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Category Page: metro
Note that on the category pages, the posts are in chronological order, unlike the rest of the weblog.
Thursday, April 11, 2002
back to the metro bus I
It was a dark, exhausted, confused and hazy Sunday night. I had driven everyone home and was on my way to work at 10:45pm. I was getting ready to get off Interstate 5 at 520 and go across the mile-long floating bridge across Lake Washington and on to work, so I was hugging the right edge of the far right lane.
I was fully in a dreamlike rumination mind state, turning things over and over that didn't make any sense, letting images and words mesh and fall apart, knowing that I could rest a bit when I got to work and let the quiet of the graveyard shift of a 24-hour call center bore me to calm.
I looked up for one last moment of dreamlike mind, noticed that my wheels were a full 2 feet off the roadway onto the shoulder, and that there was a white car there on the shoulder partially in my path. "Wow, how unexpected!" dreamlike mind thought, and then dreamlike mind was gone.
In it's place was the abrupt safety of physics mind. "What do you think, professor?"
"Well," said physics mind, "By my calculations you are not going to be able to avoid this vehicle. Current velocity: 68mph (109kph). Danger level: high. Prepare for initial impact."
Physics mind turned the wheel and held it firmly for the intial blow. Wham. The back left panel was torn off the white car, and the plastic of my wheel well was forced up inside the wheel well. Physics mind registered limited mobility in the front wheels, as well as a speed still over 60mph.
Dreamlike mind began to experience the terror of the situation of not being 100% sure if this was going to result in fatality or not, but physics mind remained firmly in control: reassessing.
The important thing was to get the keep the vehicle from fishtailing out and entering another lane or flipping, next most important was to get in or near the shoulder and stop as soon as possible. Physics mind straightened the wheel, began to brake, straightened, and then turned the wheel gently towards the guardrail.
Impact number two was not sufficient to bring the car to a complete halt, but it was enough to break the axle of the front right tire and slow it down a great deal. The biggest part of the danger was gone, again physics mind steered the car into the guardrail and this time there was a cement curb to really land against. The car had stopped. I noticed, strangely enough, my right door speaker flying out of the door at this final impact and remembered that this kind of force would probably do some damage to my physical structure. Physics mind recorded damage to the medial left patella, 6th rib and sternum.
Physics mind, having done it's primary job, began to make it's final calculations before leaving me alone there with my destroyed car poking ass-out into the far-right lane late on a Sunday night. Physics mind determined that my vehicle, no longer covered by collision, was beyond resonable repair. It noted 5 accidents in the last 18 months and did some quick cost/risk analysis. It determined at that time that driving was no longer an acceptable risk.
It felt my body and assessed the damage. Determined that I was able to stand up and get the hell out of that car to walk over to see if anyone was in the white car and if they were okay. Then it left me sitting in a mangled piece of metal in the cold dark night, wondering where to start.
I stood, got out of the car, walked carefully to the shoulder, and began limping towards the white car.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 02:38 AM
Sunday, April 14, 2002
back to the metro bus II
Okay, I'll admit it...I went and looked at my car first. My front wheel was at an angle that suggested that rotation was not it it's near future. That was enough information to me. I said a couple of mantras and then the speeding by of vehicles barely missing the end of my car that was sticking partially out into the lane freaked me out so much I remembered to walk over to the other car and pray that no one was in it.
I dialed 911 as I walked, and was reporting the crash as I walked up to the white car. I could see even from a ways off that there were two people. I got about fifteen feet away and I saw a man sitting in the driver's seat and an asian woman in the passenger's seat talking on her cel phone. They were both apparently conscious and aware and...staring coldly and expressionlessly at me.
I tried to look at them with all of the compassion I had for them, but they clearly didn't need any help from me and didn't seem to want to chat with the person who had just ruined their night or worse, and so I turned around and limped back towards my own wreck.
I've been in other car accidents before...seven total, and it never took the cops that long to come when they were called, much less on the Interstate with a potentially dangerous situation. I was trying to stay calm, but people kept nearly getting into accidents by avoiding my car that was halfway into the outside lane. I had my hazard lights on, but it was still dark, and the hazard lights of a Honda Civic don't exactly scream out for attention from 300 feet away.
