nice, I could choose to walk part or all of the way, or I could bike. But I have a car, and now I'm using it pretty much every day. It's worth it to me to drive and only travel around 20 miles.

I leave (for now?) with a final image, this of the ad at the bus stop outside my office.

Yucko's -- who knew there was a market for poop scooping?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

I walked to work this morning for a number of reasons. I was ready by 6:30, for one thing, and it's the annual St. James Art Fair so my bus route is on a detour, but I also wanted to see what 4th Street looked like this morning.

I'm not a fan of the art fair -- it's crowded, it disrupts residents (and anyone trying to get anywhere just north or south of Old Louisville, like, say, downtown or the university), and it's very highly priced, some might say overpriced.

Last year I walked home on the day they were setting up, so it must have been Wednesday or Thursday. This morning a lot of food vendors were parked along 4th Street and the booths were out, but vendors were still setting up their art and other wares. I considered riding my bike; I think 3rd Street would have been fine this morning, but my route home goes around the park, and I wasn't sure how crowded and hectic it might be. I am not a fan of the unknown, especially when I'm on a bicycle.

The # 4 bus detours between Oak Street and Hill Street and travels 1st Street (southbound) and 2nd Street (northbound) during that stretch instead. I'm not sure why it can't go south on 3rd Street. There was a notice on the website, but the signs at the stops aren't very obvious. They're small, and at the shelters, they're hanging on the shelters behind the benches but not by the schedules. And at Oak Street, I didn't see any indication where the detoured stop at 4th and Oak would be.

Unofficial notice at 4th & Hill northbound

Official TARC notice at 4th & Ormsby southbound
I anticipate a crowded bus this afternoon -- last year or the previous year, there were people who had parked downtown and taken the shuttle, which may or may not have been just the regular TARC bus. And I'm sure as soon as the bus turns off of 4th Street, some passengers will freak out.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center (4:16)

It was the 4:16 driver, a personable woman with cropped hair dyed blonde. The bus was even pretty on time. As an older woman with greying hair got off the bus at Broadway, she told the driver goodbye. Baby, you have a blessed day, the driver replied.

Monday, October 1, 2012

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center

I thought I was catching the 3:26 but arrived in time for the 3:16. This was a long ride to 3rd & Market and then a walk to Floyd & Main. In the pouring, pouring rain.

Considering the weather, the bus was pretty on schedule. A young woman boarded on campus, and as the bus passed Muhammad Ali, she asked the security guard sitting in front of me which street we were at. The windows were so fogged she couldn't read/see anything outside. She got off at Jefferson, I believe. Even with the umbrella, I got soaked from the knees down. And I was on the way to the dentist, so it was a bad afternoon all around. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

# 4- Downtown/Medical Center

This is less about the bus and more about the grocery store. I got off at Kentucky Street and walked to the Sad Kroger at 2nd Street to pick up a few items. While I was grabbing milk, I heard a man tell another man, I'll buy you $14 in groceries for $7. As I was walking away, the man then approached me. Ma'am. I'll buy you $14 in groceries for $7, he said while holding an electronic card in his hand. I said No and walked away. And then spent the rest of the time in the store and the walk home and additional time thinking about him and his offer. I called my husband: You're more wordly about this sort of thing than I. Was he offering to buy me groceries with "food stamps?" The electronic card had stars and stripes on it, but so did my former Pentagon Federal Credit Union bank card. Why would someone do that? I learned that it was illegal, which I figured, that a 2-to-1 rate could be considered low, and that he probably wanted cash to get something not allowed on the card. Which could be cigarettes and alcohol or even regular household items that weren't food and not covered. I didn't see myself aligning with the random guy in the grocery store, but I wondered how long it took for him to find a taker.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

# 23 - Newburg/Fegenbush (9:35)
Status: Late (5 minutes)

I reached the stop at 4th & Broadway just after 9:20. The bus wasn't due until 9:35. I went to this stop because it has a shelter and it was starting to drizzle, but there was a man in the shelter smoking. We've met at this stop before. It was this guy. When I checked the posted schedule, he said the bus would be here in a few minutes and then invited me into the shelter (You can sit there). I stood at the edge. Why, oh why, was it drizzling? He was smoking a cigarette, wearing a Farmers Bureau insurance cap and a UNC-Chapel Hill sweatshirt. He commented on the weather, and he started talking about college basketball. Of course. He said he was from North Carolina. I asked where (Charlotte) and told him I used to live in Greensboro. Then he went off on how great the state of North Carolina is for college basketball and the people here (Kentucky and Louisville) fans don't know nothin.' He cited stats, referenced games and coaches, swore how great Chapel Hill ("We") were and how Kentucky just can't admit it, and so on. The only thing worse than hearing a man go off on his favorite sport is hearing a man at the bus stop do it while also swigging from the flask in his backpack at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.  Then he told me Louisville would never win a national championship with Rick Pitino as coach because of that woman he fucked at the restaurant. I'm not sure of the direct correlation, but it may have involved a conspiracy or just karma. You get what you give, he said. My girlfriend is still alone. I kicked her out when I caught her sleeping with a [ahem] cocksucker. This led to a soliloquy on morals, safe sex, and monogamy. Then,

You know those people who got killed in Libya because of that Christian movie? (I'm pretty sure my eyes widened as I thought, "Oh please don't bring up religion and current events now.") You gotta believe in God; I don't care what God....New Testament...End of the World....You know when those planes crashed into those buildings? (Yeah, I think I recall September 11.) It's getting closer to here... How old are you? (I told him). You're young enough that you might still be around when the End comes and all you can do is pray Jesus takes you before it happens...Something about women who had abortions going first and then telling me that the world was originally destroyed because of "man with man" and "woman with woman." (Me: Where is the bus???)

This led somehow to him telling me Charlotte has more millionaires than any other city in the U.S. and people here not believing him because they've never fuckin' been nowhere...Look it up on the Internet! Which led to college basketball again and then NASCAR. It's the fastest growing sport in the country. People say there's money in horses. There's money in cars! .... And all the black people who are fans... (Me: Oh god, please stop.) ... I used to be a fan but couldn't watch it after Dale died. More about Dale Earnhardt.

Other people showed up, but no one came to the shelter, so there was no new audience for him. I didn't even have to say anything because he'll just keep talking anyway, but if I turned away for too long, willing the bus to appear on Broadway, he'd call out Hey, hey! until I looked back, and then he'd start talking again.

Finally, the bus arrived. It stopped about half a bus length before the stop, and the group of us walked towards it. It had to stop there because of a wheelchair (and the stop is crowded with a bench and streetlights.) The guy got on the bus this time and sat in front of me. He coughed a lot and muttered something about his sinuses. I'm well aware Louisville is a city of allergies, but for this guy I think it may have had more to do with the 3 cigarettes he smoked just while I was there at the stop.

The bus ride also included a man missing an arm who was worried he was doing something wrong on the bus, a man with a sleeping bag and camping bag who boarded with a man and woman who helped him find his stop, and a detour down the narrow, residential Highlands Avenue to avoid the Irish Fest. This confused a lot of people, despite the driver announcing she had to take a detour at Barret. One man thought he was on the wrong bus (I took the 21 before and ended up out here in the middle of nowhere); the man missing an arm thought he was in trouble; the couple was worried their transfer might also be detoured.

Shortly before my stop, the guy turned and asked me how long I'd been in Louisville. 4 years, I said. You married, he asked? Yes. Then I was able to get off the bus and escape him.
I miscalculated the 200th post because of some abandoned drafts. So there are still 5 more to go. They may be the countdown to the end of the current theme of this blog. A change is coming: I'm moving and don't know what my transit situation will be. At the least, it will be a different bus system in a different city. The husband is already there and has a monthly bus pass--he may need to take over the stories. We'll see.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Only one more post until I hit 200 -- I'll have to do something special. Hmm.

