30 October 2006


Today was kind of boring, so I'll write about Friday's morning ride - much more interesting.

The "fam" had total ownership of the bus. Newspaper Guy aka Bill, was not there to secure the BTA, so the two little girls perched in full officialness on the back seat, in complete control of the surroundings with smiles as big as a crescent moon. The dad was in the middle of the bus, opposite the back door, guarding the girls and holding the stroller. The mom was in the very front seat, holding the baby on her lap. I sat in my original "regular" seat and exchanged shy looks with the baby girl. She is adorable and had those not-quite-awake heavy morning eyes. All she really wanted was to snuggle her little hoodie-covered head in the crook of her mother's arm and go back to sleep. I must say, I would have happily joined her were such a thing remotely possible. A rocking bus, dim lights and a warm loving arm and shoulder - recipe for the perfect sleep scenario.

The bus turned at Rural, stopped, and the mom and dad shepherded the little ones off the bus. The dad opened the stroller, helped the mom et al get organized and got back on the bus. As the door closed, a chorus of tiny voices yelled out, "Bye, dad, I love you." What a way to start his day. You've just got to admire these people, going to work and managing the kids' daycare all on public transportation. The husband and wife were discussing a doctor appointment for someone later in the day and talking bus times and daycare pickup. It's a challenge to keep all these things going under the best of circumstances and they are doing it without the apparent benefit of their own automobile. May all their buses be on time.

25 October 2006


Well, we certainly experienced an interesting ride on the 6am66. I almost need to elevate my feet and rest up before recounting the tale.

It began with another drive-by overshoot stopping. Clad in white linen overalls, I felt sure I presented high visibility at the stop today. However, the bus came down the road at an alarming speed and it seemed I would be completely passed by. At the last minute, the bus halted, quite a way down from the stop and another trek across the damp tree lawn ensued. As I got on, the driver apologized and screeched that the lights were glaring and she couldn't see. Refering to the interior lights, I guess, she turned them all off and we proceeded in complete darkness. NG, one of the Steves and I were the only ones on board, sitting in the BTA. We got to Guadalupe and Rural, the fam's mom and dad got on and the bus stopped running. The driver announced "they will send me a new bus", promptly re-started the bus and the ride continued. Not sure if that qualified as an official breakdown - her words implied yes but the actions implied no.

The ride continued in full darkness - felt much like a red eye flight, only missing the little pillows and navy blue blankets. We picked up BG and kept on going. Turning the corner from Baseline onto Mill, once again the bus stalled (?) and the driver easily re-started the craft. It appeared that turns might be involved in the stalls. Arriving at another stop, in answer to a question from a waiting patron, she had to advise that this was the 66 southbound. The bus was quite invisible without lights and the query made me wonder if she overzealously turned off a few too many lights. One of the new passengers needed a transfer and the driver had to bend over, her face almost touching the pad of tickets, to see what she needed. Time to turn on the lights? We proceeded and at the next stop, for reasons unknown, she suddenly turned on the lights. We kept going north on Mill and she roared past a stop where a woman was waiting. The woman yelled, the driver kept on going and Mark suggested she at least stop and wait. The driver just kept saying she couldn't see, the lights were glaring, and at the Broadway intersection, the bus stalled once more. So much for the turn theory. She again re-started the bus and we got underway. In spite of the stalls, we were quite on time although some poor people were definitely left standing in the dark. Today's image honors our invisible bus.

24 October 2006


Quiet ride on the 6am66. Rain threatens today and, as previously noted, life in Arizona comes to a halt when rain falls. Uncommon, yes; however, rain is not rare and it boggles the mind why moisture from the sky creates such havoc. Listening to radio this morning and the traffic report indicates accidents all over the place. We're not talking sheets of rain, not even a steady rain, not even a light drizzle - this driving collapse occurs with 15-20 drops hitting the pavement. People won't ride the bus because some of this moisture might land on them and god knows what happens then. I guess that's why all the wrecks - the bus riders are trying to drive. Needless to say, we had light ridership.