I swear to god I saw about a dozen severe accidents almost happen...tires squealing, horns honking, people slamming on their brakes, no one slowing down, just racing by at full speed and only partially steering out of the lane. I kept expecting someone to smash into the back of my car, when an SUV suddenly swerved around my car and parked his car in front of me on the shoulder.
It was some confident guy in scrubs...probably an off-duty EMT.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm uhhh, my knee and my chest are uhhh, I'm uhhh...yes...I'm okay."
"Are the people in the other car okay?"
"I uhhh, they seemed okay I uhhh...I didn't talk to them."
"Well, I'm required by law to see if they're okay," and off he trotted heroically.
Emergency vehicles began to show up while he was over there, and I watched numbly, unable to keep from chiding myself bitterly for ruining my life, as flares were lit, and the lane was blocked off. Once there was some official presence and people stopped driving like assholes I felt a great deal of relief.
Eventually, one of the police officers broke off from the congregation over at the white car and began to make his way towards me.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 04:29 AM
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
back to the metro bus III
The officer made it to me and looked me up and down squarely. He asked me if I was hurt and I think he asked me what happened and for all of my license and registration info. I felt much more composed by the time he got there and I explained as calmly as I could how it all went down. I didn't try and shift any blame, just told him I had had my wheels on the shoulder and that I didn't see the car until the last minute.
"Okay," he said, "for your own safety now I need to you to get back in your car."
I looked back at my wreck of a car and thought for a moment about being in it again and smelling the smell of burning rubber and all the force that had just happened all so vivid to me in the form of bent doors, smashed glass, and all of my shit on the floor.
"Please don't make me. I won't get in it again."
"Well," he tried again, "you can't sit here out in the roadway...there's all of these drivers coming home from the Mariners game and it's dangerous. You have to fill out this paperwork."
"I won't do it," I said, and then, remembering that I was talking to a cop who was likely to write me a citation, softened my stance just a bit, "Respectfully, officer, please...I...I'm not going to get back in that car."
He thought for a moment and then sighed, "Okay, you can sit in the back of my car."
I was grateful, but knew I was going to have to walk by the white car. Oh well, it was better than sitting in my own car. They never even noticed me, but as I walked by I saw them messing with the passenger side door, and I saw the driver in a neck brace. Paramedics were preparing a stretcher.
I cringed a little bit, but I do know that if in such a car accident someone even mentions their neck is a little stiff, they slap a neckbrace on you and put you on a backboard. They do not fuck around. It was a little comfort, but not much. I pretty well felt horrible.
Luckily I had a nice dry form to focus on, and some worries went out the window as I began the process of doing the work to document and take care of the mess I had just created. I don't know what the fuck message the universe is trying to send me with all of this physical trauma, but I do certainly know my name and address and my birthdate. 05/09/75 I wrote in careful letters.
Then I had to write my description of the event. I wish I had a copy of what I wrote, but I don't. I just know that my last two sentences were something to the effect of, "Then I miraculously steered into the guardrail and avoided killing myself. I do not intend to drive a motor vehicle anymore."
While I was doing this, the tow-trucks arrived. The people in the white car had called AAA. They had been on the shoulder of the road because they had run out of gas, and now here was the AAA Tow Truck with a gas can for them. When he saw what had happened he clearly wanted no part of it. He came to the window and talked to the police officer while I sat in the back of the car.
"Hey, they called me to put some gas in their vehicle, but now I don't have a lot to tow them to. Can I go and have them call another tow truck?"
The cop thought that was kinda lame, but just rolled his eyes and said, "Hey, I don't really have anything to do with it. Do whatever you want."
The tow truck that the cops had called for my car showed up, and I asked the officer if I would be able to get a few important things out of my car. "Sure," he said, "are you done with that form?" I nodded and he let me out of the car. We stood there as he scanned my description with his finger sliding across each line.
When he had read it he just looked at me for a long time. "I think you're going to have to end up paying for this one buddy."
I nodded. I knew it was my fault.
"I'm not going to give you a ticket for 'negligent driving' which is a $500 ticket. How about just 'wheels off the roadway' which is just a $140 ticket?"
I sighed with relief...I knew that technically I could get nailed for something bad, especially if one of those people had been badly hurt. Some hundred dollar ticket didn't seem like too bad a deal for all the carnage and sirens that surrounded me.
"I'm happy with that, " I said, "Well, not...happy, but..."