This morning was the first morning I've ridden the bus all week. I got a new bike on Saturday and have been biking to work. The weather has been lovely. The bike is comfortable and cute (I have the ladies model in black), and I even have a snazzy new helmet.The bike is called the Manhattan Green, but I have named mine the Green Apple. I have a feeling that it may eventually become Granny Smith.

Snazzy helmet
Monday, I biked. Tuesday, I biked. Then when I got home, I changed my clothes and walked to the grocery store. Wednesday, I biked. Then when I got home, I changed my clothes and walked to the coffee shop, which is right by where I work, but the weather was nice, and I wanted to go home first. I ended up grabbing the bus for the last few blocks. Then I bused home.

I've generally been very good about busing and then biking to work. For the past few weeks, however, I've been completely without my car, so I've been using TARC, my feet, and the bike for more than just commuting. One day I biked to my friend's house for lunch. Last Friday evening I took the bus to get to a friend's house so I could babysit. Sunday I took the bus to the grocery store. I'm trying to think of how often I've even been in a car lately: there was the WeCar trip (1); my sister visited for a weekend and we drove around town (2) last Friday my husband got into town with the car and picked me up from babysitting (3); Sunday night a friend picked me up (and took me home) for dinner (4); and Monday night a friend drove me home from dinner (5). I could get used to this.

Tomorrow, however, everything changes because I'm renting a car to go out of town to visit the husband.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center (7:52 pm)
Status: 1 minute late

I met a friend at Quills again after work and then walked north on 4th Street to wait for the bus. I stopped at Hill to check the schedule. Three cars were stopped at the light going west on Hill. One of the three was blaring a stereo. One of the three was a 70s tan boat of a car. I initially thought it was the same car. The light turned green. The first two cars drove through. The driver of the the third, which was the boat car, stuck his head out the window and yelled in front of him, Where'd you learn to drive, you son of a bitch! as he turned right without a turn signal and without his headlights on.

A little boy on the bus stood on his seat, just behind the back door, and made sound effects as the bus surged north on 4th.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

# 4 - Downtown Medical Center (northbound)
Status: 8 minutes late (2:16)

The bus came at 2:24. It has been a day. Nothing dramatic, just a series of annoying little things. Oh, and it's now pouring rain!

I left work early because I couldn't get anything done due to ongoing server issues. So, since I'm babysitting tonight, I thought I'd rest up.

Two college-age boys were at the stop. One had a trombone case. I have never seen either of them before this year, but now I think I see at least one of them once a week. One was on my bus this morning. They are definitely brothers, and I wasn't sure if they were twins. One seemed a little taller. And one had tighter curls but they both have full heads of curly hair. I should have been like the woman on the bus and just asked. Everyone boarded and the brothers headed to the back of the bus.

Voice of Woman: Are you twins?
Brothers: Yeah.
VoW: Where's your instrument? You're not a musician?
Brother without trombone: Mine's too big to carry back and forth. I play the tuba. 
The woman started talking about a set of twins who paint together. One works on the left side and the other on the right and they sign it "Twin."
One brother: Are they Siamese?
VoW: No, they're like you, but they're black.

VoW: Which one's nicer? .... Which one's dangerous? ... They say one is nice and one is dangerous.... She asked if they tricked people in school. Do you trick your girlfriends? 
Brothers: We don't have girlfriends.
VoW: Are you gay? 
Brothers: No, no, no, no.
One brother: I don't want a girlfriend until I have my master's (I think?) at least.
VoW: I'm talkin' about girlfriends. What are you talking about?
Brother: I am, too. I don't want to be distracted from my work. 

VoW: I've never seen two cutie pie white boys with 'fros like that. 

Continuing the curly hair trend, at 4th & Broadway, a woman asked me, Is that your real hair?
Me: Yes. You want it?
Woman while pouting: I want curly hair. 
Woman: Is that 31? 
For a second, I thought she was asking my age, but it was the bus across the street. It was the #31. We had just gotten the walk sign but the bus was already pulling away. The driver who was blocking the crosswalk waved an apology through the window for being in the way. That doesn't happen much.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I keep setting my alarm for later in the morning and then waking up earlier. Today I was out the door before 7 a.m. I decided to walk at least part of the way and then ended up walking all the way to work. About 2 miles. I watched the sun rise and the female runners from one of the local universities pass me twice as they ran in a group. I didn't see the male runners today.

I see you, too.
I first saw this tag last week from the bus. I've seen this figure around downtown, but this is the first spot outside of downtown I've noticed it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

# 4 - Downtown Medical Center (north)
Status: ?

I met my friend M. (HI!) at 6 at a coffee shop near campus so didn't head home until around 7:30. She and C. offered me a ride, but I said I'd take the bus. I need a story for today, I said. I wasn't sure when the bus was coming, but it shouldn't be more than 10 minutes, right? I saw a southbound bus so thought a northbound bus would be coming soon. Then I saw another southbound bus, and then the northbound bus came. It wasn't more than 10 minutes, so I must have just missed the previous bus. But because I wasn't sure, I waited at a stop (one without a posted schedule) instead of walking to the next one. I don't like just standing there.

The bus was quiet except for the two men sitting behind me. They talked the entire time, but I'm not sure I could identify too many words they said. One was a quiet talker and the other was a mumbler (possibly missing some teeth).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

# 4 - Downtown Medical Center
Status: LATE! (4:36 pm)

The #4 route recently switched to a bus-every-10-minutes schedule. I'm half convinced TARC changed the schedule but not the number of buses. The afternoon buses have been delayed.I gave up on the 4:16 after last week and planned for the 4:26, which has been better.

or so...

On Monday I was meeting a friend after work and aimed for the 4:36 to give me plenty of time to get from my stop to the brewpub. I walked up 4th Street and around 4:26 saw two buses pass me in succession. I stopped at Lee to wait for the 4:36. Closer to 4:46, a bus pulled up with another one right behind it.

Note: Two buses every 20 minutes is not the same as one bus every 10 minutes.

The first bus stopped for me but then drove past other stops. The driver made a motion like he was pointing to the bus (somewhere) behind him, but I'm not sure that's a universal signal. At Ormsby, two people north of the stop were running towards the corner when the bus drove by. The woman on the sidewalk had on her face what can only be described as a WTF look.

At Broadway there was a TARC driver waiting to start her shift. This is when I figured out I was on the 4:46 bus and the 4:36 one was behind us. I got the impression that at that point the buses "switched," which would not have made a difference until they switched to the southbound route. I disembarked at 1st south of Market and walked the few blocks to my destination.

Friday, September 7, 2012

WeCar or WheeCar!

Last night I had my first experience with WeCar, a car-sharing program through Enterprise. Similar to the more widely known ZipCar. I am currently carless but wanted to get together with a friend last night. I'm also currently bicycle-less, and the bus wasn't convenient. I also hoped to bring home some boxes with me, and that would be easier with a car.

My university/employer just started using WeCar this semester, and I immediately signed up to take advantage of the membership deals. I had no trouble making my reservation and then changing my reservation online, and it was an easy walk to the car located on the med school campus, which is closer to my home than the main campus. At first I wasn't sure how I would recognize the car -- I only knew it was in the first spot on the corner, but there were 2 corners with cars parked (one was a lot with a gate, however). is on the side of the car and the windshield and on a bumper sticker, so that made it clear. The silver Toyota Corolla was nice, new, shiny, and clean. I've been driving the same car -- a Honda -- for 10 years and am very used to its setup, but the Corolla was easy enough to get the hang of. It barely had 300 miles on it; I haven't been in a car that new in a very long time.

