Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another One Rides the Bus

Previously, I mentioned that I broke my foot and as a result I couldn't drive. That meant cabs, buses, or the kindness of friends. While cabs and friends were great, there were times that I had to ride the bus. The public transportation here is actually pretty good. When you transfer the next bus is typically a few minutes away so the waits aren't long and they can take you all over Portland with relative ease. The one thing that gets me about the bus is the fare. It's $2.05. Someone, please tell me what's with the five cents? I'm not complaining. I just don't get it. 

Now, I've been on the bus in Portland before - usually around 5pm - when it's basically a lot of commuters. Sure, the bus could get crowded, but I took the bus in New York where the double buses often had people standing three deep in the aisle. So the crowd didn't really bother me.

That was before I took the bus in the middle of the day. It's a whole different ball game. The bus may not be crowded, but it sure is colorful. At first, it was harmful enough. A few people got on in front of the meth clinic and spent the ride exchanging tips on where they could use their food stamps to buy cigarettes. Then it escalated a bit. A man on the bus with very few teeth saw I had "Das Boot" on and decided he should tell me all about orthopedic footwear that he gets at Goodwill for my entire journey. Then there was the lady who talked to herself incessantly and loudly. I looked to see if she was wearing a headset of some kind, but to no avail. 

Perhaps the one that took the cake was the lady who while we stood at the bus stop kept swinging her open umbrella in my face (oh, and it wasn't even raining). Then we got on the bus and she started coughing. Not quiet demur coughs with her hand covering mouth. No. The sounds coming from her made me think she was giving birth to an alien. Finally, someone asked, "Are you alright?" She responded with a bit of saliva coming from her mouth that she was sick. At that moment, a shiver simultaneously came over the rest of the passengers. 

Yes, riding the bus is interesting. I did manage to pick up a clue. The most colorful people on the bus seem to belong to a club. I call it "The necklace club." This is because they all wear their bus passes around their neck on a chain that resembles the chains that attach a pen to a table at a bank. When I see them I know I'm in for an adventure.

I still take the bus. After all, you never know what's in store. And when it gets too interesting I start thinking about songs like Weird Al Yankovic's "Another One Rides the Bus." That seems to make the ride go faster.

No comments:

Post a Comment