"Go get your things. That guy over there is your tow truck driver. You're riding with him. Here's your citation number."
I limped over to my car and had a moment to assess what I absolutely needed in the next 48 hours or so, or just couldn't live without, and stuffed it all into a canvas bag that had been in my back seat.
As my car got cinched up, my cel phone rang. I looked at the time...it was 11:05pm and my shift at work had started five minutes ago. I had meant to call Corey, who I was supposed to be relieving, but it just never happened. I had given some thought to bussing to work or taking a cab, but as soon as I answered the phone I knew there was no way.
"Hi Corey. Ummm, yeah, I am on the freeway but not...not in my car. I'm not coming in. I just totalled my car on I-5 and I'm not going to drive anymore. Just page Stacy and tell her I won't be in today and I won't be in tomorrow. I'm sorry, thanks for covering, man."
The tow truck driver was nice, and I tried to make some attempt at bantering with him so I didn't make him feel uncomfortable with my misery, but I don't think I did such a good job. He got my car all loaded on his flatbed and I jumped in the cab.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 04:33 AM
Wednesday, April 17, 2002
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...)
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 01:50 AM
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
back to the metro bus V
My mom finally called me this morning, "I worry about you when you don't post for a few days! Plus, I want to hear the end of the story."
Well mom, the truth of it is that part of the story is pretty much wrapped up. The bus came and took me to my destination. I didn't go home. I went to a friend's house and let myself in. When she saw me standing above her bed when she knew damn well I was working at that time she knew something hadn't gone as planned.
"Can I just lay down with you for awhile before I tell you what happened?" I asked, pathetically.
"Of course," she said, and made excellent bed company of herself, by rubbing arnica ointment on my knee and chest when the whole tale finally came out in gulps.
The bus got me to her house, just as many busses have got me to where I needed to go in the past couple of weeks. It turns out that the bus is not always convenient...on Sundays it really sucks rocks and I have to practically ride it all damn day, but it does work, and I have been getting a lot of reading done.
I really started this new "metro" category because I knew that once I started riding the bus again, I was going to have some new fascinating stories to tell about the craziness that is the King County Metro Bus System.
So far, nothing really to speak of. Just uncomfortable benches and a lot of waiting...but allow me to relate another story of past bus excitement:
Years ago, back before I ever had a car, I was riding the bus downtown during the daytime, really the most interesting time to ride the bus. I was sitting near the back, in the first set of front-facing seats after the wide open area in the back of the bus. The bus stopped at 3rd and James and this wild eyed black lady got on the bus, clearly high on crack or glue or something really drastic...talking to herself and getting all excited about something that no one else could see, as well as barking at other passengers.
The reason I say that she was black is because this story is a little bit about race. It was so amazing the difference between how the white people on the bus and the black people on the bus related to her. The white people on the bus all stared stiffly ahead, sneaking glances at the crazy woman, but doing nothing that might attract attention.
The black people on the bus all immediately and directly related to both her, and each other. There were three young black boys of about eight sitting all the way in the back of the bus and they were guffawing loudly, pointing and making fun of her. "AHHHHHH-ha-ha, she crazy!"
A lady in the forward facing seat across from me was sitting with her toddler in her arms and her husband next to her. She turned around and yelled at the young boys, "You best shut up! If she starts swinging and hits this child...WHOOO! You better just watch out!"
Then, suddenly, the lady decided that this was a good time to change shirts, and she whipped off her sweatshirt and bared her drug ravaged chest at the back of the bus while she readied her new sweatshirt. The boys howled. The whole back of the bus was in an uproar. Even the white people openly gawked.
"OH no," the lady with the toddler yelled, as she held her hand over her toddler's eyes, who clearly sensed that something extremely unusual was going on and was doing his best to gawk as well.
Finally the commotion died down, and the lady, who was sitting closer to me than any other passenger, and perhaps had seen my looking, accused me of racism. I can't remember exactly what she said, or what I said, but I remember it being something kind of stiff and white to be honest. Maybe I should have just said, "Shut up, you crazy-ass bitch!" and then she wouldn't have thought I was racist anymore. She might have started swinging though. I was protecting the toddler. Hehehehe.
