Monday, December 2

Welcome to the wonderful world of WINTER!

Welcome to the wonderful world of WINTER!! O, yea. At 6:15 the roads still weren't plowed, so I was almost getting ready to execute Emergency Plan Alpha (erm, someone drives me down to the mall and I catch the express). But the burb bus came on time (which, for the regular driver, is four minutes late.) Poor Burb Driver, he's still a little scattered -- he forgot to switch the sign to "Downtown" this morning. I didn't say anything though. It was kind of a nice morning, in a dark, cold, desolate sort of way. There was no wind, and how the snowflakes twinkled in the orange sodium lights! I'm noticing that the ridership on this new route is very stable. Same people every day. Guess the man with the little clipboard knew what he was doing. I had maybe a 30-second wait downtown for the city bus. And today I had my first-ever encounter with the dreaded seat-goo. Even when I used to have my choice of seats, I never encountered seat-goo. So this is a first. I think today's seat-goo was dried spilled coffee, but I wasn't about to, you know, lick it to check my hypothesis or anything. Today's fare: 3 quarters, 2 dimes and a nickel.

Wednesday, November 27

I shudder to think

I shudder to think what it would be like if this were a normal-length week, because I barely made it to consciousness this morning. Of course, I'm still on the Big V -- there's no getting away from that. This morning the Li'l Wildcats (the high school students who file down the street past me silently each morning on the way to their stop) were predictably absent. The sub driver was on time and in fact she was the youngest female driver I've ever seen on this route. Must be a feeling of power to pilot a biggole bus around the streets -- who needs an SUV? Downtown, the city bus was either very late, or the sub bus was very early. Lovely morning for it too -- the coldest we've had. You know, it occurred to me this morning that if the terrorists had chosen a winter's day to crash planes into tall buildings, it really would have sucked, big time. I think of these things when I am standing down at Grand Central. The city driver was not our regular one, and the bus was one of the older, more comfortable ones. Small pleasures. Today's music was the usual boring old Eighties compilation. I am clean out of quarters.

Tuesday, November 26

Still dark, cold and wet

Still dark, cold and wet; Francisco Franco still dead. Today's substitute burb driver (the sub-burban driver) did not get lost on the way to the city. Of course, it's too dark to see anything much of interest, except that it's clear the neighborhood is quite sad. Forlorn little white boxes built way too close to each other on lots with no trees. The sub was also on time, so that means I didn't have to run for the city bus. I have a feeling that won't last when the regular driver returns next week. Today downtown a lady struck up a conversation with me (she was one of the ones who had been complaining about the route changes the other day) and we bitched together about it all. Actual cameraderie! I still don't know quite what to make of the city driver; it's probably just my antisocial paranoia but I don't know why he talks to me so much. Today's music was Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham by the Shadowy Men.

Friday, November 22

A dreary morning

A dreary morning. Dark, wet, rainy and dark and did I mention dark. At least when it snows, the streetlights reflect off the snowflakes. Burb bus was running a tad late again this morning (6:52), which made the downtown connection just a little too damn shaved close -- good thing I checked out the bus waiting up ahead because it was mine. I knocked on the door and was let in. Had a brief chat with the city driver about the schedules and he gave me a free ride coupon. I don't know if I want to use it. You have to put your name and address on it and I really don't feel like doing that.

Thursday, November 21

A pretty sad commentary

It's a pretty sad commentary on the state of my life when this morning I realized that my morning commute, even with the downtown stopover, is the highlight of my day. (Or at least, my daylight hours.) (I mean, semi-daylight. Oh, screw it.) I don't know if that's really a sarcastic observation or not. I'm still generally liking the new routine. Since I now ride two buses, I have to designate them somehow... how about the burb bus and the city bus. The burb driver was late this morning about four minutes. See, I can tell this exactly now without firing up my cell phone to check the time, because I just have to look at the transfer. He seemed harried this morning. I wonder if I'm always going to be "The One I Drove By" to him. Oh well. But it had the awesome effect of leaving me with a downtown wait of, I swear, less than 30 seconds. Because City Driver came screeching around the corner like the proverbial bat today -- early! Good job, gentlemen, now keep it up. Lastly, I have discovered a fantastic new mystery on the new burb route -- another one, besides Fort Apache. Shortly before we hit the main drag, we cross "Lakeview Road." What lake??? There is no lake! There is only one lake they could possibly be referring to -- the Lake -- and it is nowhere in sight. It's not that trees grew up either. Now I have to get to the bottom of this.