The social part of the evening was cut short, but I still had time on my reservation so I drove to the store to pick up some supplies. I still ended up returning the car 30 minutes early. That's my one concern: figuring out how long you need the car for when you reserve. If you return it early, you still get charged the full time (I believe), but if you return it late, there's a fee. The cost of the program could add up, too, if you don't plan your trips well. It definitely makes sense to take advantage of the time you have it and get as much done as possible.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

#4 - Northbound (Downtown Medical Center)
Status: Late/early (4:06 pm)

I'm not sure if this was the 3:56 or the 4:06; it showed up around 4:02. A detour on 3rd Street had the university parking lot shuttles on 4th Street, so I initially thought there was a large crowd of people waiting for the #4.

At Kentucky Street another bus was stopped on the side of the road. The drivers conferred on the sidewalk, then the other driver boarded our bus and said, "Everyone on this bus get on that bus." The now empty bus drove off with "Garage" posted on its front. I had in mind that I was one block closer than I was, so I just walked the rest of the way. Nice chance for exercise except it was very humid out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

# 4 - southbound (Industrial Park)
Status: on time (7:19)

Actually, a few minutes early -- the driver idled at the (green) light before turning to the stop. After everyone boarded, he took a small grocery bag across the street to the northbound bus, which had just arrived.

The Brandeis stop is at a T-shaped intersection at the top right of the T. The driver, for apparent reason, pulled past before letting everyone off so that the bus was in the intersection past the stop but before the traffic light. The light turned and the walk sign flashed with about 6 people at the curb ready to cross, but the driver started going. So, technically, he ran the light.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

# 4 - southbound (Industrial Center)
Status: On time (7:19)

I kind of like this new bus schedule. It helps that I got up early and was ready in less than an hour. First day back on the bus in more than a week. There were more people than my previous rides. The weather was this unfortunate combination of humid and wet but not necessarily hot. The windows on the bus were cracked but there was no AC. Steamy.

# 4 - northbound (Downtown Medical Center)
Status: 5 minutes late (4:21)

I confess I thought the bus was later than it actually was. It comes to 4th & Central at 4:11 and that's the time I have on my afternoon-bus cheatsheet, but it comes to 4th & Brandeis at 4:16, and I was at the park, so it would have been basically 4:16 there, as well. I crossed 3rd Street at 4:07 and hadn't seen the previous bus pass, but I saw three southbound buses go by, so the timing was definitely off.

When the bus arrived, it wasn't that crowded, but it started to fill up. At Oak Street, the driver told the people waiting that her bus was full, but the next bus was right behind her. Still, she stopped at other stops (where no one else was getting off), even though more people were boarding than leaving, and drove past one without stopping at all. I did at least catch the light at Broadway as I walked towards the post office. I got there at 4:45, waited in line for more than 15 minutes, and then arrived at the counter only to see the post office person's computer lock up. Got home at 5:15 after leaving my office at 4. I traveled about 2.5 miles.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

# 4 - Industrial Center (6:59)
Status: 2 minutes early

I was up and out the door early today. At the bus stop a young woman was holding a wad of paper towels to the side of her face and talking to a young man with long sideburns. They spent the entire time waiting for the bus and the entire bus ride talking about bad teeth, dental procedures, pain, and pain relievers.

Her: I've never had pain like this. I almost passed out at work.

Him: I bet. It's the fuckin' worst. 

Her: I'm ready to have them all taken out. Him: Get dentures or something. Her: Yeah.

Him: My family has bad teeth. My dad has only 14 or 15 of his real teeth left. His dad was like that and his dad, too. We have a genetic predisposition. We have weak teeth. They're predispositioned that way...My teeth aren't that bad. They're yellow because I use tobacco. I have 4 fillings and I had my wisdom teeth taken out. That wasn't bad.

This led to a conversation on drugs. Him: Don't take oxycontin. Morphine and heroin don't fuck people up the way that does.

Her: That's what happened to me yesterday. And I don't have a lot of fat to absorb it. It went straight to my stomach. I felt sick, I turned yellow. I almost passed out.

Him: Get liquid hydrocodone. My friend had a bottle of that....Great for hangovers.

Her: I took 800 mg of Advil but that didn't do anything....They gave me penicillin, but I don't know what the fuck for.

Him: So if there's an infection. You think it hurts now? It'll fuckin' kill if it gets infected with that root and nerve exposed. The Advil is more an anti-inflammatory if it's swollen but it won't help with pain. Ask for hydrocodone. None of that oxycontin shit.

Her: I've been dealing with this for 6 months but it really only started hurting in the last week.

Him: When it starts hurting, you know you need to see someone fast.

They both got off at my stop but went separate ways. Her: I ain't been sleeping much lately. Him: I bet. Take care of yourself, man.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

# 4 - Southland Park (7:39)
Status: 2 minutes late

This worked out perfectly for me as I'm still figuring out the timing of the new bus schedule. I thought I'd be a few minutes early for the 7:49, but I got to the infamous northwest corner of 4th & Broadway at 7:39 exactly. I had a red light and could see the bus just turning onto Broadway from 6th. Eeee!  It stopped at 5th. Traffic was clear heading west but there was no way I could cross all 8 lanes of Broadway safely. Still, I started to wander out into the street as the walk sign counted down. The bus stopped at the light; I crossed safely. Success.

The bus had a few more people than usual. I'm not sure if it's because school and classes are starting so some schedules are different or if it's just because of the new bus schedule. A woman who boarded at Hill from another bus used to always get on a later one.

At Kentucky, I saw a man on the street to the left retching into a sewer grate next to a church. Fortunately, I did not actually see anything exiting his body, but the motion/movement was pretty unmistakable.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

# 4 - Southland Park (7:39 am)
Status: On time

This was my first bus ride this week and the first since the schedule change. It turns out that the times for the #4 have changed. I had downloaded the new schedule but hadn't looked at it yet (which reminds me that I should check out the afternoon times). So I thought I was arriving too late for the 7:31 and a little early for the 7:43. Instead, I got to the stop at about 7:37, which was just enough time to check the schedule, check my phone, and see the bus arriving. 7:39 is a perfect time for me -- thanks, TARC. The ride was quiet and a little stuffy. No windows were open and the AC didn't seem to be going. It wasn't that hot but still just a little humid.

TARC has a booth at the Kentucky State Fair which starts this week. Check out these cute little buses. I think they're cardboard, but they should still provide some fun.

And you can ride the bus to the fair!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New buses and new schedules

TARC is getting new buses!

With a $4 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, TARC will replace a dozen old buses that have traveled more than 500,000 miles with new clean-diesel buses that are less expensive to maintain and better for the environment.

TARC already has 27 new buses on order as a result of previous federal grants.  

The latest grant for 12 new buses means TARC will replace a total of 39 old buses – nearly 20 percent of the fleet – with new, more environmentally-friendly buses in the next two years. New buses, which take a year to receive after ordering, will begin arriving in April.

And, new schedules went into effect on Sunday. More information is available here. Some routes, mainly express ones, have been eliminated. I never like to see a route go because I feel like it will take a lot for it to be re-added.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'm in the process of moving and was gone for a long weekend to help R. get settled temporarily and to find long-term housing for when I join him. His first day was Monday, and I took him to work. He's able to get a free transit pass from his office in exchange for not signing up for a parking pass. Since we only have one car and I have it and he wasn't planning on driving anyway, that was a deal he was willing to make. We figured out a couple bus options depending on timing, weather, etc. One route stops right outside his building--it can't get much better than that. Tuesday he biked to work and biked back to his new temporary home.