New twist on "the family". While waiting for the 6am66, the 92 approached. Ever since Dave and I hopped on the 92 by mistake, he is on full alert - making sure we don't go down that path again. As he stood there, waving off the 92, I saw "the family" sitting in the BTA of the 92. Both buses go west on Guadalupe to Rural and since that's where the wife and kids usually get off, it wasn't completely odd for them to be on the 92. What was fun - when our bus turned north on Rural and stopped, husband and wife got on our bus, sans kids. Dave asked if they were juggling buses today and they advised they dropped the kids off at daycare. There are two childcare places within an easy walk of that intersection and I wondered if that was always part of their daily routine. They've been very regular and I might have to dust off the regular crown and have a large-scale annointing.

23 October 2006


Ahhhhh, back on the bus. Thanks to all who offered kind words during my recent flu siege. Hope that doesn't happen again for a long, long while.

An interesting morning on the 6am66. It was late today - not horribly late - maybe 8 minutes - but we're at the beginning of the route and with only a couple of stops in front of us, little opportunity for things to happen and build up bus delay. When it finally appeared on the horizon, Dave and I got our packs on, good passengers that we are, and moved forward, ready to board. The next thing we know, the bus shot past us, just barely stopping. He overshot the concrete pad and we trekked over the tree lawn to get down to the bus door. Now, I must preface that the sun no longer shines at 6am - dark of day prevails and no street light illuminates the stop. When we got on, it was a new driver who announced that he didn't see us, using a tone that implied it was our obligation to be visible. He carried on about waiting behind bushes and trees ... huh? There are no trees or bushes at our stop ... what the hell? Made me almost want to cough on him. Looks like I'll have to find my trusty flashing reflector and start putting it on my pack. At the very next stop, he repeated the same action and, again, blamed the rider for waiting behind the shrubs. While there are shrubs at that stop, I've never seen that guy lurking in them. He usually sits on the bench, in front, at the stop. Unless that guy had a serious need to bush-lurk today, I think the driver was too busy talking to a passenger and not paying attention. Today's image shows the 6am66 flashing past.

On top of the crazy pickups, the dilemma of the family occupying the BTA repeated itself. We were forced to false sit when we got on and then move to our favored locations after they left. Dave hopped first to his regular spot and it did my heart good to see he is as Monk-like about his seating as me. Comfort zones, it's all about comfort zones. Later, I was especially glad I moved up to the BTA since a series of people got on who reeked of cigarette smoke. Smelling strongly in the BTA, I imagine it was suffocating in the main riding area. Is the aroma that comes off people who just smoked a cigarette considered second hand smoke? It smells bad, but it also makes me want to cough. Of course, my lungs are currently in a weakened condition, so it's difficult to judge. Oh well, c'est la vie.

17 October 2006

Bedside blogging

Developed a cold with flu-like symptoms or, the flu with cold-like symptoms, and have stayed bedside these past two workdays. Decided to write a bedblog as being home ill is a drag. I won't go to work tomorrow and the way I feel right now, Thursday's not looking much better. The worst thing is the cough. Hacking, chest heaving, gut wrenching coughing. It's hideous!!! I went to the pharmacy for a supply of meds and discovered they no longer put dextromethorphan into cough drops. That's the stuff that really holds the cough at bay, but I guess the teen set were consuming copious quantities of drops and getting "high". Seems like an alleged high to me - I've never gotten a buzz from cough drops, just relief. I'm eating vitamin C, drinking orange juice and water and sucking on zinc-based, get-well quick drops. I guess I'm better than yesterday and hopefully not as good as tomorrow.

The worst thing about illness is daytime TV. Thank god for BBC - I'm entertained by their daily lineup and only wish I had my friends from Ohio around to laugh about "Are You Being Served?" Three of us used to watch that on the local PBS station and enjoyed recounting the episodes. I wonder if they've ever seen "Keeping up Appearances" ... I know they'd love Onslow.