Wednesday, November 20

No clouds or rain today

No clouds or rain today so for the first time I got a good look at the new route. At the basilica it now cuts back into the residential area of the west side, where the neighborhood is not specifically too good. However, my ancestors come from there, so it's not that strange. I'm always surprised at how rundown neighborhoods magically turn decent once you cross this or that street. There's this mysterious, impressively designed new building at the border which seems to be controlling the quality of the neighborhood beyond, sort of like Fort Apache the Bronx, and I can't figure out what it is -- a modern church? A community center? A health clinic? A lot of runners on this route, too. It's not always the driver's fault, although he did breeze right by another guy yesterday. Whatever. Down at the deli, two women next to me were bitching about the route changes and have the same problem I do -- the new routes get to our destination just too damn early.

Tuesday, November 19

Day 2 of the Rest of My Life Until Further Notice

So today was Day 2 of the Rest of My Life Until Further Notice – my morning commute. The first driver didn’t miss me today, so that was a plus. The second driver made some approving comment about my transfer. Something like “You’re on the right side of the road today.” I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I goofed yesterday and tried to put it in the slot backwards. I had to sit in the back of the bus (weird!) and I wound up craning my neck looking sideways and now my neck hurts. Sheesh. But you know, I almost think I like it better now. You might notice that the character of my daily reports are different. No more obsessing about fare, bus numbers, chemical dependency, etc. Now that I must endure the mind numbing cold of Grand Central, I think I am more at one with the teeming masses of commuters. Before, I always had a feeling that I was just a fake bus rider. Every day in the back of my mind was this nagging feeling of, “I’m just going along for the ride.” I was always first on, last off. Nothing applied to me. Downtown was just a silent movie behind the other side of the ad-shrinkwrap curtain, you know? But now, I’m part of it all, man! Maybe soon I’ll be throwing my tam-o-shanter up in the air among the pigeons, beaming at the sky in glorious freeze-frame.

Monday, November 18

Brave new world

The brave new world of massive systemwide rescheduling began today, and it was not good news for yours truly. Although I hope to have my new car (mine, mine, mine) by spring -- as they say, that and three shillings will get you a beer at the pub. The routes to my street were savagely cut and now there's only one morning bus I can take, and what's worse, it stops at downtown now. So I have to get off at the deli like the rest of the peons and freeze my ass off. There's nothing like realizing that the guy with the little clipboard, who rode the buses all last summer counting heads, looked right through me and judged me to be unworthy of a direct line through downtown. It really does a number on your self-esteem. But the folks in Pudville get increased through-service. Basically they stole my buses and gave them to Pudville. Yes, I gave the last full measure of devotion for them. Last week I said goodbye to the old regular drivers who I will probably not see again. Probably won't ever see Sleeping Guy or Nursing Home Guy either. The new route does not go to the nursing home anyhow. It does go through a different section of the city and picks up a lot of high school students, so I get to at least see the latest in slutty teen fashion. It was a lovely start to the day -- the new driver blew right past me at the stop and if it weren't for my neighbor having witnessed this and then flagging him down, I would have had to make Other Arrangements. The driver insisted I was not standing by a sign, and I damn well was, unless they removed it and I didn't notice. Probably did, just my luck. I feel sorry for the drivers though. He showed me his route instructions and they were all screwed up. Another unfortunate thing about the New World Order is that I have to wait the connecting bus at the deli, which has no overhang. And today was a perfect morning for it -- wet snow blowing full in the face. If you want to feel like a peasant, I highly recommend this experience. Staking out my own turf along "the wall" will be a rich and cherished new part of my morning, I'm sure. Fortunately, I only had to wait two minutes until my connection came along. Yay. While at the corner, though, it occurred to me that the view from the deli wasn't so awful. (As long as it only lasts two minutes. Longer than that, I dunno.) In any case, it only made me feel gladder that I didn't have to live in dread of being one of those street corner people, because I already was one. Maybe the people I work with dread this somewhere in their deepest nightmares as they fire up their SUV's. I don't know -- I come from a family background where having to take the bus isn't something routine, but it isn't considered icky, either. Just think, there are millions of average Americans who would support immoral, unjust wars, who would condone corporate greed, who would swallow any amount of b.s., just so they wouldn't have to wait for two minutes on a street corner next to people like... me.