This morning I returned to work and decided to bike it. R. made it to his office in the same amount of time it takes me even though his route is 6 miles instead of 2. It might help that he has a road bike and more biking experience, but I'm taking up the challenge. It was also only about 67 degrees this morning with no chance of rain.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

# 4 - Southbound (7:55 am)
Status: 3 minutes early

R. was standing at a red light the northwest corner of 4th and Broadway with me when I saw the bus approaching. Eee! I cried. The bus stopped at 5th Street, and then the light changed, so I had enough time to cross the street and meet it at the 4th Street stop. Then we idled for a few minutes. We waited again at Oak Street since hardly anyone had gotten on or off on the route. The driver turned on the air, which helped make the bus less muggy. He stopped again at 4th & Cardinal, so I went ahead and got off instead of waiting the half block for Brandeis.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

# 4 - Iroquois Park (7:55)
Status: One minute early

The bus was freezing this morning. A man got on and muttered something that sounded like, "This bus is cold. This bus is cold." He hung a dry-cleaning bag and hanger on one of the poles and cracked open the top part of two windows. Which made it cold and just a little steamy. He pulled out a jobs-ad newspaper from his plastic bag and laid it on his seat and then sat down on it.

Yesterday's bus was also cold in the morning, but the afternoon bus was warm, just a few notches away from unpleasant. It's a sweat-or-freeze situation. It was hotter in the afternoon and there were more people on the bus, but I think they only have "Cold" or "Off" as settings.

Bus shooting

There was a fatal shooting on a TARC bus Monday afternoon. The #23 at Bardstown and Goldsmith.

Local coverage:

Police seek 3 in fatal shooting on TARC bus

Teenager was victim in TARC shooting; police have leads

TARC shooting victim was 'smart, funny,' friend says

Stay stafe.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

We took planes and automobiles and moved on foot during our Alaska vacation but no dog sleds or boats or tuk-tuks or anything else. One afternoon, we did take the bus from downtown back to my friend's house.

She and I had determined there were two routes we could take -- #3 or #13. For some reason, we focused on the latter, which came once an hour at 5 after, except for one random stop at 4:35.

It was just before 3 when we talked about heading back, but we hadn't stopped for Alaska truffles yet, and I hadn't seen the museum. We did make it to the transit center shortly after 3:05, and R. said, "Maybe the bus is late." I looked around at the people standing -- they all seemed sort of dazed. You can ask someone if it's come yet, I said.

He did, and no one could say, and it was after 3:10 at that point, so we decided to walk some more -- stopping by the museum -- and returned in time for the 4:05. Waiting for the bus, I was kind of amazed I used to hang out there in junior high. I would meet my friends downtown--either I got a ride or took the bus--and then take the bus home. The first time, I waited on the wrong side and missed one or two buses before I figured out all the routes didn't stop at the same spot.

The #13 bus was possibly the longest local bus I have ever been on. We went east, we went south, we went north, we went west. I'm pretty sure we went in at least one circle We drove down small residential streets and waited at stop signs, pulled into a community center, a senior center, and at least one hospital. R. read his book. I tried to figure out where we were and texted a friend that this ride was the cheapest city tour ever. The direct routes on Google maps say it's about 6 miles, but we did not take any of those routes.

The man across the aisle talked on his cell phone. Yeah, I know John; we were in treatment together...
Then he talked about buying something from a woman and said that was the same price he had seen. 35. I figured it was a craigslist purchase. R., who did happen to hear this part, was convinced it was a drug deal, saying the guy continued by saying something like I can't say anymore. I'm on the bus. Who knows.

We finally made it to the neighborhood, about 50 minutes later, and got off at the right stop. We were walking towards the house when my friend drove by, on her way back from work. I wondered if you'd pass us, I said. I'd offer you a ride, but you'd be home in the time it took to get in the car, she said.

We made it, and it was only $1.75 a piece.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

# 4 - Southbound

Following this interaction, I texted my husband, "If you know it's a scam, but you give money anyway, can you still say you've been had?"

It was sunny and not wicked hot yet, and I only had 2 days of work left before a delightful, 9-day vacation in a colder climate. Two men stood at the southound stop on 4th at Broadway. One of them, with a mustache and crooked teeth, said as I passed, Excuse me, darling... This is embarrassing.

He motioned to the hospital bracelet on his arm--there were two, but the one I saw was an allergy alert.

I just got out of U of L Hospital [1 mile away] and they don't give you bus fare. I'm just trying to get home.

Now, I have a dollar. He shows me a handful of change in his hand. But I just need fifty cents. This man, motioning to the older man standing nearby, gave me a dime.

I paused. I knew, but as I told him, You caught me at the right time. I pulled out two quarters and handed them over.

Thank you, darling! Now I can get home.

I continued to the other end of the bus stop and watched and waited. A few minutes later, he crossed the street and stood at the northbound corner. When the northbound #4 stopped, he walked east, out of view, toward the eastbound stop. A few minutes later, he reappeared and stood at the corner again. Then he crossed, heading north, away from the four closest (and main route) bus stops.

Enjoy your beer, today -- it's gonna be a hot one, I thought as I saw him walk away.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Biked to work this morning. I ended up trailing a guy by about a block for most of the ride. I was trying to let him stay in front, which wasn't really that hard anyway. He was just locking up his bike when I got to the bike racks--wasn't expecting that. Earlier, a car pulled out in front of me and then pulled to the right side of the road a few blocks later to pick up a passenger. Then put on its left turn signal, so I slowed and then stopped because I thought the car would be pulling out into traffic and I didn't want to be in the way. Then it sat there, so I ended up waiting behind it before finally pedaling past, with caution, to the light.

When I went out this afternoon for a short walk for caffeinated sustenance, I saw that part of 4th Street northbound is blocked to traffic. The northbound bus turned to take a detour towards 2nd Street. I wasn't looking forward to biking home, but it beats riding the bus with a detour.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I biked to the coffee shop for my weekend working date. Friday evening, R. helped me put air in the tires -- I hadn't realized how low they were until I rode on Saturday. Same route to work  but so much easier! However, I have the following happen:
  • I was cut off in the bike lane by a guy in an electric wheelchair. He came out from the left in the Kroger area and pulled into the lane and just slowly motored along.
  • I almost hit a squirrel -- two of them darted into the lane playing/fighting. The day I hit an animal on my bike may be the day I stop riding.
  • I was almost hit with cigarette ash by a driver parked on the side of the road near the bike racks by the coffee shop.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center (4:13 pm)
Status: Late

One of the only days I rode the bus all week, and it was awful. The morning bus was pretty new and had the AC going strong -- probably a little too strong for that time of day. The afternoon bus was older (on a scale of 1-4, with 4 being the snazzy new hybrids, it was a 2). R. and I had had plans to meet friends for dinner at 6, but that had been rescheduled. Thankfully, it turns out. I had planned to catch the 4 p.m. bus but got caught up in something, so I arrived with three minutes to spare for the 4:13 bus. Which showed up 5 minutes late. I saw it at the previous stop just sitting there as cars drove around, but it didn't look like anyone with a wheelchair or extra baggage was getting on or off.

Instead, I'm pretty sure the bus was overheating. It beeped. A lot. We stopped at Ormsby and sat there another 5 minutes while two different types of beeping happened, over and over again. I considered getting off and walking but it was over 90 degrees outside and humid. A teenager did get off and walked north to Oak. The bus finally got going again, and the teen scurried to catch the bus again. Around this time, the next #4 passed us.

I finally got home around 5 and slept for 2 hours.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Where have the days gone? It's been 10 days already. I can't even say exactly which days I rode the bus -- not too often in the last week because I've been trying to bike.

The biking has been nice, if hot. I spend the first 10 minutes at work cooling off -- I have facial wipes and I stop at the bathroom to wash my face and get a damp paper towel. In the afternoon, I can just hop in the shower when I get home. The goal is to bike at least twice a week. Today is Tuesday and I've already met this week's goal. If it gets any hotter, I may return to the bus, though.

