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.
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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). WeCar.com 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.