Friday, September 6

Couldn't stand taking the 7:07

I decided this morning that I couldn't stand taking the 7:07 for one more day. So I hustled my butt and got out for the 6:52. Noisy and crowded as usual, but I had made a new CD for the occasion, containing various bass-heavy tracks (Sly and the Family Stone, Air, porn and "Groove Is In the Heart") which are supposed to make me feel like I'm bad and going someplace badder. Yet, I wanted to fill the whole CD, so the second half is filled with... erm... Seventies stuff like "Undercover Angel" and "Sky High," which are two songs that are so bad that they're really good. And "Heart of Glass," the song with the longest fadeout ever. Last night I dreamed I talked to Talking Girl, and she was really lonely. Ooh, I feel so guilty. Maybe that's the real reason why I didn't want to take the usual bus.

Thursday, September 5

Back after another break

Yeah, I'm back after another break. Still riding. But something's changed. I don't... wanna any more. I want a car. Well, I already have a car, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I don't get to drive it to work. I have made plans -- tentative, weak, pasty-white plans -- but plans nevertheless, to buy myself a new car that I really like. Yes, I'm going for a VW Bug. I don't want to ride in something gigantic any more. This would be my third car purchase, believe it or not. But this one would be mine. All mine... So what's new? Well, the school year has started. The summer driver has left and I kind of miss her. Now Mr. Congenial is back. And Talking Girl got a new hairdo and better meds. Quarters are more plentiful. That's about it.

Friday, July 19

No Vivarin today

No Vivarin today. Never again! Struggling to stay awake, flopping over in my seat... I don't even think I have a personality without the big V any more. So I mainly watched the inside of my eyelids today. This morning's driver (the lady with the harmless face) was annoying me by leaving the windshield wipers running (not to mention the AC blasting) on this cool wet morning, even though it wasn't actually raining. When she drove away I could still hear them grinding across the dry glass. At the stop today, I heard a knocking on the tree behind me and saw, to my surprise and delight, a pileated woodpecker. We have woodpeckers in the area, but usually they're just the smaller black-and-white downy woodpeckers. This one didn't seem nervous about my presence at all and seemed to be getting a good meal of something for its trouble.

Thursday, July 18

Today was just one of those days

Today was just one of those days you knew was going to be weird the moment you walked out the door. I don't know if we've reached some sort of critical temperature that's thawed everyone out or what, but I saw more people out and about in the neighborhood this morning than I have in the entire rest of the time I've been waiting at that stop. First, to my surprise, was the lady across the street, putting out her recyclables. I was so surprised I didn't even have the presence of mind to say hello. Then it was Ratty the Schnauzer barking his head off at something, which turned out to be an old man walking his dog. Then, to my shock, a jogger ran right by me! I didn't even see her coming. Flabbergasted, I checked my watch (actually, my cell phone, which doubles as my watch), wondering if I was an hour late or something. Nope. And of course, when I actually got onto the bus, there was another relative stranger on there, along with Nursing Home Guy -- Indian Braid Woman. She'd gotten a bit of a haircut, but still had the braid and she was in Sleeping Guy's seat, her inert body hunched over and twisted into a rictus of somnolence. (There, for the grace of God and of Vivarin, go I.) Not much to report about the actual ride except that I decided that the Man in Uniform -- a young security guard who always gets on on the main drag and always has his shirt unbuttoned -- looked like a cross between Erik Palladino and David Schwimmer. Today's bus: 9918. Today's fare: 2 quarters, 5 dimes.