Update: I remembered a bike story from last Thursday. I was stopped on Cardinal at 4th at the red light waiting to go straight. In the left turn lane was a company van: Rich James Mechanical, Lebanon, Kentucky. I spent half the ride home with "I'm Rich James, bitch!" stuck in my head. I told R. and we made up Rick James-themed mechanical-company jingles. Sometimes it's the little things.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

# 23 - Newburg (8:45 am)
Status: 2 minutes late

I arrived at 4th & Broadway 15 minutes early and thought I'd call my mom, but she didn't answer her phone. So I sat on a bench and watched the traffic. Two, older bearded white men showed up talking to each other, but then one left. The other one hung around and said, "Hey, hey!" until I realized he was talking to me -- we weren't actually facing each other at the time. I turned towards him, and he was off. It was like he knew I had kept a blog and needed a story. Talking semi-incoherently about the Saturday bus schedule and missing a bus and waiting. He takes care of an old man somewhere and sits with him. Usually, it's Monday-Friday, but this man was sick Friday so asked if he could come on Saturday. But the bus schedules! I agree the Saturday schedule isn't great at all, but I couldn't really have a conversation with the man, because even when I agreed with him, he corrected me.

I could walk a mile, but I don't really want to walk in this heat.

It's even worse when you're coming from across the river.

He stays at a motel across the river (Indiana), and it's so popular that they won't hold rooms--you have to be there every day to check in, apparently. And if he's gone too long because of the buses, he might lose his room.

Then, as it naturally does, the conversation, such as it was, turned to the weather. I know people from Louisiana who say this is great. I tried to respond with a comment on the "thickness" of humidity.

I don't think we're gonna have a bad summer at all, he said.

I don't know, I said. It's supposed to be 95 degrees today.

Who told you that? They were lyin'. I watch the Weather Channel and it's only supposed to be 87. 

When another man arrived at the stop, the man turned to him with the same script. When the bus arrived, he did not board it, so now I really have no idea where he was trying to go.

# 55 - downtown/Jefferson St (12:22 pm)
Status: 4 minutes late

Even though I often take the bus to the coffee shop, I don't usually take it home. Today I did. I was gathering up my things when I saw the #23 westbound pass. I knew from the morning's schedule that the next one would be in about 25 minutes. I stopped at the restroom and when I emerged, I saw the #17 westbound pass. Oops. I headed outside and checked additional options on GoogleMaps on my phone. The next #23 was due at 12:21 right across the street. The #55 was due at 12:22. At 12:26, the 23 hadn't arrived, but the #55 pulled up. One man was on the bus. Two of us were at the stop -- the second person asked the driver if the bus went to Broadway. It didn't, so he waited for the 23. I boarded the bus where the AC was going strong. The other passenger got off before we even got downtown. No one else got on. I got off at 2nd & Broadway, where the driver idled for a few minutes before passing me at the light with his empty, chilly bus.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I have not ridden the bus since Saturday. It's actually been kind of nice.

Monday: Despite a 40% chance of rain, I risked it and biked to work. Around 2, it started raining. No thunder or lightning, but pretty steady rain and I had no jacket or anything. The husband was driving past my campus a little before 4 and picked me up -- the bike went in the back seat.

Tuesday: Only a 10% chance of rain. I biked round-trip.

Wednesday: I walked to work. The husband met me on campus for an appointment, and we drove home afterwards.

Thursday: Bike this morning. I admit I kind of dreaded the idea even as I prepared for it. My quads! The sweat! But it was sunny and about 63 degrees out, and it seemed silly not to. It was after 7:30 when I left the apartment to go to the basement for the bike. It was 7:48 when I passed the car repair place just north of Kentucky Street (.7 miles), the clock tower was chiming 8 when I rode up to the bike racks outside the library, and it was 8:05 when I got to my office.

Granted, this week has involved use of the car, but very minimally, and, overall, I think it's a good trend. If only it doesn't get too humid.

Last night, as we took a walk, the husband and I ended up discussing the Doppler effect. Confession: This conversation does not make me sound very smart. I said, I'm sure it's just physics, but it always feels like cars deliberately speed up as they pass me when I'm on the bike. I think it's the Bernoulli effect. Husband said it was Doppler. Oh yeah. Bernoulli is the shower curtain one, I said. He said, it's how planes fly. I gave up after that -- physics was not my best or my favorite class in school.

Meanwhile, TARC posted a link to its Flickr page. Check out these historic bus photos.

TARC has 3 sets of photos up right now: two of buses from the past and one of the 2012 design a bus winning entries. Cute!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

# 23 - Newburg (8:45 am)
Status: 4 minutes late

Sunny, brisk morning. A perfect spring morning except it's June now. I walked to 4th & Broadway to catch the bus to the coffee shop. Because of the breeze, I stood in a sunny patch of the sidewalk. Across the street an air-conditioning unit was being installed at the Brown Hotel. This involved a huge crane. The hotel is about 15 stories, and the crane was taller than that. It made sense to do this on a Saturday morning, since it involved blocking 2-4 lanes of traffic, but if I were a hotel guest facing Broadway, I'd be pissed to be disturbed before 9 a.m. by a crane.

Still, it was entertaining to watch from across the street. The other people at the stop seemed equally fascinated. The AC unit, which must be industrial-size, seemed so small compared to the crane, the hotel, and the sky. Similar to seeing an 18-wheeler trailer on a barge. As the bus approached, 4 minutes late, the unit had been lowered to the roof and the crane was lowering the lift.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It was a perfect morning for a bike ride. Sunny and cool. There was a 60% chance of rain, but the forecast said it wouldn't rain until after 5, so I risked it. Even now, when it's approaching 6, the sky is white and blue.

I was approaching 3rd & St. Catherine when I suddenly thought of a friend who is a dedicated bicyclist. She's taken photos of her commute. I've photographed part of my route on foot but never on bike. When I got to work and checked facebook, I saw that she had just updated her album.

On my ride this morning, I also thought of food. Specifically the 3 diners I pass. D. Nalleys, Ollie's Trolley (both just before Kentucky Street), and the Dizzy Whiz (which is one block west).

D. Nalley's is one of those places I didn't notice until I walked home. The building is nondescript, and the sign posted on the door reads, "Cash Only." I wonder if they serve biscuits & sausage gravy, the best breakfast combo ever.

D. Nalley's is lost because it's right before Ollie's Trolley, which is red and yellow and looks like a trolley. It also doesn't appear to be open in the mornings.

I don't pass the Dizzy Whiz, but I can smell it from 3rd and St. Catherine. It smells like bacon. And it smells so good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center (4:13 pm)
Status: 2 minutes late

In the morning I made my husband drive me to work. It was pouring rain. It ended up that I drove, but when we got to campus, he didn't want to get out of the car (neither did I), so he slid across the seats. I had a large umbrella, but my feet got soaked. I avoided one flooded sidewalk by cutting through the parking garage but couldn't avoid the rest. At the edge of the garage, I passed a man without an umbrella standing under the shelter. Perhaps mustering his courage to make a run for it. Perhaps waiting for it to let up. Which it did not do for hours.

Campus flooded. Again. Classes were cancelled. People were told not to come in, but the people already at work were told to stay. When I left at 4, it was warm and sunny, and the sidewalks were dry. Considering the flooding under the train trestles, I anticipated a long bus delay but didn't want to walk because I was still breaking in my new shoes. I was pleasantly surprised to see the bus arrive only 2 minutes late. It was the young drive who says Hello to everyone who boards and Have a good day to everyone who exits.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

# 4 - Downtown Medical Center (4:13 pm)
Status: Late (4:20 pm)

Plenty has happened on the bus; I just haven't felt like documenting it. In the morning, my therapist and I talked about ways I could de-stress and decompress, and one of the ideas was walking home from work. When my sister had a long commute, she would be able to let go of things in the car--the car is a great bubble. Just think of the people you see singing or dancing along at stop lights.

I've found that I rush out of work to catch the bus, which may or may not be on time, to make it to the gym on time, while only walking short distances, when I could just walk the 2 miles home on my own schedule. I can pick my route and listen to music, and there's always something new to see. Except for the time a guy followed me for 3 blocks, I've never had any problems. There's no bubble on the bus, I said.

