Friday, 4/16.2004
Tuesday, 3/9/2004
Tuesday, 1/06/2004
Wednesday, 11/18/2003
Tuesday, 5/6/2003
Monday, 5/5/2003
Monday, 4/21/2003
Monday, 3/17/2003
Thursday, 1/30/2003
Wednesday, 10/20/2001
Tuesday, 5/15/2001
Tuesday, 5/8/2001
Tuesday, 5/1/2001
Friday, 4/27/2001
Wednesday, 4/25/2001
Tuesday, 4/24/2001
Monday, 4/23/2001
Tuesday, 4/17/2001
Monday, 4/16/2001

Friday, 4/16.2004: #133 to White Center
The 133 showed a powerful narcotic effect this afternoon, placing one bobbing head against a window pane, another thrust backwards against the vinyl seatback, and causing, though slowly as the bus lulled on, the man beside me to droop forward, then over, nearly into my lap.  

I graded papers while they slumbered, stopping only when the head in my lap made scribbling "Great stuff!"  or "Good job!" or "Really, are you sure?" impossible.  Poor baby.

Tuesday, 3/9/2004: #20 to downtown
Feared for my life today as La Gossipa governed the wheel while gossiping like mad with the guy reading the paper behind her seat.  Horrified.  Bit nails all morning.  Should have ridden my bike.

Tuesday, 1/06/2004: #s 20, 71, 7, 71, 20
Today was different: snow, sliding buses, the gal with "two new knees!" (and off the crutches) refusing at first to get on, citing slippery steps, but then getting on anyway ... and we were off!: collectively working to steam up the windows of this, our transport, all going off to work or school or other things generally downtown.

 And for what? One answer: stuck buses. This one accordioned out into a tidy L, blocking the Ave and stacking up buses for blocks.


Later in the day, much later, your rider, friend of buses and bus riders, I here remind you, was responsible (yes, it was me: consider this my confession) for the L'ing of another accordion bus: this one the 20 headed back to White Center. Well sort of.

 Though I meant to help,
by telling the driver to turn around,
Don't go off into the the snowy shipyards!

 Help I did not, fore turning meant to 
JackKnife, Ouch!
And so I walked home, we walked home,
up Delridge, well ... I ran,
Shamefaced: no friend of buses on this day.

Wednesday, 11/18/2003: #135 to White Center
Not being a regular rider on the 135 out of downtown headed for White Center at 9:46 p.m., I was previously unaware that Dale makes a habit of getting on each workday evening, coverall-clad ("Dale" emblazoned over his right smoker's lung), carrying for the ride a thick paperback novel. In addition to this, I had no idea that this novel is disposed of in a very particular way involving: reading, sure, but more importantly fingering back through the top-right-hand corners of the unread pages -- back back back towards the end of the book ... all the while still reading. When it comes time to turn the page for real, this same Dale begins the careful absent-minded page turning all over again, soiled nimble reading hands cradling the text for the evening.

Tuesday, 5/6/2003: #71 Northbound in the Tunnel
I hate to keep insisting on this, but something happened on the bus today.  Three hoots from a woman a few rows back and then she traveled into a seizure.  The thing is, of course, that we all know about seizures by now and what not to do, so most of us just continued to sit there.  One gal read her horror novel with what was the same horrific attention she'd given to it before the hoots and the seizure.  Another guy scratched at his dry, scaly forearms, making snow fall all around him, but he does this each day at this time. 

Soon the siezure stopped and the woman came around.  As we pulled away from the next stop, she looked dazed but alert there on the bench where it was decided we'd leave her.

Monday, 5/5/2003: #133 to Downtown
While one might imagine the etiquette for such things would keep drug dealing at the bus stop to a minimum in the early hours of the a.m.-- the five or ten minutes leading up to the arrival of the 133 this morning proved otherwise. 