Wednesday, July 17

Sleeping Guy did not take a shower

Whew! Sleeping Guy did not take a shower this morning. Good thing the windows were open. The bus usually is not full of BO, but today was an exception. I actually saw signs of life at Hitchcock House today, but the twenty-odd pigeons on the roof didn't seem to mind. Curious. I'm afraid I also had another "bus bomber" paranoia trip today (mild, very mild) when -- and I say this with embarrassment and regret -- a young Middle Eastern-looking guy, who was not a regular, got on. No, of course I didn't think he was a bus bomber, but my antennae are always up when odd-looking men get on the bus who haven't been there before. All this time without any wacko incidents, even on this quiet route, makes you wonder. Do I really live in such a boring burg? Today's bus: 9946. Today's fare: 4 quarters.

Tuesday, July 16

I was a runner

Dude, I was a runner this morning! Well, not exactly. I decided to take the early bus, but miscalculated its arrival time and had to flag it down right at the curb of my driveway because I wouldn't make it down to the stop in time. I could have taken the late one, but it seemed so stupid to wait. Never did that before, but it was cool, like hailing a taxi. And I wasn't the only runner -- there was a whole pack of them down on the main drag, huffing and puffing and throwing their ciggies to the sidewalk just before they got on. Only after I got to work and saw I was fifteen minutes early did it occur to me that it was the driver who was off his schedule. Miss Sheraton was on today, talking up a storm. Apparently Dave, her co-worker, is out of work because he hurt his hand. I listened to her blab all the way up to the hill about her fecund female co-workers and their massive broods of children. Today's bus: 55-something. Today's fare: 2 quarters, 5 dimes.

Monday, July 15

Nothing much doing today

Nothing much doing today, just the Monday morning blahs. Except for some reason, everyone sat in the middle of the bus. Couldn't figure that one out. Today's rather stern message from the Cheesy Church was, "Those who give God second place give him no place." Wal, burn mah biscuits in hellfar... What about all those weeks when there were Krispy Kream (sic) offers and car wash adverts on the Holy Board? Was that not putting God in second place? Today's bus: 559. Today's fare: 3 quarters, 2 dimes and a nickel.

Friday, July 12

Another gorgeous day

Another gorgeous day, and no clothes emergency this time. I even had time to contemplate my fare. I had a Rhode Island quarter and was surprised to learn that R.I.'s nickname is "The Ocean State." I always thought it was "The Little State That Could," but what do I know. Today I wished I had my new camera (ordered it this week) because of the big festival they're having downtown. It turned out that downtown was not closed off and we got to go by all the festival fixins -- stage setups, food booths, etc -- for the big shindig in the town square. It's a good thing I took the early bus because the driver had to make a detour due to construction and I had to walk about 10 minutes to get to my building. Today's bus: 9903. Today's fare: 4 quarters.

Thursday, July 11

Another clothes emergency

Another clothes emergency, jeez, what is this? No emergency really. I just hated what I was wearing. Unfortunately I hated the replacement even worse, so that was a nice waste of precious moments. I've come dangerously close to Missing the Bus two mornings in a row now. No time for cookies this morning. I starved. I didn't even have time for a caff. So I didn't notice much today because I was, you know, nearly comatose. Nursing Home Guy is back. And downtown, this big guy with big hair got on. He wasn't familiar so of course I went to Defcon 2. (Or is it Defcon 4? Whatever the "low alert" one is.) And he didn't get off at the hospital either. Or the VA. So I was in backdoor mode. (Hey, I know I'm paranoid, but I get that way when I don't get my V, ya know.) Well, I looked him over after we both got off and he was safely on his way... I think he's a student. I'm going to call him Hair Bear. Today's bus: 9927. Today's fare: 2 quarters, 5 dimes.

Wednesday, July 10

Major clothes emergency

I had a major clothes emergency today - front of a shirt got ripped - and so I had no time for breakfast. Thank god for soft chewy chocolate chip cookies. I had to eat them on the way down to the stop, something I never do. I saw a jogger today, which is unusual for around here. Ratty the Schnauzer barked his head off. All I really remember from this morning was that it was very sunny (again, unusual for around here) and everything was all sparkly. And that there were ten pigeons on the roof of Hitchcock House and two in the feeder, including a big, bull-necked male doing some sort of funky domination dance. Hey, this is my happening, baby, and it freaks me out! And I saw the loveliest little family at the downtown stop today. Two pretty girls looking in their early teens, dressed like early teens and not like sluts, and a little 3-year-old girl, with their mother (or grandmother, I couldn't tell) - just such a nice sight! I wanted to give those 2 girls fully paid college scholarships to the university of their choice, that's how nice they looked. Today's bus: 9928. Today's fare: 1 quarter, 7 dimes and a nickel.