The ride home yesterday reinforced that. I did consider walking home, really, but I was so tired and my head hurt that I just wanted to get there. Since it still took about 40 minutes, I should have just walked, and maybe I would have felt better. The bus was 7 minutes late, which meant it was crowded. Not packed, but filling up. I sat in the front in a seat facing the aisle. As we continued on the route, more people boarded, but few people got off. 

That sky looks crazy! the driver exclaimed. It's bipolar weather! Over and over again. It wasn't supposed to rain today. That woman was checking her phone and it said it wasn't supposed to rain. There are drops on my windshield--right there and there!

Why is my bus so crowded? she'd ask when more people boarded. Because you're late! So the bus is getting the people for that route plus the people who arrived early for the next route.

A man got on with a CD boombox box. The driver told him his transfer was for the wrong day (the 15th and not the 16th). He sat down across the aisle from me and started digging through his pockets. He said, sort of to the guy next to him, that that was the transfer he had just received. I was suspicious because he boarded at a non-transfer stop, and most people don't walk to another stop; they just wait where they are. The driver called back and asked if he'd found the right transfer. We're all just going to sit here until you find it, she said. No, he said, I gotta get a new one. A man standing nearby handed him his transfer; the guy went up to the driver and showed it, came back to his seat, and returned the transfer.

A man with a large (unlit) cigar boarded and stood at the front. At the next stop, more people boarded, including a woman with a cane. She loudly said Excuse me a few times to the cigar man, whose back was turned because he was chatting with someone behind him. Then she stood there. All the front seats were full; mine was the farthest away from her. I know I should have gotten up and offered my seat, but there was no place to go. A man sitting nearby, by the window, got up to get off at the next stop. The man next to him stood up to let him by, thereby blocking the aisle so that the people behind him had to squeeze past to exit through the front doors. Excuse me, a woman said as she maneuvered her way past him. You're excused, the guy replied. The cigar man took the empty seat by the window. The woman with the cane got off at my stop. I could hear her behind me yelling behind me, Did you see that damn man wouldn't move? That fucker just stood there...

A man in a manual wheelchair, propelling himself along with his feet, was at the stop ready to board. You getting on my bus? the driver called out to him, as I walked by, just trying to get home.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

# 4 - Central Avenue (7:43)
Status: 2 minutes late

The cord on the right side of the bus didn't work, and the cord on the left side of the bus didn't keep the Stop Requested light activated. Still, everyone seemed to get the stops they needed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

# 4 - northbound (4:13)
Status: on time

I had just reached the stop when the bus pulled into view. I wish I could always time it so well.

Mr. Shabby Sharp boarded at St. Catherine. As I told R., he had a bit of a country-western theme going, although it was really just the shirt. A long-sleeved button-up tan shirt with with a red-blue southwestern pattern on either side where the breast pocket would be. His usual clump of necklaces. Baggy jeans with embroidery down the back of the legs. Held up tight with a belt. Van slip-ons with a checkered pattern. A large silver flower-shaped ring on his left index finger. And slicked back hair. At first I thought he had gotten it cut--I had seen him at 4th & Broadway on Tuesday, but he was on the southbound side--but then I realized he just had gobs of cream in it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

# 4 - northbound
Status: on time

This week I've started catching the bus home at Stansbury Park instead of Brandeis. It's a little closer, or at least more direct. I avoid it in the winter because it's really dark along that stretch, and when the weather turned, I was so accustomed to the Brandeis walk that I didn't switch back.

At Brandeis, a familiar face boarded the bus -- my friend C! I rarely see anyone I know on the bus, so it was nice to chat and catch up. While we were saying hello, a woman across the aisle asked me if the bus went up 4th "to the park." Which park? I told her it turned at Broadway, went up 5th, and then turned on Market. I think she asked the driver -- much better idea than asking the person in the middle of a conversation.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

# 4 -- southbound. 
Status: LATE!

I hadn't expected to catch the 7:43 bus, but when I saw it heading east on Broadway, I had hope. Except for that damn traffic late. I did not take that bus. As I waited at the light and watched it turn south, stop, and then go, another bus passed me heading west. On its side was the new TARC advertisement: "Make your commute a happy one. TARC Therapy."

I called R. as I crossed the street since I had 12 minutes to kill. I'm getting my physical therapy from TARC today...I'm walking down 4th a few stops to wait for the next bus.. I stopped at Breckinridge to photograph the ad I had seen placed there on Monday advertising help with homework, complete with misspellings.

Then I kept walking and stopped at Kentucky Street. I could have made it to Oak, at least, since the 7:55 never showed. The 8:07 was a little crowded. The driver didn't say anything when I boarded but at a later stop, she told the people boarding, Sorry for your wait, the last bus broke down.

Someone pulled the cord approaching Lee Street. The driver stopped, but no one got off. The driver muttered, loudly, about no one apologizing or saying Next Stop. The woman next to me commiserated, even though we were at a red light. Someone pulled the cord around Bloom Street, which may or may not be a stop. The driver popped the doors open and closed and reset the cord. Someone pulled the cord; the driver reset it. Someone pulled the cord, and the driver stopped at the light at Cardinal.

A man called out, Can I get out here?
No, because you asked for a stop and didn't get off. Was that you who pulled the cord earlier?
Yeah, um no, yeah, just about 30 seconds ago. 
The driver expressed her annoyance. The man said, I'm sorry. The driver let him off at the Cardinal Stop (past the light).  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

# 23 - eastbound

I waited for the 8:45 at 4th & Broadway. It was a cool but sunny day, and I had my headphones on as I walked to the stop. When I got there, a man asked me if this bus went to the Goodwill. The one further down Broadway? I asked. Yes.

He asked if there were other thrift stores nearby. I haven't been over here in awhile. I said I thought the Goodwill was the closest.

He was missing his top two middle teeth and had a cigarette sticking out of the side of his mouth. It was impressive. He said he had been caught in the storm last night (torrents of rain), and I knew he hadn't just been caught in between places. He had been outside because he had no place else to go. So then this morning I said I'm going to get a rain coat. Which is why he was waiting for the bus to Goodwill.

Another man with a shaggy, grey beard rifled through the trash can by the stop. He had a folded newspaper sticking out of his shirt pocket. He pointed out an umbrella to me, but I said, "You can have it -- I'm fine." The umbrella was folded so it was hard to tell if it was broken, but why else would it be in the garbage can.

The morning seemed less bright after that.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

# 18 - westbound
Status: on time

The bus wasn't full, but there were just enough people sitting in just the aisle seats that I swerved my way to the back and sat in the center of the rear row. At the front of the bus sat a toddler still in her wheelchair drinking a Circle K Polar Pop fountain drink. Ok, maybe it was water.

In the row perpendicular to me, on the right, sat a man drinking a 40-ouncecan of beer. Based on the little bit I saw sticking out of the bag, I'm going to guess it was Miller Lite (blue and yellow). 40 ounces of light beer, wow. The man wore a shirt with a smiley face on it and seemed happy drinking and talking to himself, waving his hands a bit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

# 4- Southland Park
Status: On time

One of my favorite drivers today. I was at the infamous 4th & Broadway intersection when the bus approached. And while the driver could have made the turn while the walk sign was counting down, she didn't. Perhaps because she was running early. She also gave herself room at the light to make the right turn when she needed to. Yes, this is a highlight.

Yesterday was a bicycle day. Apparently, it was Backwards Day and no one told me. While I was riding south in the bike lane on a one-way southbound street, I had a bicyclist (no helmet) approach me in the lane riding north. He swung out towards the street--fortunately, no oncoming traffic--and said Good Morning as we passed. A little bit later, there was a jogger going north on the southbound street in the bike lane. That afternoon, I was on the right-hand side of Garvin heading north towards Oak when a woman in an electric wheelchair approached, coming right down the middle of the road but veering towards my right. I swung out to the left to go around her.