Okay, so that's the end of the story about the night of the accident itself, but tomorrow I'll tell the tale of my car, and the aftermath of the accident, which is a story in itself.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 01:54 AM
Friday, April 26, 2002
then i got this email:
A kind lady I met via the tinyblog wrote me yesterday to tell me about our little karmic connection:
Thanks for your email...but i was a bit busy yesterday. Here's a funny thing!
I nearly menationed in my last email to you that i have a honda civic, because I'd read your story about crashing yours...but I decided it really wasn't worth mentioning.
Then I was on my way home from teaching a meditation class, and then I had car crash too. My car is a complete wreck, another car crashed into the side and completely obliterated my door and most of the engine. There was a shower of glass in my hair and in the skin of my arms and hands and face....
It was quite dramatic really, I had an ambulance and several police cars, blue lights flashing everywhere and a symphony of sirens. The other guy however, hit a lamppost after me and then leapt out of his car and scampered........
I'm guessing he doesn't have insurance so I'm back on foot for the foreseeable future!
Best Wishes, Chojung...I know how you feel honey!
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 12:28 PM
Sunday, April 28, 2002
fast furney's auto repair I
Okay, so we can consider this a prequel to the Back to the Metro Bus series. Before I totalled my car, I had already been in a few accidents, and my car wasn't exactly street legal.
The front headlight and turn signal were destroyed in this debacle, and I was likely to be stopped for this at any moment.
Plus, my tabs had been expired for over a month, and in Washington State, you have to be able to pass an emissions test on your vehicle every two years to be able to keep your license plate current. I couldn't go take the emissions test because my tailpipe was corroded off.
This could have amounted to a couple of hundred dollars worth of tickets if a cop had decided to give me a hard time about it, and I knew I needed to fix it, but it was just so much money, and it was too easy to just ignore it and keep driving.
Luckily I knew Terri, my neighbor, and her boyfriend, Fast Furney.
I had known Terri for awhile, and I remembered when she told me she was hooking up with an ex of hers, and that she had a good feeling about it. It wasn't long before I started seeing him come around. I was introduced, and he seemed nice enough. Whenever I would see him he'd always grin and say to me, "How ya doing? Are you behaving?"
Why on earth he asked me that I still do not know to this day, but he said it every time. He's pretty shy and has a wicked stutter.
I was pretty curious what kind of person could be a boyfriend to Terri. She's a pretty intense lady. I heard a lot of stories from my next door neighbor who had lived there for a while, sometimes I would hear her yelling at people on the phone upstairs from me, and she likes to drink a fair amount.
She seemed to take a liking to me though, and would come down and ask me to teach her about buddhism, and bake me brownies, and fold my laundry sometimes. It's true, she is pretty intense, but I guess I'm a little intense myself, so we got along well.
When she came home the day I had really smashed my front end, she came over to my house, said, "Daniel, oh my god, what happened to your car?" and invited me up for a beer.
I told her I had been in an accident and said, "My boyfriend fixes cars...he'll help you." she volunteered without consulting Fast Furney. She looked at him sharply and then suddenly he got the picture.
"Uh-uh-uh yes. We can probably got a new hood for $100 and uh-uh I know a cheap place to get a headlight assembly for a Honda Civic. Uh it's no problem...I'll just charge you cost for parts, that's all, I won't even charge you for labor. Hu-hey, let's go look at that car." And he began to drag himself up off the couch.
I saw he was making promises under duress, but he also seemes like a genuinely nice guy and I could hardly turn down the inexpensive help. We went out and looked my car up and down. A new hood, a new bumper, a new headlight and turn signal assembly and it would be street legal and even look pretty good again. It's gaping headlight-hole and bent hood truly looked pretty grotesque.
Then I told him about getting tabs and passing emissions and he said, "Well, we'll take care of that first...I just happen to have an extra tail pipe sitting around and I'll just weld it on for you so you can pass emissions."
I told him he had to charge me something for his work, so he said, "How about 25 bucks?" Now if you've ever owned a car you know damn well that mechanics don't even peer under the hood of a motor vehicle for less than $200, much less weld something, so this was an amazing favor.
Sure enough, he took my car one morning, came back with a tailpipe, and I promptly passed emissions and got my proper tabs. I was on my way to being street legal. We were just talking about how much the headlights were going to cost when tragedy struck...