Three deals went down. D1: A tweakerish looking guy gets dropped at the bus stop, bumming a cigarette off his father before getting out of the car.  The moment he gets the thing lit a dealer ambles up, they quarrel, then go back to the shooting gallery behind the Laundromat.  D2: Then one of the Longly Bearded Dealers (who do those guys think they're fooling?) shows up at the stop across the street, does a trash-can transaction, mumbling directives to one of his cloaked cronies at the bus stop.  Is no bus stop sacred? D3: Deal three is overseen by the first dealer who's now returned (alone) from the shooting gallery behind the Laundromat.  It's an Exchange While Walking that takes place amid the oily spots of the Texaco station.

By now, though, I'm deep within the hold of the bus, jerked left, then forward, as the new guy, the driver, stabs at the pedal making up time.

Monday, 4/21/2003: #20 to Downtown
Though validity would suffer if I said that everyone has resilient everyday systems (RESs), one rider this morning proved to have one-heck-of-a RES up and running in full glory.  Oh boy!

Getting on the bus, he mumbled something to the driver about needing to find his transfer ... then once seated, a few seats back from the front, a fat Mafioso-sized wad of used transfers erupted from a side pocket of his cargo pants.  He'd produced a rainbow of free rides, all color-coded, each one representing a day of the month.

"Uh huh," he announced to nobody around him, pulling out the color of the day -- lime green -- before neatly tucking the wad back into his pants and going up to wave it under the nose of the driver.

When he got back the woman in the seat behind him was giggling.  "What," he said, smiling.  "You pay to ride the bus?  Nuh uh.  Not me.  Not when I can ride for, ow!, free."

Monday, 3/17/2003: #133 to Downtown
Looking out the right side of the bus, this morning, I continued my survey of tents and other fragile structures lining the freeway.  A tent.  A tent beneath a tarp.  A tarp keeping an array of small plastic chairs dry, as if an illegal game of mucial chairs had been busted mid song.  We drive past these structures, most of them in the woods beside the highway, mobile we move past them all daily. 

Thursday, 1/30/2003: #20 to Downtown
The guy in the zippy wheel chair backs down the aisle, gals on the way to work folding up their knees in toe-saving gestures.  I can't see the guy's face -- he's directly in front of me -- but the guy with no jacket recognizes him when he gets on.  "Hey man," says the guy with no jacket to the guy in the chair, and they shake hands.  The gal with long curly hair gets on and recognizes the guy in the chair.  She sits down near him so they can talk.  Does everyone know him?  When I look up from my book he's gone, but when I look out I see him speeding along under the W. Seattle Bridge -- where he crosses against a red and then vanishes in that area down near the Sundowner.

Wednesday, 10/20/2001: #20 to West Seattle
An older skinny rail of a guy gets on.  He's wearing a bike helmet, one of those old Styrofoam jobs, and a backpack.  I look the guy over -- red, swollen hands, dirt in the cracks of his wrinkled face, a double-d moustache -- and decide he can't be anything else but a miner.  For the record, I've just concluded that a miner got on the bus in downtown Seattle.

The bus lurches and bounces onto the viaduct, bending and wheezing in the middle, and the miner pulls out a hamburger.  I put away my book to make sure I don't miss a single one of the six bites it takes him to dispose of the burger.  Wrapper goes under the seat.  We're getting off the viaduct now, and he's begun to slurp at what's left of a melted Eskimo Pie.  Elements of the Pie reside in his moustache.  Time still to roll a cigarette, don't worry, as we are carried up Delridge to his final destination.  I watch as he removes his bike from the front of the bus, lights the cigarette, and then rides off into the neon glow made by KMart.

Tuesday, 5/15/2001:  #20 to Downtwon
At its very best, a busride can transcend mere transportation and become a sort of mobile lecture series. 

