22 March 2007


Interesting morning at the bus stop. I arrived first and saw a plastic Target bag lying on the bench. Grabbing it to put in the trash, my hand felt something solid inside. Assuming someone left it by accident, I let the bag sit, uninvestigated. My life story recounts multiple "accidental leavings" where some helpful soul gave my left-by-mistake item to someone else for safekeeping. Experience says to leave found objects where they lie - it's the first place to look for lost things. I realize others might come along and walk off with it; however, on those occasions when the loser quickly remembers the loss, a return to the last-known-sighting will be rewarded if the object stays put. I digress . . .

Along came Dave who immediately picked up the bag and looked inside. I don't know if he takes or leaves findings, but he definitely looks. His investigation revealed . . . a cutlery set! Not new - the knife tips were broken - and I immediately assumed these knives meant CSI might swoop down on us momentarily. Used cutlery in a Target shopping bag? Just the way a demented murderer would carry his/her weapons of choice - I cautioned Dave about leaving fingerprints that could link him to any felonious activities associated with this particular set of knives.

The question begs - what's with Dave and the found weaponry? Remember the Gun Incident, reported in this very blog? For a pacifist, he sure attracts some seriously intense found objects. To help keep CSI at bay, I photographed Dave's hand holding the bus-knives. Although, perhaps that makes me an accessory? Whatever ...

19 March 2007

Home on the 81S (Southbound or Sardine?)

Couldn't see the number on the 81S going home tonight. Not because of my eyes or a bad paint job or a bit of graffiti - I couldn't catch the number because of all the people. This bus was packed! I took the last seat when I boarded on College Avenue. This stop begins the route and most times I have the bus to myself. Ridership usually doesn't pick up until McClintock and University. Today, however, ridership maxed as we left the corral. We seemed to stop at every stop and when one or two got off, three or four got on. Eventually, only standing room remained and even that became a slim bet. At one point, I counted 18 people standing in the center aisle. As a 6000 class bus, it holds more people than the little 4100s from the 6am66; however, not so many more that 18 people had anything resembling elbow room. Inexplicably, wall-to-wall bodies and the driver kept picking up more.

I started to think I would have to fight my way off the bus. Visions swarmed around my brain - me crawling down the aisle, dodging bags and skateboards, feeling my way to the back door off-ramp. A kick and a shove and I'd find myself curled up on the sidewalk, a little bruised and beaten, but successfully disembarked. Fortunately, my fears abated as riders left at Southern and Baseline and no more joined the fray. By the time my stop arrived, I could walk off the bus, unaided, fully upright. What an unusual ride. Walking home, I ruminated on the oddity of it all and decided that the previous bus probably didn't make it around so we actually picked up a double load of riders. A sensible explanation - that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

14 March 2007


This seems like a new number, but after almost 18 months of bus blogs, hard to really tell. Perhaps an archive dive would reveal a re-occurrence? Whatever.

This post belongs to yesterday - work continues to bear down and eat up blogging time. Tacky, eh? Anyway, when we got on the bus yesterday it evidenced a lack of that human aroma that lives so strongly in bus seat upholstery. Clean, fresh, well-scrubbed air circulated throughout. Not to be confused with "new bus" or "new car" smell - this felt like the aftermath of a serious Merry Maids attack. So refreshing, Dave commented to the driver who acknowledged the pleasant atmosphere - and this driver never volunteers anything! I surmised an upholstery shampooing took place but neither Dave nor I could feel any moisture on the seats. The fresh bus smell combined with the scent of orange blossom that prevails right now - an aromatic delight! When we got off the bus, Dave discovered his pants seemed a tad damp in the pertinent seating parts - appears we did owe the fresh scent to upholstery cleaning!

Image certainly needs no explanation.

08 March 2007


Still a struggle to get a greeting from our semi-new driver. He finally began responding to my croaky felicitations (you never heard about my laryngitis!). I feel tempted to get on the bus and say "buenos días"; however, I always fear that could indicate I actually know some Spanish and, once exposed for how sadly monolingual I am, conversation opportunities would plummet immediately. A cheery, if crackly, "good morning" must suffice.

The other day, the BTA contemplated the legality of champagne on the bus - anticipatory brainstorming for the upcoming graduation celebrations. I suggested covering the surveillance cameras with masking tape and the conversation moved on to question who monitors happenings on the bus? Is there a human at the other end of the camera, watching as we bump and sway along the route? With so many buses on the road, it seems impossible that real time viewing could take place. Mark said everything is recorded and kept in the bus' black box. I knew planes carried black boxes, but until that nasty accident in Atlanta last week, I didn't realize buses also used them. The real surprise came when Mark pointed to a black container under one of the lower lateral seats and declared it "the black box." I instantly drew out my camera and, voila, today's image. Sure hope I don't participate in a bus ride where the black box becomes a player.

07 March 2007

another 41........

Been a couple of weeks mostly due to benign bus rides and a madhouse work agenda. Once in the office, the immersion factor takes over and I don't think to blog until way past inspiration time. Yesterday, however, the bus ride strayed from dull and needs documentation.

While waiting for the bus, Dave and I speculated on the whereabouts of Engineering Guy (Mike) and his marked absence from the 6am66 this semester. Dave said he sees EG on campus occasionally; however, like ships passing, they exchange nothing but words of greeting. We got on the bus and talked to Bill about his retirement and the need for an on-board graduation party for Dave and Mark - Mimosas anyone? The bus stopped at the Southern and Mill light, the door opened (illegally, I might add) and on hopped none other than Mike AKA Engineering Guy himself! Gloriosky - the gods heard us and listened! He looked good, albeit a bit weary. He took a killer schedule this semester, hoping to graduate at summer's end. His big announcement - his wife's pregnancy - a tadpole grows in the pond! What a nice ride - very heartwarming and reunion-like. I sure will miss these people when they all move on.

I took today's picture at the bus stop I use going home. A good rear view of Valley Metro's 6000 class bus (probably the 72) and good eyes will catch ASU's gold "A" on Hayden Butte in the background.