27 February 2006


Forgot to look today - had a long weekend and it was difficult to get organized this AM. Dave was talking about his police ride along on the Indian reservation and it distracted me from bus details. Oh well, can't be extra sharp all the time. A good number of riders today, but not many were regular. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I was the only female on the bus except for the driver. An all-male cast of characters - women are usually in the minority on the morning bus, but can't remember that I've ever been the only woman. Cause celebre? I think not.

Could have used a bus yesterday. Coming back from Sedona and a very bad accident on I-17 blocked the highway from New River for over 40 miles. Anne and I decided instead of sitting in the car for 3+ hours we would backtrack and go home via Prescott. It took us just over 4 hours to go back and then do the winding, switchbacks in the mountains through Prescott and down onto the valley. It was very scenic, although I would rather do it under more desirable circumstances. The accident involved a van, meant to carry 9 people that was carrying 13 and it blew a tire, flipped over and slid. The fatality was a 23-month-old who was not restrained, just sitting on his mother's lap. A miracle others weren't killed. A hard lesson, that one. No picture today.

23 February 2006


Another bland day on the bus - newspaper guy was back in place, bicycle guy and a couple of other semi regulars. There was a new man who got off at ASU - he was noticeable mostly because he wore all cream colored clothing - nicely dressed with a jacket and slacks and a shirt. He carried a small shopping bag - almost boutique-like. He walked ahead of me and lit a cigarette as soon as he got off the bus. Amazing how that smoke lingers in the air - yuch. He was neatly put together but had a very extreme pot belly - looked like a pregnant woman. I'm thinking he likes his alcohol - it really looked like the swollen belly of a drinker, especially since the rest of him was quite trim. The way he dove for that cigarette, too. There was a desparation quality and I know how smokers want their cigarettes, but he had it poised to light the minute he stepped off the bus. A little too frantic. Boy, where do I get off making all these assumptions? Just being observant and applying my knowledge and some deductive reasoning.

Dave used the term "bigwig" today - he uses it often, actually. There's a note of derision when he says it so I must assume he has authority issues. I wondered about the origins of "bigwig", figuring it had to come from England and the wigs. Googled it and found a site called "The Phrase Finder" - sure enough, "bigwig" is a slang word for important person and originates from the English courts where wigs are worn. All my reading pays off again.

22 February 2006


Kudos to me - I remembered to look for the bus number and then for added insurance, I noted it in my new little Moleskine cahier notebook - bound and determined to sketch and log ideas. After all, it is what creative people do and I am a creative person. Picture of a cahier included for the curious.

Today's ride was typical for this semester with the exception of newspaper guy. I got on the bus and there was a man sitting in the very back seat reading a paper, but it wasn't our regular newspaper guy. Did he send a replacement? Was this reader a substitute for regular newspaper guy? Is it possible to serve as a second for another when riding the bus? These are meaty questions to be pondered and, possibly, discussed. There wasn't much else of interest today - the woman who asked me for a tissue yesterday was back on the bus today and armed with a pocketful of her own tissues. I had extras, just in case, but she was well equipped.

Pretty boring, but c'est la vie.

21 February 2006


Got the number today, but I was inspired by the activity on the bus. No one yesterday, eh? Today we had people and oddness - gloriosky, Bert, do the happy dance! To begin, it was our new regular driver, but he'd buzzed his hair - wonder what's in the air since Dave just shaved his beard? I'm not shaving anything.

The newspaper guy was on the bus but not in his usual spot. As I walked to my usual seat I saw what had displaced him. A young woman was curled up on the back seat, covered by a blanket, appearing to be sound asleep. She was right smack in the place where newspaper guy usually sits, so what was he to do? Bicycle guy got on a bit later and everyone was exchanging glances, curious about the sleeper. Eventually she got up and got off at Southern. She pulled a hood over her head and her "blanket" looked like a sleeping bag without an outer cover. She certainly had all the makings of a good "street people" story - added a new dimension to good old route 66. My picture today is for our sleeper.

At Rural and Guadalupe, a woman bounded on the bus, sat catty-cornered across from me and immediately asked me if I had any extra tissues - fortunately I had a couple of spare in my jacket pocket; I certainly don't mind sharing my Kleenex, it just felt odd as she very specifically asked me for tissue when there was another woman sitting directly across from her. Wonder why she zoned in on me? Does white hair mean I have supplies? I always assume it's the hair, but that's what makes me different from everyone else on the bus. At least I think that's the obvious difference. Anyway, it was a bus oddity.

We had lots of riders today and it just felt better. A bus should have riders - as my favorite quote goes, "It's good to have an end to journey toward, but it's the journey that matters in the end." A bus journey needs riders.

20 February 2006

#I have no idea ...