Tuesday, July 9

Back to the Ride after the long holiday weekend... I had the pleasure of an open window today. Hate 'em when they're not near me, love 'em when they are. Today's bus was (as usual) one of the old ones, although I suppose at one time it was the pride of the fleet, since it still proudly proclaims that it's "natural gas powered." However, Old Glory once again seemed to have trouble making it up the street. And the engine noise at the back sounds like a little girl screaming. Nobody on this morning except Sleeping Guy, who was reading the paper. He then, of course, went back to sleep. I don't know what happened to Nursing Home Guy but he never seems to be on any more. Romeo and Juliet, the young couple (barely out of teens) who get on on the main drag, sat in back of me today. I call them Romeo and Juliet because they're fond of PDA's and he always has to get off the bus before she does, separating them cruelly. Today's message from the Cheesy Church (yes, they're back to pious pith as opposed to party ads): "The best vitamin for a Christian is B1." Get it? Be one? Those nutty Methodists, I'm tellin ya. Today when I was downtown I was transfixed by the big "Heart of [City Name]" ad on one of the buildings... it's not like I've never seen it before, but sometimes you just have to stare. Today's bus: 555. Today's fare: 4 quarters.

Tuesday, July 2

Greetings from the Empire of Billy. Today I engaged in my favorite pastime at the stop: Perv Alert. Basically, since so few cars ever come by that early in the morning, any time someone does drive by I make a mental note of the license number and model, plus a physical description of the driver. Okay, I don't really make a write-down note of it, but it's never a bad idea to be watchful, y'know? Today's perv was a heavyset white male with a mustache in a black or blue-black Saturn. Ordinarily I wouldn't have even written about this, but he was coming down the street with his high beams on (weird) and he looked right at me. Nobody ever looks at me, so my antennae were up right there. Ooh, excitement. But seriously, I do stay alert at the stop and I even have an escape route planned if someone tries something funny. I'm at the point where I don't care if I seem too fearful or un-trusting of passersby any more -- I'm a firm believer in Gavin De Becker's excellent points about "The Gift of Fear." For the second day in a row, I got virtually no sleep the night before, thanks to the hot weather. Factoid of the day: Did you know that Vivarin has only three letters different from Vicodin? Today's bus: 9956. Today's fare: 4 quarters. I spent a lot of time on the downtown portion of the ride trying to figure out exactly how the lady in front of me achieved her upswept hairdo. Never did figure it out.

Monday, July 1

I was going to take the 6:52 this morning but missed it since I was standing around blabbing to my mother about what goes on on the 6:52. So it was back to the 7:07 and its comfy old seats, so much more unattractive with their blue vinyl but so much more ergonomically correct for the petite in frame. The poor old bus could barely make it up the street, it seemed to have no power. And the driver (the one who took the scenic detour last week) seems to be struggling with the turning radius on this beast. I don't know if she's just inexperienced or if the bus is just bigger than the newer ones, but it took her four tries to make the turn out of the parking lot at the nursing home today. And this isn't the first day this has happened. Oh well, I'm sure she'll get the hang of it. Today I discovered (the obvious fact) that Vivarin works better and faster if you scrape the coating off. Is this what I've come to? Will I be mainlining it next week? As the Cheesy Church admonishes, "Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional." Five pigeons at Hitchcock House today. I noticed for the first time a large vacant field behind some of the houses near there. This must be one of the empty tracts left over from decades ago when they planned to run a highway bypass right through the heart of the neighborhood. The plan was dropped (although you can still see the offramp to nowhere over off the main drag) but not before they bought out and demolished some homes, leaving odd gaping holes here and there throughout suburban streets. It's sort of neat, actually -- an unroad. Today's bus: 557. Today's fare: 4 quarters.

Friday, June 28

My sole observation for the day: The older buses have far more comfortable seats.