In the evening, R. and I went for a walk. At a parking lot, a man in dress clothes was at his car when his puppy escaped. Cutest brown-and-cream boxer. The man obviously has not been watching the Dog Whisperer because the puppy ran around between us and jumped up on my butt. I squealed, Ooh, don't run into the street, while the man yelled, Stop - get your fuckin' ass over here...I can't believe you.... The puppy ran over to me again and I grabbed his collar so the man could get him. Although I was totally tempted to dog-nap him.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

#4- Downtown/Medical District
Status: 1 minute late

We made up time quickly--not a lot of stops and another heavy-footed driver. At Kentucky Street, we turned right instead of continuing north on 4th Street. I'm not sure who was more surprised--the passengers or the woman at the stop just north of the intersection waiting for our bus. As we turned, I could see the next intersection, Breckinridge, blocked by fire trucks.

Someone pulled the cord and the driver stopped on Kentucky. Three boys--one teenager and two younger (brothers?)--were about to get off when the driver asked where they were going. They need the 800 Building, which was further north at York. She said she'd be back on the route by then.

Another passenger worried the bus would be late and she would miss her connection. I'm running early anyway, the driver said. I could have gone through and gotten stuck behind the trucks.

I understand, the woman replied.

We went east on Kentucky, turned north on 2nd (3rd is southbound), paused at Breckinridge (the intersection was completely blocked off at 4th), then flew up to York. And turned left:

York is two narrow lanes where it meets 2nd, and it feels even narrower with a building right at the northwest corner. An SUV was in the eastbound lane waiting to turn. The bus had the light and swung into the westbound lane, coming very close to the SUV, who took forever to back up and get out of the way. I was lucky enough to be on the driver's side of the bus in the seat just about where we would bump into the SUV or take out its side mirror. Passengers further back called out to the driver to hold on.

Someone yelled, When is that [woman] gonna get out of the way?

She's moving, just slow, the driver said. We completed the turn and no one was hit. The teenager and two young boys got off at 4th & York before the driver turned right and returned to the route.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

# 4 - southbound (Iroquois Park)
Status: 1 minute early

Warm, windy, and rainy today. I got to the stop about 5 minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive and joined two guys in one of the shelters. It was too windy to hold the umbrella open and too rainy to stand with no shelter. Just as the bus was visible on Broadway, a gust of wind burst through the shelter and knocked down one guy's coffee cup. It spilled open on the ground (with cream and sugar) and then the cup bounced/blew up 4th Street and across Broadway, lidless and empty. At least it was McDonald's coffee and not something more expensive like Starbucks.

Oh no! cried the guy. My coffeeIt's not supposed to blow off the bench.

I almost said, I hope you got some caffeine earlier, but instead went with Looks like it's going to be one of those days. Seriously, why do I say things like that? I felt very Someone's got a case of the Mondays from Office Space, and that's not a good feeling.

That was so close to you--did I get your shoe? I looked down and saw a few spots on my shoe, but it could have been rain -- Don't worry about it; it's canvas.

By the time I got to work, the tops of both my shoes were wet, so whatever coffee might have been there was washed away.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

# 4- southbound (8:07 am)
Status: On time

A young man and older woman discussing religion, philosophy, etc. I'm not sure if they know each other or are just bus friends.

I don't pray a lot; I do a lot of listening and meditating. But when I do pray, I pray for lawlessness for a month...The laws protect those who can't protect themselves, and they're the ones causing trouble.

The devil's running amok.

Everyone's talking. On their cell phones and computers and video games. No one listens. 

It's like that old adage, Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. 

I like those little dogs -- close to the earth.

If trees could talk, they have so much history to share.

I think I was a dogwood in my first life. 

You best blink. Some people say Don't blink or you miss something. I say, You best blink and bring everything back into focus.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

From Salon - "It's time to love the bus"

From, a piece called It's Time to Love the Bus:

"If you decide that buses don’t merit investment, you’re going to miss a lot of opportunities to help people get where they’re going, and to expand their sense of freedom of movement, just because you don’t like the vehicle they’re riding,” says transit consultant Jarrett Walker."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

# 4 - Southland Park
Status: On time

In a case of foreshadowing, I remarked to my husband while getting ready that I hoped I didn't have to run to catch a bus because my legs were still sore from Monday's Boot Camp work-out.

Well, at 4th & Broadway I stood waiting for the light to change when I saw the bus turn from 6th Street. No one getting on or off at 5th, so the bus kept coming and approached 4th. I did not want to wait for the next bus. As the crosswalk finally started counting down, I put one foot in the street. An older man in a suit commented, I wouldn't risk it if I were you. Cars were still coming but there were only seconds left before the light changed, and the bus was turning the corner.

I know, I said. I'm just getting a head start. As soon as it hit 0 and the traffic light changed, I was out. The man said something I missed, and I turned back and called out, This intersection is dangerous! Then I scurried and ran. With my aching quads, straight skirt, oversized bag, and big umbrella (closed). I was at the bus when the doors closed. NO!  A young man still at the stop called out to the driver, who opened the doors. I thanked the guy and boarded. I was in my seat when the man in the suit walked past the bus.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center (p.m.)

It was supposed to warm yesterday, but it was grey and chilly at the stop. The other woman under the shelter commented on the weather. I thought it was supposed to be sunny, I said. She said the good part was we'd be home before it started raining. I said I was glad there hadn't been a lot of snow, but I was tired of all the rain. She said she was planning on moving south. I keep thinking about Florida, I said. That's what I'm doing, she said. She was going to help her sister settle in in Georgia first and then keep going. I can't stay too long; I need my personal space. I said it was hard living with a sister. We get along, she said. Oh, I have 3 sisters, and it's hard for me! I replied. The bus pulled up, and I wished her luck.

Shirley Temple Bag Lady boarded at Orsmby going north. A first for me, although it was early afternoon and not my usual time. She had a dark green velour track suit on and a matching cap. And thick curls. Plus many bags--4 of the Vera Bradley-type in her cart plus a few more below and she was carrying one. She was still on the bus when I got off at Broadway. She is an enigma, as a friend commented.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

# 4 - Iroquois Park (a.m.)

The annoying old guy boarded at Ormsby -- I don't have a better nickname for him. I guess he could be the Bus Driver Guy, since he calls every driver "Bus Driver," like it's a name or title. He boarded with his metal cane and sat down near the middle of the bus (the front seats were occupied). Then he called out, "Bus Driver! I need to talk to you a minute." Holy shit, what happened? I thought. He stood up and then bumped into the girl sitting in front of me with his cane. "Oh, I'm sorry," he said, awkwardly. "I didn't mean to bump you." Then he went up to the front of the bus, got his transfer ticket, turned around, and came back to his seat. Then he pulled the cord, got up, and walked to the front of the bus to get off at the Hill stop.All of this in 3 long blocks. "Thank you, Bus Driver!"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

# 4 - Downtown/Medical Center (4:39)
Status: 3-4 minutes late

The bus was full, and I was heading towards the very back row of seats when I saw an empty row across from the back door. Score!

In the front part of the bus were a woman with a suitcase, an obese woman, and a woman with her early-elementary-aged daughter. Right behind them were three men in a row (two together and one across the aisle). I initially thought the three men were together. There were of similar age and dishevelment, with greying facial hair. Two wore ski caps, even though it was close to 50 degrees, and one wore a baseball cap. Most noticeable, however, was one man had a dog. Not a seeing-eye dog. Not any other type of assistance dog as far as I could tell. The dog was on a regular leash and sat in the man's lap. It was a scraggly white collie-type of some sort.

At Lee, the man next to the dog man pulled the cord. Dog man was on the aisle and other man was at the window. Dog man kind of turned to the side to let the other man out, but there's not that much clearance, and he didn't stand to move out of the way, so the other man basically had to climb over the dog man's legs (and the dog!). Dog man continued to sit in the aisle seat with his feet somewhat in the aisle as more people boarded.