Oh well, I get this every couple of years - I think my antibodies get low and need a booster, so I get sick, build up the antis and stay well for another couple of years. At least it's early this year and won't interfere with holiday food consumption. One has to consider the up and downside of every scenario. Hope to be back with a bus blog in a few days.

13 October 2006


Haven't written in a few - not feeling so inspired lately and not sure why. Today is a Friday the 13th - some of my favorite days in the year. Don't forget to write your Law of Abundance checks!

Today's ride included a bit of a twist. Recently, a family regularly boards the bus between Price and McClintock. A father, mother, three small children and a folded stroller comprise their party and they always get off at Rural and Guadalupe. They usually sit in the very first seats - so noted because it requires a small climb over the stroller to get to the BTA. This morning, however, they filled the BTA (NG was not in situ) so I needed to make a quick seating decision. I plopped down near my original seat of choice and the ride continued. We got to Lakeshore and Guadalupe and a young man, regular rider, boarded. Since I occupied his "regular" seat, like me he faced a quick seating decision. He opted to plant across from me and the ride continued. I found myself wanting to get up into the BTA - I like riding on the bird perch with a view of the whole bus. I felt antsy and, almost, anxious. I sensed the young man didn't care much for his new digs, either. Once we turned the corner and dropped the family, I scooted up into the BTA and the young man popped across the aisle and into his standard space. Whew! A bit of an unsettling start to the day. So what was that about?

Walking from the bus stop to the office, my eyes were filled with the beginnings of one of Arizona's finest attributes - a lovely sunrise. A colleague once said that Arizona is the most beautiful place on earth, twice a day, sunrise and sunset. Believe me, that can be so true. Today's show wasn't overly spectacular, but the contrast of the light and the silhouettes of the trees grabbed my attention. Not in current possession of my regular camera, I used my phone camera. A bit weak, it still gives the idea. There are probably a gazillion Arizona sunrise/sunset pictures on the web and none of them do justice to the real thing. Still, we must try.


06 October 2006

It doesn't matter

The 6am66 bus stop has "partial amenities" - chair-quality bench (back and arms) and trash can - no lighting or overhead canopy for shade or cover from the elements. We're a step up from the "natural" or "organic" bus stops with rock seats in Mesa, but not overwhelmed with extras. While waiting for the bus this morning, storms visibly moving in from the south, I wondered how much lightning protection does the typical bus shelter provide? Most Valley shelters seem almost treelike and we know that trees are verboten in lightning situations. However, as the bolts slam out of the sky, I feel extremely vulnerable without any cover.

Golf course protocol for lightning says to lie down on the ground. I understand the logic, but fear the bus driver wouldn't see me and stop if I chose to wait, fully prone on the ground. Or, if she did see me, just drive by and call the police to report a drunk passed out at the stop. Then the police would come and find out I wasn't passed out or drunk, just taking proper storm precautions and they might be angry and arrest me for wasting valuable police time. Then again, they might let me wait for the bus in the cruiser, providing much needed shelter from the storm. Probably not. Fortunately, storms during bus waits are infrequent and the lightning-dodging dilemma rarely surfaces.

02 October 2006

Another great blog from Phoenix

Degrees of separation - this web thing has turned the world into one big neighborhood. Through a blog link on the UK bus driver's site, I learned about Flight Level 390, a blog written by a pilot from Phoenix. His writing entertains and his photography catches views only a pilot can see. A great find.


Monday morning and lots of sleepy eyes on the bus. I tend to over sleep on the weekend and can't sleep on Sunday night. Didn't fall asleep until 1AM and then woke up at 3:30AM. Didn't really sleep that much this weekend, so don't know what that's about. Oh well, if that's the worst thing I ever have to deal with . . .

The bus windows were open and we enjoyed natural air conditioning. How nice to not sit under the icy blasts of cold conditioned air. The outside temperature hovered in the low 70s and felt simply mahvelous, dahling. Not yet jacket weather, but no longer sweating upon arrival at the bus stop. I do believe fall is in the air. The image today reflects the sleepy eyes often found on the 6am66.