Thursday, June 27

It looks as if I have a choice: take the 7:07 and get on an old bus with questionable seating, or take the 6:52 and deal with the blasting air conditioning. I chose the latter today, but came prepared with a sweater. The regular driver on this route is a heavyset white woman with glasses and a harmless face. She reminds me of another woman I work with. My fanciful assumption is that she has the AC blasting bright and early each day because she has an overbearing supervisor who makes her life hell and she's afraid of what will happen if she doesn't. (This is also true of the woman I work with, so maybe I'm just projecting.) Today's message from the Cheesy Church leads me to believe that they've run out of sayings from the Book of Quips. The holy message today informed us of some weekend function and said "Starbucks and Krispy Kreams [sic] to the 1st 100 arrivals." Somehow, I don't feel inspired. Today's PSA's failed to inspire me as well, especially a new anti-smoking one which made me wish I had a L'Espion (that camera that goes on your keychain). It was a picture drawn by a child showing a bomber plane dropping (presumably lit) cigarettes over a city skyline. The caption: "What's the Real Threat?" Tackeeeeeeee! At Bunny Corner today, there was no bunny, but there was a cat. Uh-oh. This was a different cat than the white one yesterday, but I saw that one again too. I've noticed a lot of cats in the neighborhood lately. I wonder why they don't go after the pigeons at Hitchcock House. There were six of them today. (I probably should explain why they interest me -- it's because this is a suburban neighborhood and pigeons aren't exactly a common sight. Why they are in love with Hitchcock House is a mystery.) On the main drag, I noticed that the supersize Yoda in the window of Dueling Pizza Shop 1 has a big microphone in front of him. The Downtown Report: Nothing really except for a perfectly audible discussion between a lady and a heavyset man about bus riding and car troubles. The man got his car repossessed due to a "mistake." "Was it the bank's?" the lady asked. "No," he admitted after a while, "I think it was me." Turns out he missed 2 or 3 payments. Then they traded stories about banks ripping them off in various ways. Today's bus: 9928. Today's fare: 3 quarters, 2 dimes and a nickel.

Wednesday, June 26

Welcome to la-la land. Today was a different ride too, but I was a little more involved in it this time. Sort of. Due to various minor crises, I had to take the 7:07 again this morning. I was dismayed to see another ancient bus turn the corner, but happily this one had its seats configured in the usual way. I wasn't really in the mood to play the not-looking-at-anybody game this morning. While still deep in suburbia, and while I was the only passenger, the driver (a new one I didn't recognize) flew past one of the turns. She just kept driving down the wrong road, and I just kept sitting there. Why? Because I confess, I didn't want to go the same old way to work. In fact, I didn't want to go to work at all. Riding the same route daily does this to you. So for three blocks I sat there and let her get herself more lost while I enjoyed the scenery. (It's not like she was missing any stops with passengers.) Finally she stopped at a stop sign and threw up her hands, so I went up to her and helped direct her back to the route. Five minutes of illicit freedom. We both apologized to each other for being in La-La Land. Except I sort of wasn't. Or maybe I am. Anyhow, two sights to mention: An unfamiliar white cat sprawled out on one of the suburban lawns (I've never seen this cat before), looking up at the bus and directly at me. And a woman down along the main drag who looked as if she was pretending to wear a Muslim headscarf, except it looked just like she merely threw a lace slip over her head. Today's bus: 514. Today's fare: A really heinous collection of random change. It wasn't a good fare day.

Tuesday, June 25

Well, today was quite different! I overslept about 20 minutes due to the muscle relaxant I had to take last night for a sudden severe twinge. I can still barely bend forward. I have no idea how it happened. So I was dragging around all morning. When I got down to the stop, I saw that the local cops had set up their portable speed gun just down the street. The speed limit is 30, and they show you how fast you're actually going. They had this set up around here a few years ago and I was shocked to see how fast I drove. Anyhow, as I heard a rumble, the speed gun came to life and showed that someone was going 2, 4, 6 miles per hour... it was, of course, the bus approaching from a distance. When I got on the bus, I got a big surprise: it was one of the ancient blue buses, and the seats were all the old-fashioned kind -- the ones lining the sides of the bus, where you have to actually sit and face other human beings. As the PSA across from me on the bus said, "Life can change in a second. Social workers are here to help!" I spent the whole trip carefully not looking at anybody (although I couldn't avoid looking at the Vietnamese high school student who was playing his Gameboy because he was sitting right across from me). Today's bus: 540. Today's fare: 4 quarters. And today's mystical message from the Cheesy Church: "Car wash Saturday 12-2." What could it mean?