DM: You're such a good dog, yes, you are.
Young guy boarding the bus: That's a dirty-ass dog, as he walked down the aisle to the back of the bus.
DM: What'd you say?
Other voice from the back: Uh-oh!
DM: Snowball (?!?!), you're a good dog. Next time someone says something mean...bite 'em. 
The dog man pulled the cord for Hill but didn't actually get off until Ormsby. He rambled/ranted a bit and held his dog, the surprisingly named Snowball. As the man got off the bus, after kind of stumbling up the aisle with Snowball on his/her leash, the man spoke to the driver. I assumed he was thanking her for letting the dog be on the bus (note to self: is there a rule about pets on board? I assumed so, but maybe not?), and the driver laughed.
DM: And Snowball thanks you, too! as he bent down to pat/rub the dog at the front of the bus.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A series of late buses

No ride highlights -- I've mostly been standing at corners, checking the clock on my phone, waiting for the bus. The greatest work of fiction is the TARC schedule. I was excited when it was finally available through Google Maps, but that has not made riding any easier or any more reliable.

Last Saturday, I started to walk home from my weekly coffee-work date but decided it was a little chillier than I was prepared for, so I used my phone to check when the next bus was coming. Any minute, so I walked the block west quickly. And waited. And checked again. To see different times. So I walked a few blocks north. Should have just braved the chill the whole way, but a bus came, and I boarded.

Last Sunday, I rode the #43 to brunch with a friend and a few of her friends. Starting Friday I checked the bus schedule through Plan Your Trip and I checked Google Maps for the best bus option. I feel like every time I searched, even though I had the date and arrival time the same, I had different options -- different buses at different times, or the same bus at different times. I caught the #43 around 11:50 and headed towards Germantown. Along Shelby, an older woman with a grocery cart was walking north, while the bus traveled south. The woman motioned towards the bus, and the driver pointed at the corner, where she pulled over and stopped. The woman turned around, walked to the corner, and boarded. I could never figure out what she was walking the opposite direction as the bus.

A few stops later, a man boarded and told the driver the bus was late. I've been waiting 20 minutes -- I'm gonna be late for work. The driver said something about a new schedule. The man commiserated with the grocery cart woman about the bus being late. Another woman handed them her copy of the yellow schedule -- yellow meaning new times. Monday I saw a press release online about changes to the #43 starting the day before --- Sunday. But if you're not at a location with the new schedules, and you're not online, and there's not a schedule at your bus stop, and there's not necessarily the new schedule on the bus, how do you know the scheduled has changed?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

# 4 - Iroquois Park (7:57 am)
Status: 4 minutes late

The physical representation of your dreams passing you by is seeing the TARC bus drive away without you. Alternatively, hell is being stuck at a Do Not Walk sign while your bus shows up across the street. In this case, the 7:43 bus turned south onto 4th Street while I was at the northwest corner of 4th & Broadway. The westbound #23 had just stopped. The #4 stopped, picked up people, dropped one person off, and kept going. As a #23 passenger and I scurried across the street --- you have to wait for the light, or you're going to get hit by a car since Broadway has 6 lanes of traffic right there. The passenger who had just gotten off the bus waved his hands, but the bus did not stop.

The next bus was scheduled for 7:55 so I kept walking. Which would have been fine since I had my hat, coat, and gloves on. But I had thin footwear on and those sidewalks were cold. I walked to Kentucky. The bus was 4 minutes late. It took me 40-45 minutes door-to-door to get to work today. 2 miles. Totally should have biked it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

# 18 - eastbound
Status: On time?

I left the follow-up appointment with my surgeon and got to the bus stop with the #18 approaching from about a block away. A few stops later, an older man got on and sat diagonally behind me and struck up a conversation with the two guys right behind me.

Older man: Can you believe this weather?
Guy at the aisle: Can't complain about it for nothin'. Pretty good for January.
(Variations on this).
OM: Do you two watch Professional Football?
GatA: Nah, don't have the time.
OM: My Green Bay Packers didn't make it past the first round. Super Bowl Champions, ha. 
(More about the weather)
GatA is talking and then drops something; a travel coffeee mug rolls under the seat towards my feet. I pick it up and hand it back to him. GatA: How do you forget you have something in your hand? 
Guy at Window: You just thinkin' real hard. 
When I got up from my bus, I went toward the back doors and ended up stepping on the aisle guy's foot (in black clogs of the restaurant/hospital style) as his legs were stretched out into the aisle. I apologized, and he did, too, sort of: Oh, I'm sorry, baby. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

# 23 - Newburg/Fagenbush eastbound (8:45 am)
Status: On time

My bus was uneventful, but while we were stopped at a light on East Broadway, I looked across the street and saw a man at the westbound stop: youngish white guy wearing a baseball cap and leather athletic jacket. Cigarette in his mouth. Earphones on and holding onto a portable CD player. (My husband later: Maybe it was one of the ones that play MP3s and cds. Me: Why would you buy one of those? Who buys CDs anymore?) Most importantly, dude was dancing and did not care that he was standing on East Broadway at a bus stop with other people at the bus stop. He was bobbing his head and shaking his hips and lifting his legs (not saying he was a good dancer, but he was definitely into it).

The woman behind me laughed, and I wanted to turn to her to say something, but I didn't. Obviously, I am much more self-conscious than the Dancing Dude.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

# 4 - southbound Iroquois Park (7:55)
Status: 3 minutes late

It was in the 50s but windy today. And wet but not raining when I left for the bus stop. I was still north of Broadway when I saw a bus turn right on 4th Street, but I'm pretty sure it didn't stop. It had to have been the 4 and was definitely running late. Because it wasn't raining, when I got to the stop, I stood outside the semi-crowded shelter. Then the rain came in sheets for just a few minutes. Long enough for me to force open my umbrella and hold it with two hands to keep it from blowing out. The man next to me ducked into the shelter. Then the rain stopped, I closed my umbrella, and the bus came.

Someone rang the bell for Gaulbert. From behind me, it sounded like someone slipped (on the wet aisle?). A man behind me said, Are you alright? to the woman sitting behind me. I am. Are you alright? she asked. I'm good. Put this in your phone. She laughed, and he said Put this number in your phone. This is my stop. Then he recited his phone number, which she repeated, and he got off the bus. I wonder if she'll call.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

# 4 - northbound, 4:26 pm
Status: 2 minutes late

When I got off at 4th & Broadway, Mr. Shabby Sharp passed me running south to catch the bus. He was wearing a leather coat and a tangerine suit (or at least the pants). A guy who had just gotten off the bus and was wearing a hat with earflaps commented it was cold. And it was definitely below freezing. Plus windy.

The day before Mr. Shabby Sharp had boarded at 4th & Oak. He ran south across the street to catch the bus. It was above freezing but he was wearing a pastel green-and-white crocheted winter beret/beanie and matching scarf. And multiple chains and necklaces, including one with a green butterfly. When I saw the scarf and hat, my initial thought was, Someone's daughter/granddaughter learned how to crochet for Christmas! He carried a white garbage bag and a shopping bag. He got off one stop (and one block) later at St. Catherine.

When I told my husband about the scarf-and-hat set on Wednesday yet lack of winter attire on Thursday, he said, Maybe someone told him it didn't look good. Me: Dude was wearing a tangerine suit today; I think it takes a lot for him to decide something doesn't look good.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

# 4 - northbound

This was not my first ride since the end of November, but it is obviously my first post since then. Time flies...

Man on the back of the bus: [on home shootings] So many kids shooting themselves I'm starting to lose sympathy... If they say don't touch it, then don't touch it! ...

....if I had touched a gun when I was little...probably would have shot me... point in keeping a gun in your house if it's not loaded...