Friday, August 29, 2008

Getting R.E.M. Sleep

It's hard to believe that up until now, I haven't encountered someone who snores. There have been plenty of sleepers, in fact, once I was tempted to shake an elderly man for whom I feared the worst. His head was tilted back, and his mouth wide open. He did not make a peep or a move as the bus jostled him around for 15 minutes. He was pale and old, what was I supposed to think? But as soon as the bus came to his stop, he snapped awake like he had an alarm clock in his head and walked off like nuthin' of it. I breathed a sigh of relief at that one, and then thought to myself: He's a true pro; I have so much to learn still.... Today, the snorer is already on the bus and muffling when I sit down. His head is leaned against the window (something I would never allow to happen) but he constantly shifts his body to find that comfortable position. Every half minute or so when he inhales the peak snore to grasp more oxygen, he lifts his hand to wipe the dribble of slobber from his mouth -- while asleep. He also continues to grip his grocery bag pretty good. In fact, his body movements contradict his head. It's like everything from the chin down is awake and moving but the head is knocked out cold! Just as I'm getting used to that weird scene, three teens walk on the bus, two guys and a girl that look to be high school age. They are sporting some '80s/'90s combo confused style. I'm not even sure what's trying to happen in those outfits. One guy has a mop of curly hair on his head with rolled up jeans and neon orange glasses. The other guy's got on a throwback-to-REM hat (see photo below), and the girl...oh the girl. Poor, poor girl. I just want to help her. She's got some tangled rat's nest ponytail going on, and I think it's on purpse. She's wearing denim overall shorts, rolled up, over a paper-thin white cap-sleeve tee that looks like it could use a shot of stain stick. Underneath the shirt is a black bra, reminiscent of Madonna's cone bra look. And I can see the bra because her shirt is see-thru, of course. The best part is she went for the shit-kicker boot look to go with those overall shorts, but instead of black boots you find at the army surplus store or old skool Doc Martens, she's wearing some trail trecker hiking boots...that just don't quite make the cut. I'm thinking she got Madonna and Courtney Love confused at one point, I dunno. I try to withhold my disgustedly disappointed facial expression when I glance her way -- it's hard enough being a teen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shop with caution.

At my bus stop this afternoon, I notice a fresh sticker on the glass. When I get closer to examine, it appears to be a person in a red jumpsuit with a sack over his head carrying an REI bag in one hand and a Nordstrom bag in the other. My phone pic comes out blurry, unfortunately.

What's the message here? Maybe...

-Jumpsuits and burlap coming this fall to retailer near you.
-Limit spending with a sack over your head.
-Shop like a scary man and salespeople will leave you be.
-Shop with a bag over your head, and you may come out wearing a red jumpsuit.

I dunno. I'm hoping for a little more insight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Life with the Crazies on the Number 2.

Turns out, the 22 doesn't get all the crazies in town, and Katy has the story to prove it...


So earlier this week it was pouring outside and a bunch of people were huddled under the bus shelter trying to stay dry when a rather large black woman in a bright yellow shirt came strolling up. “HEY!” she shrieked to an unknowing skinny white guy watching for the bus, “Can I sit there or is this segregated seating?!?” She gestured threateningly with her umbrella at the 2-seater in the shelter. Without a word the dumbfounded man fled from the scene to get away from the loud lady making racist allegations.

She sat down. Her eyes fell upon me. “Oh, God” I thought.

“Hey! What bus are you waiting for?!?” She bellowed.

“Any bus going in that direction.” I replied and pointed.

“Well do you know when the next one comes?!?!” She inquired.

“Nope.” I replied.

Just then the number 2 drove up. I was saved! But no one else was.

“OH lucky me! That was good timing wasn’t it?!?! Even though I’m BLACK!” She spat at no one in particular.

The people around me were stifling their laughter in that ever-passive aggressive Pacific Northwest way. We formed a line (about 15 people wanted to get on the 2) but trifle things like manners and patience were not to be considered with this lady. She cut in front of everybody walked right up to the door saying “Excuse me, Pardon me.” And got on the bus. Nobody was ready to object to this blatant lack of bus etiquette because nobody was any taller than her shoulders.

Finally, all had boarded and we were on our way. The bus was full so I was standing in the aisle towards the front. I turned around to check where the crazy lady was. She was in a 2 seater facing front near the back door. Apparently the bus was too full for her. Because at the next stop when the driver let more people on she bellowed “DRIVER! There’s too many people on this bus! Stop letting them on! It’s too crowded.” He ignored her. Just then, apparently someone accidentally touched her when the bus started off again. “OW! Stop touching me! SHIT! You could at least say ‘Excuse me!’ God, you stupid BITCH!” She leaned over to the person next to her. “Do you know where I can get 3 candy bars for a dollar?” The poor lady next to her said, “Uh, I think there’s a Rite Aid at the next stop.”

So at the next stop the crazy lady stood up and said, “Excuse me, pardon me, I’m trying to get off!” Then she paused. “And I farted. That was my prerogative.” As soon as the doors closed, the entire bus erupted with laughter.

~ Katy

Thursday, August 21, 2008

At the bus stop. In the rain. In August.

Yesterday it poured. It rained so hard my cotton summer jacket was soaked through in two minutes! My evil co-workers in the building next door, Dee Dee and Donna, actually buzzed me at my desk about the time I leave just to say, "We're waiting to watch you leave." I responded, "Have you seen what it looks like outside??" "Uh huh--that's why we're waiting to watch you leave!" So I walk out and Donna is standing under the protection of their covered porch, armed with her camera to take video, and the rest can be viewed in the YouTube clip below. (The second half at the bus stop was something I recorded on my phone to text them back in their dry, cozy office.)