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 06:41 AM
Monday, April 29, 2002
fast furney's auto repair II
A friend came over to my house to help me do an errand and he took a look at my newly smashed hood. He walked over to it and said, "Hey, why don't you just bend this down a little? It would look better." He proceeded to do just that, leaning down on the hood and bending it a bit so it was flatter.
I regarded him from several feet away, "Well, it used to open and close."
"Oops, sorry," he said, and then we both forgot about it.
...until I asked a friend what she wanted for her birthday that is. "I only want one thing...I just want to go hiking. Will you take me hiking?"
"Sure!" I said, and we planned a trip to a nearby wilderness spot. That morning I opened my hood for the first time in awhile to change the oil, since I was about to go on a little road trip. When I was done I slammed the hood, and I guess in the back of my mind I did notice that it didn't seem to close quite right.
I picked up my friend, we ran some errands and put everything in the car. Snacks: check. Good shoes: check. Water: check. Plenty of gas: check. We happily put a badass mix tape in the tape deck and headed onto the interstate for some hiking fun.
I had been on the interstate for about 5 minutes, finally getting up to cruising speed in the fast lane when the wind finally caught the hood right, whipped it up past its restraints, and slammed it into my windshield with great force. It was like a little explosion happening right in our face. Suddenly we were going 65 miles per hour with zero visibility.
I looked underneath the little opening below the hood and pulled myself off the road.
I looked over at my poor friend and she looked a little shell shocked. I didn't blame her. I felt a little shell shocked myself as I climbed out of the auto with cars racing by at 80 miles an hour and tried to find some way to secure my hood well enough to get off the road. I did my best to tie it with a strap, but there was really nothing on the hood you could tie something to. It freaked us out by flipping up one more time before we got off the Interstate, but I manages to look below it and get onto city streets.
I pulled it down one more time and limped back into the dock at granny speed. As soon as I got home my friend and I laid on the lawn and she cried in my arms at the shock of it all.
Upstairs I went to talk to Fast Furney. He was eating spaghetti, watching TV and drinking beer in his skivvies after work, but he still came to my rescue. He helped me punch holes in my hood with a screwdriver and wire it shut with a coathanger. We looked at my poor car and sighed. The right windshield wiper had been smashed, along with the windshield. When it was turned on it made a gentle thwack, thwack as the loose piece smacked against the glass.
It worked like a charm though, until he got the headlamps and took it into his shop once again. He fixed the clasp on my hood, he replaced my windshield wiper with one I had laying around, and then he hammered my frame into submission enough to get the headlamp assembly into the car. For this he charged me the cost of the headlight and again a ridiculously small amount for labor.
Now I had spent probably $300 on parts and tabs, and now except for the windshield, the car was the closest it had been to street legal in several months. It was such a relief!
Then, of course, only a few weeks later, I hit a car on the shoulder of the Interstate, smashed into a guardrail, and totalled my car (yes, the part with the brand new head lamps). I remember looking at my wreck of a car as cars speeded by, honking their horns and nearly hitting the back of my car. I sighed and thought of the hard work that Fast Furney had put in.
Well, it wouldn't be the last time Fast Furney would help me...
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 04:34 AM
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
fast furney's auto repair III
When I told Fast Furney, he said I could have my car towed to his Garage.
"When can we do it?" I asked. Every day you keep your car in that tow lot, they charge you another $30.
"How about tonight?"
I called A Rose Towing, and asked if we could get it towed that night. They said we could, but someone had to be there to receive it.
"Okay," said Fast Furney, and we got in his car and drove down to Burien. He gave up another night of watching TV in his underwear just for me.
When we got to the Garage I saw that it was indeed just that...a garage. It was in a sleepy little residential neighborhood in southwest Seattle which is not considered to be the "good side".
He had a handful of non-working vehicles in the driveway and garage, and it seemed to be quite a mellow little neighborhood. The next door neighbors had some fine looking chickens wandering around in the yard and at one point a young boy came tearing out of the house, followed by his brother wielding a water balloon.
As the young boy made it out into the street, his older brother hurled the water balloon and it splooshed across the yard, missing him by a mile. A voice called out from the top window, "Darnell! Darnell, get back in the house...leave your brother alone!"
It was a warm and inviting early spring evening, and I felt a wave of relief wash over me being in Fast Furney's mellow pad. I wasn't going to have to pay for another day in the tow yard...I had a place to put the remains of this hunk of metal that was still my legal responsibility and all would be well.