Blew it again, forgot to look at the number. Today was the all time low in ridership. Dave and I got on at our stop and absolutely no one else got on the bus before we got off at ASU. Six months I've been riding the #66 route faithfully at 6am almost every day and never has it happened that no one boarded the bus while I was on it. Of course, it's the federal President's Day holiday and everything, except ASU, is closed, so that accounts for some of the lack of ridership. However, ASU is in, classes are going on and not every business is closed. I can't believe everyone who usually rides the bus has a holiday - but, who knows? Apparently a lot of people are off today. The image today represents the void on route 66. The only story of note is that Dave shaved off his beard. Looks better.

17 February 2006

#41whatever ... again

It's not like it was a fascinating day on the bus - guess I've lost my edge, but I just keep forgetting to look at the number. I really think it was 4123 - I remember thinking the 23 was a reverse of 32 and 4132 is one of my first numbers. Sheesh! Skeleton crew riding today - newspaper guy, lady with the big coffee cup, bicycle guy, regular guy, regular lady. I think two non-regulars got on at Broadway and that was that. Never thought the numbers would drop like they have.

To fill the void when this bus blog gets boring, I must use personal stories heard on the bus. Dave told me about a conversation his son Lyn had with Dave's father, Bob. I guess Bob is snug with his words but, when he does speak, it can be hilarious. Lyn asked his grandfather if he had any health problems that Lyn should be concerned about inheriting. Bob said, "I drip." When Lyn asked him what he meant, he said his nose and eyes leaked, he drooled, etc., etc., etc. It's hilarious, but true. The older we get, the more liquids find their way outside our bodies - don't even want to discuss all the possibilities. Suffice to say, we laughed about it all the way onto campus. In honor of the discussion, I found an appropriate picture on the web. Wish I had a word blog - do you know how many ways the word "drip" can be used? Give it a Google Images search and see.

16 February 2006


Not sure and don't feel like checking the archives, but I believe #4132 is the first bus ride posted on this blog. If not #1, it was in the first couple of posts. Should review and see how active that ride was since today was as quiet as it gets. Dave wasn't there and the driver asked again about my "sidekick"'s whereabouts. How quickly we create associations. The newspaper guy was on the bus and then, oddly, everyone else who got on was also regular or semi-regular. There were only six total by the time I got off, but everyone was a rider with a noticeable amount of repeat riding. Nice to see the stability, but wonder why the numbers are down? Back to wondering.

Last night's ride home was almost violent - physically violent, that is. The driver used his horn numerous times and behaved with a great deal of road rage-like activity. I don't know if there was a problem with the brakes, but he kept hitting them - hard. Lateral whiplash for those of us riding in the side-facing seats. There was a ton of traffic - unusually heavy for 6-6:30pm and that made the ride crawl. The weird thing was how bumpy the ride was for a pace that hardly ever got over 20mph. The driver did all he could to slam us around considering we never got anywhere near 45mph. Since it was taking so long, I decided to doodle and it was hilarious with all the bumps, hits and grinds trying to keep the pen on the paper. The picture attached to this post is a scan of my bus doodles. It's my attempt at visual thinking ala Communication Nation.

15 February 2006


Geez, am I getting too lazy to look at the bus number? I think I looked but it just didn't register. I know it was a 4100 - they are unmistakable. Well, the excitement of yesterday was tempered today with a return to a less than full complement of regulars. Newspaper guy was there, but no bicycyle guy or semi regular guy. We did have the return of one woman who has been missing for awhile. She is Hispanic and she and another Hispanic woman always get on at the same place. I ended up between them and it was interesting as they talked freely across me in fast and furious Spanish. I sure wish I knew some of the language so I could get the flavor of their conversation. I always said I would take Spanish after I graduated -appears the time has come. I'd rather take art classes, but Spanish seems like a good idea, especially living in Arizona. Boring ride, eh?

14 February 2006


Well, be careful what you wish for ... yesterday I longed for the regulars and today - voila! Even the engineering guy was there - he actually was on the bus before I got on - that was a new procedure. He was already bending newspaper guy's ear about something non-engineering - sounded like he was defending gays, lesbians, etc., via email at the community college, but since I only heard the middle of the conversation, I hate to speculate. Later, after bicycle guy got on, engineering guy discussed his classes this semester - flow mechanics, data analysis - and it was music to my ears. Sounded just like old times. In honor of engineering guy's return, I created and included a little image. It's physics, but gets the job done. The man I said was a semi regular was back - he doesn't do anything that gives him an obvious identifier. He's just a man - I guess I'll refer to him as semi regular guy until something else clicks. There was even a young man back riding who gets off at ASU - he used to wear a uniform - similar to what the Fine Host servers wear - he didn't have that on today, so wonder if he changed jobs. Be curious if he returns. One of the regular women was back, too. Gloriosky it was a regular kind of day.