Wooooo!! I'm a YouTube star, finally! I'd like to thank the academy...and Dee Dee's son Ryan, who produced this clip and posted it for me. No autographs please.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The babies on the bus go Wah, wah, wah....

My good friend Emily, also a regular bus commuter tho not on the 22, ended up riding the 22 last Friday to come meet me after work. When she called to tell me she had arrived unharmed, my first question was, "How did it smell?" "Not too bad," she answered. Lucky! But she still came away with some good observations from her downtown ride, which she shares below...


What are your children doing while they’re at daycare?

Apparently cruising around downtown Seattle on the metro bus.

This past Friday I made a trip to West Seattle and being a bit of a sheltered eastside bus rider I was really looking forward to a ride on the infamous 22.

I used the metro online trip planner, found that Bus 15 turns into 22 and the trip from lower Queen Anne takes 40 minutes. Easy.

I get on the 15, and not wanting to be too cocky quickly confirm with the driver that this bus will indeed become the 22. As she starts pulling away from the curb, tells me NO (idiot!) but I can get off later and will be able to catch the 22. I take a deep breath, think to myself that’s doable and make my way down the aisle.

The bus is hot, loud and full of kids. Lots and lots of kids… in fact the ratio of kids to adults was a little concerning. Once we get into the ride free zone, “savory” riders begin to crowd on the bus. The children are piled three to a seat, the aisles are full and wack jobs are making conversation with the 3 year olds. The adults are hollering at the kids to keep their bottoms on the seats. From my expert eavesdropping, I gather this group of kids (one all the way from Bainbridge Island) are on their way back to daycare to take a nap after their big outing.

That got the wheels turning. If and when I pay the big bucks to put my kids in daycare… do I really want them riding around on the city bus? No seatbelts, a low ratio of adults, and lots of chaos. The same bus that we adults can barely handle?

I got off, waited for the 22 and close to two hours later made it safe and sound.

I’m going to revert back to living vicariously through future 22 blog posts. And on the bright side, I’m sure these children have built a lot of character—at the tender age of 3.

~ Emily

Thursday, August 14, 2008

All I want for Christmas is an oxygen mask.

Two teenagers board the bus and sit in the two-seater bench next to me. Like a gnarly twitch, the kid nearest me slaps his hand to the side of one nose nostril and begins rubbing it frantically. He is literally snorting and rubbing so hard, it looks painful! I don't have allergies, so I can't relate to the problem it might be for him, but I am pretty grossed out at this point. He continues to rub hard for a few minutes, just long enough for me to wonder if his problem is something other than an unfortunate circumstance of nature. As I begin to slow my breathing, like I normally do during stinky or germy rides, I think back to another time an oxygen mask may have come in handy. Some months ago, in the dead of winter when the weather is far too nippy to open a window (ugh) and the heat is going full blast and the smell of foul is raging, a sweet little, old lady nearly caused me to suffocate. She sat directly behind me--and started coughing. But not just any cough. A persistent cough, a chesty cough that sounded a gurgle of phlegm with every hack. Her hacks went uncovered for about 10 minutes and they were so powerful, my hair actually moved with the air she expelled from her body! What should I do? Move? And make it obvious this sickly, old lady is the reason I flee? YES! I choose LIFE! I'm turning blue from asphyxiation at this point--and I'm irritated she doesn't cover her mouth. I've got about five minutes left on the bus and I'm starting to gag a little bit. I hit the empty seat two benches behind her. I nuzzle my nose into my high-collared down coat and resume a slow draw of air into my lungs as I dream about bathing in a tub of Purell.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Standoff: Bus v. Man

Oh dear. A patron of the 22 bus found himself lost on the main road today--and he was pissed! I was NOT on the bus, but rather walking to lunch with two co-workers when we saw a man walking down the middle of a busy street, toward an intersection. (We chose the safer route and stayed on the sidewalk.) He was in a huff walking toward one of the express busses, not the 22. Maybe he was kicked off the 22, hence the reason for his aggression--who knows. We couldn't help but slow down and watch this man as he walked toward the bus with angry fingers pointing at the driver. He actually forced the bus to come to a stop but the driver was not about to open his doors for this guy. Crazy man was yelling and pointing and then he started making fists and air-punching the front window. At this point we can see the driver, unaffected, pull out a phone and make the phone call. I swear I could see the driver rolling his eyes, even from a distance: Another day, another dope head. Silly crazy man then walks to the side of the bus to apparently try to punch the door open, but the much wiser bus driver simply pulled away and left him behind. And we quickly went on our way while Jenna scolded me for not snapping a phone pic to post here. Shoot!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Litter and Laughter

I think someone dumped their cat's litter box inside my bus stop waiting area. Litter granules are strewn about and pieces of dried up poop are mixed in. I've seen the bus stop littered with cigarettes, loogie stains, McDonald's wrappers, 40 ounce beer cans, mystery styrofoam take-out boxes, and disgusting liquid substances I try not to wonder about--today, cat litter makes a showing. On the bus, I sit near a young man who appears tired and I think nothing of it. I notice he's dosing in and out of sleep for a few minutes. Then he suddenly snaps to attention and starts laughing hysterically! At what, I don't know (surprise, surprise). A minute later, he stands up like he's going to exit the bus, be he doesn't. He stands for several stops staring straight ahead, gripping the horizontal bar in front of him, periodically laughing in a milder fashion than before. I give him the benefit of the doubt: Maybe he's an intense sleep walker dreaming he's on an amusement park ride. Lucky guy. All I got was a ticket to this zoo.