Monday, June 24

I got about four hours of sleep last night, and only fell asleep again 15 minutes before I had to get up. So of course, this morning I've consumed enough caffeine so that you could put me on a treadmill and power an entire small town. What else is new? Well, it's an all new season! And all new drivers! From what I understand, they put part-timers on this route during summer, and you could tell. The ride was so bumpy this morning, I don't know if it was bad driving or just a bad bus (today's, 9933; today's fare, 4 quarters). The air conditioning was on full blast, plus all the windows were open. Must be summer policy. The driver went down the hill by my house so fast that she almost missed the turn. Today's message from the Cheesy Church is the same as last week -- a bit stern for them: "Prayer is never a substitute for obedience." Today's flora and fauna report: There was a bunny this morning at Bunny Corner. Rabbits are fairly rare in our burbs, so it's always fun to see one. This was a big one. And, there were no less than 9 pigeons on top of Hitchcock House. That is actually not a lot. Strangely enough, there seemed to be a lot of humans out and about on the streets this morning, too. And I don't know if this really counts as fauna, but one of the dueling pizza parlors on the main drag had a larger-than-life Yoda statue in the window this morning. What the hell? Definitely counts as weird.

Sunday, June 23

Hey ho! I've been riding, but not writing. Bad girl. I have no excuse, except that I've been dog tired for the last couple weeks, and haven't had time to log in when I get to work. Now I have to write this on a Sunday night to catch up. Last Thursday turned out to be Mr. Congenial's last day as our 7:07 driver for the summer. He is going over to drive in Pudville now. He seemed happy to see me, as well as the other regulars, for his farewell. I was going to warn him not to let the truck-eating Parkway bridge get him, but it never came up. (There are actually some buses which have big red signs next to the steering wheel warning the drivers that they should not take the bus onto the Parkway for that very reason.) Also on Friday, I learned the truth about Nursing Home Guy. He's not an outpatient; he's a janitor. He shouldn't even be working, he should be enjoying his retirement. Well, I promise this week I will write daily. Apparently, I have a couple of daily readers...

Thursday, June 13

This morning's ride was shocking pink - yes, it was the Fuchsia Bus. I wasn't the only one who noticed, because a couple people were talking about it. I took the 7:07 this morning -- just like old times, with Nursing Home Guy and Sleeping Guy, who has a new jacket. The normally pleasant bus driver seemed a bit cranky this morning. He snotted at a lady who hesitated at a stop sign -- "Jeez, I hate this, she had the right of way!" -- and sounded none too cheerful with his usual farewell downtown. Today's bus: 9948. Today's fare: 2 quarters, 5 dimes. Today's chemicals: one whole Vivarin.

Wednesday, June 12

The Cheesy Church actually had a decent message out there today. It says, "Wisdom has two parts: (1) Having a lot to say. (2) Not saying it." Heavy, man, heavy. It's a philosophy I always try to follow here on this website. Anyhow, not much shakin' on the Trip today, except I saw an incredible amount of pigeons on the roof of a rather deceptively ordinary house today. So I will henceforth call this place the Hitchcock House. Actually, all of the suburban fauna seemed to be very actively engaged in the business of survival this morning -- squirrels, chipmunks, and all kinds of birds. I also have to say that I noticed an awful lot of overweight people downtown this morning. Not that there's anything wrong with however much anybody wants to weigh, but I'm just sayin'. The one exception is this very pretty young Asian girl who has been at the downtown stop with her bicycle for the last few mornings. It may sound weird, but she reminds me of a young Chinese Marlo Thomas. Today's bus: 9930. Today's fare: 3 quarters, 2 dimes and a nickel.

Tuesday, June 11

Today I am taking a mental health day, as those hideous horses are just too much for me.