Dave said he left his folder on the bus yesterday afternoon. By the time he realized it was gone, the bus company's lost and found was closed. Wonder if he'll get it back? Probably nothing that someone wants to keep, but you never know. I bet their lost and found is quite interesting. The other day, a silver thing came sliding down the aisle as the driver gave my bus an extra quick stop. I got a foot on it, picked it up and it was a lip balm from Victoria's Secret. There had been quite a few high school girls on the bus earlier, so probably belonged to one of them. Bet she reached into her bag for it later and was disgruntled to find it missing. It was one of those small things that you just never know where you left it. Interesting how we collect things and carry our stash with us and then arbitrarily leave them around like a trail of bread crumbs. I went through a spell of leaving my purse behind - not cool. I seem to have broken that bad habit, but who knows when it might surface again. Good luck with the folder, Dave.

13 February 2006

A post from last Thursday evening ...

Don't usually go back for stories, but last Thursday's ride home had some facets that must be documented. It was the 4 PM bus and at the stop in front of Fry's, at Southern, an extremely large woman got on the bus. She easily topped 300 lbs - she was big. She had a walker, and I wondered if her weight made her need the walker or if a condition requiring the walker had helped push up her weight ... a chicken/egg first situation. The driver made two boys get up so the woman could sit down - she filled the front seat.

As we drove along, another woman across the aisle called over to the heavy woman and asked if she was going to work. The heavy lady said no, she was going home, but she was taking the southbound bus and going to ride around the loop because she couldn't get across Southern without being hit by a car. Have I described this clearly? This woman really needed a northbound bus, but got on the southbound and was going to ride for an hour to get back to where she would have picked up the northbound bus - who knows how far north she needed to go? She was basically using an entire bus route to cross a street! I know the intersections here are huge and drivers are impatient and unfriendly, but I can't imagine she couldn't walk across the street. She made it across Fry's parking lot and into the store - that's twice the distance across the intersection ... of course, the more she doesn't do, the more she doesn't want to do and the harder it gets, etc. It was like taking I-10 from Phoenix to Los Angeles by way of Houston. Maybe she didn't have anything better to do timewise, but her health will never improve as long as she'd rather sit for an hour than walk for 5-10 minutes. I'm sure the walk isn't easy for her, but oh my goodness.

Later in the same ride, we stopped at Guadalupe and Rural. A lady in a wheelchair wanted to know if the bus went to McClintock and Baseline before she got loaded on the bus. The driver said yes and they began the loading procedure. I was pretty sure the bus didn't go there, but since I haven't ridden the route to its farthest reaches, I hesitated to jump in the conversation. The driver got her all strapped in and then said, "Wait a minute, McClintock and Baseline? No, I don't go there." (Duh????) He said he could take her to McClintock and she could transfer to the 81 and get to Baseline. She was affable and said that would work and the driver went up to let the other people who were waiting get on the bus.

There were three of them, a man in his 40s, a woman in her 40s and a young boy. They had waited the whole time while the driver was getting the wheelchair lady into the bus and strapped and no sooner were they on and the bus moving when the man pulled the cord. He and the woman got off at the next stop! They went separate directions, so weren't together and I'm pretty sure they weren't getting off because they'd made a mistake. In the time they'd waited for the bus to go, they could have walked to where they got off - neither appeared physically disabled - what part of this am I not getting? Those stops aren't even a quarter of a mile apart and it's not August! I know the man used a transfer slip when he got on which meant he'd been dropped off by another bus (probably one on Rural) and then waited, gawdknowshowlong, for the 66 to come and take him less than a quarter of a mile. Where's the logic? I just don't get it. Had to write about these things - simply amazing.


I'm really not checking repeater buses any more, so why am I still naming posts after the bus of the day? I'll have to think about this and respond to myself later. Today's ride was boring, but a bit of the charm from last semester surfaced for a moment. The newspaper guy was on and the bicycle guy got on at his usual stop. A little later, a semi regular fellow - can't think of an identifier for him yet - got on and the three of them were talking about the Olympics. It was nice to hear the sports talk in the background - took me back to early football season. The only character missing is the engineering student who could completely alter the tenor of the conversation with his overzealous use of inappropriate engineering terms. He was an annoyance and yet very entertaining. Most of all, he was regular - gosh how I miss the regulars.

Dave took the 66 from Scottsdale some time over the weekend and was telling of the driver who talked the whole way from 68th & Thomas to the stop at Juniper and Guadalupe. Dave said the driver announced every single stop and gave background and historical information on various buildings on the route. Said he wore gloves and used hand gestures to welcome people onto the bus and point out places and things. Dave said it would make a great blog story, so I might spend a Saturday riding the 66 and hope I get this driver.

09 February 2006


Might be time to give up the number naming system - doesn't matter since I'm not checking for repeats. Then again, I might get seriously bored one day and go back through and create a chart. OK, solved that dilemma.

