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back to the metro bus IV

The tow truck driver got us going, and told me he could only really drive me to the tow lot, several miles out of my way. He offered to drop me off in a convenient bus location on the way.

Ahh yes, I thought. The King County Metro Bus System, my new primary form of transportation from now on...how well I remember it. I moved to Seattle in 1993 and rode the bus until 1999 when I finally bought my first car. I limped to my bus stop, and as I got there and checked the schedule (and saw that my bus didn't come for another 45 minutes) a wash of memories began to flood over me.

I was riding the #174 once, the bus southbound through the industrial district that leads to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (known to the locals as Sea-Tac). A man got on and sat in a seat near me and began speaking loudly, "I never hit her, you have no right to take away my job. You cannot prove anything. (a pause) Oh yes...you'd like me to believe that wouldn't you?"

I looked dubiously at this man, and at the other passengers that were pointedly looking in any other direction. He continued with his tirade until I leaned over and said calmly, "Excuse me. Who are you talking to?"

He held up some sort of access key card...probably from wherever he was amazingly managing to hold down a job, maybe nearby Boeing. "Them," he confided in me, indicating the card, "can't you hear them?"

I listened carefully. "No."

"That's because I have bionic ears."

"Hmn," I conceded, "that would explain it."

He nodded knowingly, but immediately pulled the cord and got off the bus at the next stop.

It reminded me that being a metro rider really takes you out of your own private bubble and thrusts you into the public. I've never really felt threatened, but some truly freaky shit has happened on metro buses, like the time a bus driver got shot while the bus was crossing the massive Aurora street bridge. The bus bounced off an oncoming van, swerved across 4 lanes of traffic at a 45 degree angle, smashed through a cement guardrail, and bounced off of an apartment building before smashing into the ground. Miraculously only one of the 33 passengers was killed.

I sat there, cold, and having to go into the alley to pee repeatedly, waiting for the bus. It somehow seemed important that I ride the bus home, instead of calling someone for a ride. Finally it came, and I boarded it and paid fare for the first time in over a year. I folded the slim paper transfer and put it in my pocket.

(yes, still continued...)


bionic ears!

Good lord, you manage to connect with the most interesting people.

Yeah, that was a terrifying accident for us metro riders. I remember it stayed in my head for a long time, that image of the bus flying through the air and all the people waiting to crash and die. ugh.

On the whole, I'm sure buses are a heck of a lot safer than cars, yo.

i loves an epic tale :)

Buses have no seat belts...frightening thought isn't it?