We walked inside the garage to wait for the tow truck, and Fast Furney put his only CD, Jimi Hendrix The Ultimate Experience, and he basically told me to relax.
The Hendrix, the chickens, the relief...it seemed like the perfect thing would be, "Man, I'll relax...you have a bowl to smoke?"
Fast Furney doesn't smoke pot...just drinks beer, but miraculously a friend of his had left a packed bowl in his tool drawer about a year ago. It was just a little peice of bamboo with a little weed in it. I took a couple of hits off it and enjoyed 'Spanish Castle Magic' while the tow truck driver found his way from Ballard to Burien.
He showed up and unleaded the car, and a couple of weeks later, Furney sold the car and a couple of parts and split the money with me. It almost paid the towing costs. So, once again Fast Furney came through for me. I went home, downloaded some mp3's, and burned him another Hendrix CD.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 06:53 AM
Wednesday, July 03, 2002
the beauty and stress of change
There I was, cursing everyone who writes a weblog I like for not updating more frequently when it occurs to me that I've only updated once in the past week or so.
I quit my job. I've never worked at one job for so long, and I'm about to leave all the boringness, bus rides to Redmond (far, far away from me, for those not in the area), and direct deposited paychecks behind.
Bless that bus driver last night. The bus I catch to work on the weekends is the last bus to where I work. If I miss it, it's an expensive cab ride that takes a half an hour even to get to me. I got to the Transit Center and saw my bus number. I hopped on.
I realized after about 15 minutes that what I was seeing out the window wasn't familiar.
Me: Did we pass NE 40th?
Ice filled my veins. Only about a dozen more of these lousy bus rides and I had to go screw one up...bad. We pulled into a transit center several miles away from where I was supposed to be and I started to get off the bus. The bus driver didn't open the door.
I looked at him.
Bus Driver: Are you getting out here?
He still didn't open the door.
Bus Driver: I'll...uh...I'll take you to Overlake on my way back home.
I bowed my head, a little ashamed that I cursed. I quietly slinked back to my seat and sat there until while he ran the rest of the route, and the last few people got off the bus one by one near the end of the line.
He took me near where my bus route would have gone, about 4 blocks away from my work...and as we neared the intersection it started to pour down rain.
Bus Driver: If I was a really nice guy I'd take a left here and take you to your front door.
He swung a left and drove me right to the entrance. I got to work on time, and was only medium instead of soaking wet. I was pretty touched.
lovingly or haphazardly posted at 05:46 AM
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
shoeshine shoes on the bus
I had been going around in sneaks so ratty that a damp sidewalk would get my socks wet. Finally I went out and bought some sturdy leather shoes, brown, with beige stiching, and real hard leather, not suede.
I scuffed em' up real quick, and it reminded me what it was like to have shoeshine shoes.
I got on the bus to go downtown and there was a guy with his shoeshine setup...a frame built from two-by-fours, basically a low seat with a platform for someone to raise one knee and set a shoe before him.
"You going to work or coming from work?" I asked him after awhile.
He was pretty reserved at first, "Goin' to." he said.
But pretty soon he started to get all animated about it, "I been doing this for fifteen years...you believe that?"
He looked down at my shoeshine shoes, "I could do your shoes...right now...wouldn't take me but a minute."
"I don't have even a buck in cash."
"I'm not talkin' about cash," he said, "it's the start of my night and I'm just ready to get to work!"
I looked at the time. "I get off by Westlake. Let me get you a couple of bucks at the ATM there, and you can shine my shoes at my bus stop, so I don't stress about missing the last bus."
He was really excited by the time we got off the bus, and I could tell he was really on his game that night. As we walked he was already working the people sitting in front of the Starbucks so he could come back to them later. I got out some cash and finally, with great relish, he slapped his 2x4 frame down on the brick surface of Westlake Center and I lifted up one shoeshine shoe and placed it on his little platform.
He took out an almost-empty can of brown polish and did a good, quick job, making little shoeshine kung-fu noises and trying to get pretty girls or people with shoeshine shoes to stop and be next.
I handed him the ten dollar bill (which I can only assume is still a pretty fair rate for a shoeshine, even these days) and caught my bus with shiny shoeshine shoes.