Another really dud day on the bus. There are, however, a series of regulars developing. They just aren't as interesting as earlier in the year. The hardhat guy was on again, this time wearing the orange dayglo vest of a road crew person. He had a really big Stanley tape measure on his belt - have to think about it - a carpenter's tape measure wearing a road crew vest - just not getting the big picture. Oh well, he's a regular for now and that makes me happy.

Dave performed a Tony Manero dance simulation as the bus pulled up to the stop. The driver, who seems to be our regular, said, "No dancing at the bus stop" as we got on. He was smiling and appears to have a sense of humor. I miss the little counterfeit printer, but this driver has potential.

Sarah just called and said there was a carjacking that ended in a shooting in the parking lot at UAT so she didn't have to go to work today. What's up with this world? I crave a bit of interest on the bus, but who needs carjackings and shootouts? After watching "Super Size Me," I wonder if fast food isn't killing us in multiple ways? Too deep for a bus blog.

08 February 2006


First post this week - rode the bus on Monday, but got so involved with work I never got back to posting. Yesterday I overslept (by four hours!!!) and hitched a ride in with Jim. Allergy season has arrived and I'm in the adjustment phase - waiting for antihistamine med to reach maintenance levels - until then, my body really isn't my own. I know this is a bus blog, but feel compelled to explain a 4-hour oversleep. I never do that, never. I'm still amazed.

Today's ride was boring, boring, boring. No one gets on the bus any more. If I didn't like getting in early, I'd take a different bus just to see if something is happening later (or earlier, I suppose). I like the time and don't want to change, but egad is it boring. A total of six people were on the bus when we got off at ASU. The backseat newspaper guy was there (he's a real regular from fall semester) and there's a guy with a yellow hard hat who has been a recent regular. Since he's doing the hard hat thing, I'm going to guess his regularity will depend on where he's working. Once the current job is done, he'll disappear from our route. Maybe I should consider the 81 in the morning. It's a bigger market route, but not as convenient to get to the stop. Oh, these decisions are giving me a headache ... or is that allergy? Whatever.

02 February 2006


Wow, what a great blog day this will be. Hardly know where to begin. First, the bus, another 4100, yada, yada, yada. Getting to be really old news. Next, Dave didn't ride the bus today and when I got on, the driver (who appears to be the new fairly regular driver) said, "No sidekick today?" I laughed and said, "No". This driver gave us the disco palace moniker for our stop and now referred to Dave as a sidekick. It's just too much. I like this driver - hope he stays.

Next - there was some confusion yesterday about the photo of Tony Manero. Apparently some readers thought I meant to post a photo of Tony Manero from the movie and I really meant (and posted) a photo of my reflector. To clear up any misunderstandings, today's post has a defining picture of which Tony Manero is which.

Last - when I got on the bus there was one other person, a man who seemed out of place. My people radar sensed he was not a regular rider on any bus route and his sartorial statement supported that conclusion. He was maybe 51 or so and wearing a sweater, khaki slacks and running shoes and carrying a North Face back pack. It wasn't a student outfit and it wasn't a working man's outfit - it just didn't come together with distinct definition. A stop or two after Southern, another man got on and he, too, seemed unusually put together for a typical bus rider. He appeared to be about 61 or 62 and was wearing a jacket, slacks and trainers and had a ball cap, earphones and carrying a fully stuffed JanSport backpack. He seemed restless and yet eager. He got into his backpack, pulled out a bottle of lotion and applied some to his hands, his face and the back of his neck. It was then it clicked - the Phoenix Open! This guy was going to the golf tournament and he just put on his sunscreen. I'm pretty sure the other guy was probably going there, too. It completely explains their clothing and the backpacks and why they were even on the bus. I'm so proud of myself for figuring it out and proud of them for doing the bus thing to get there. Hope they have a wonderful time.

Haven't had that much to write about in weeks and weeks and weeks.

01 February 2006

Bus #???

Once again, I forgot to note the number. Suffice to say it was a 4100 bus - wish we'd get a 6000 every now and then. The driver was the same one who declared our stop a disco palace because of my relector/flasher. photo of reflectorIn honor of this, Dave named my device, Tony Manero, as in John Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever. It seems fitting and, in honor of this honor, I scanned and posted Tony's picture. Handsome little devil, eh?

Hard to believe it's February 1. A couple of regulars but still no more than 6-8 of us total riders. What is up with the 6am bus? Hard to believe that many people moved or had schedule changes between fall and spring semester. Worse, there have been no "characters" to enjoy. A review of the archives and I long for riders like the woman on the cart and her shouting. Moments like those add interest and momentum to the ride - lately, if it wasn't for conversation with Dave, it would be an exercise in somnambulism. Just keep hoping as the sun rises earlier, the riders will come out from wherever they're hiding.