Such was the case this morning, as riders sitting in the accordioning center section of the bus were treated to idle chit chat about such things as: nipple piercing and the expected pain  therein; teenage lesbian foursomes and the accompanying Tired Tongue Syndrome; the ins-and-outs of tattooing the intials of one's first love on one's ankle (confirmed as NOT a good idea); and Jason (whoever Jason is?) and his mediocre kissing skills.  Outside it was beginning to rain, gray and dark and almost Seattle again.

Tuesday, 5/8/2001: #20 to Downtown
The guy with four wallets (all chained together!) was on the bus this morning.  Four wallets and two fanny packs -- to be precise.  When he walks, the chain rattles some.  And of course, the four wallets produce a considerable drag on the trim of his pants.

Tuesday, 5/1/2001:  #20 to Downtown
The announcement came over the wire this morning:  fare increases are coming.  It appears to have dawned on the Powers the Be that tapping people using public transportation for a quarter a ride will manufacture $10 million a year for the public coffers.  Of course, an income tax on Washington's richest castes could rake in many times that amount while encouraging group commuting and discouraging the stacked-up lines of SUVs this morning's 20 spent the bulk of the ride stuck in traffic beside. 

Friday, 4/27/2001: #20 to Downtown
You take the same bus each day and start to think nothing new will ever happen.  Today, however, I learned that (now get this) there is at least one bus-riding citizen who uses triple-antibiotic ointment (!) as hand lotion.  Yes, squeezing out a large dollop of the stuff, this same bus-riding citizen was seen smearing the stuff all over his hands.  No visible cuts or bruises or anything.  Just a little dry skin.

Wednesday, 4/25/2001: #20 to Downtown
Blaring personal listening device as subversive noise pollutant and agent of interpersonal/cultural warfare proves menacing to some reading, quietly sitting riders. 

Tuesday, 4/24/2001:  #20 to Downtown
Fumbling for my pass, I saw it was her:  the return of the freckled bus driver lady -- an emotional wreck of a gal with no outlet for her emotional turmoil other than quick and savage jabs at the gas pedal and brakes.  Each compacting crunch of the bus, each bronco-bucking bump she plowed over, became a veritable caterwaul of freckled pain.

Beware of the freckled bus driver lady!

Monday, 4/23/2001:  #20 to Downtown
I do not admit to being a pro at using an amplified public address system, but one would hope that a driver of buses might know better than to do his throat-clearing yoga routine in close proximity to a working mike.  This morning, however, such hopes did not come true. 

In other news, a man of normal proportions sat on the steps (leading down to the rear door) for the bulk of this morning's ride.  Changing shoes?  Sleeping?  These things remain unknown.

Tuesday, 4/17/2001:  #20 to Downtown
Five kids is not only, as they say, 'a lot of mouths to feed,' but a lot of bus tokens to shell out for -- not to mention seats to be occupying at 8:30 a.m. when people with fewer children and more work to do are trying to get downtown.  Nonetheless, such was the predicament this morning as two parents (sic) and their five apparent progeny, white and Whopper-fed, variously came to occupy both aisle and seat at the rear of the 20.

"Mommy, is this downtown?"
"No Timmy.  Now stop sitting on your sister and ..."

To sum up: parents (sic) with a  week off decide, early in the week, to utilize public transportation in the interest of an expedition out of their suburban locale and into the sweaty alley ways and under-ventilated enclosures of Downtown.  Cooked salmon is a goal.  Some shopping.  This is a family of seven, ranging in age from oh I'd say 35 to 1.5.  As a group they talk about such things as:

"Mommy, is this downtown?"
"Not yet hon'."

As the bus fills with regular, transfer- and hangover-carrying customers, the Massive Family becomes further crowded and mashed into their corral at the rear of the bus.  Noises of infantile sucking permeate the space.

Monday, 4/16/2001: #20 to Downtown
School's back in session, and the little ones flood the bus.  A boy eating a banana gets eyed by not one, but two other little kids.  Do they want his banana?  After eating the banana, the boy dozes against his mother's chest for the rest of the ride.  She holds him, looking off at the buildings passing by.