Another Transit Geek?

Phillip took the day off, and it was Friday in the U District for me. As my job becomes digitized, the need for anyone to be in the U District office is decreasing. What was once a 4 or 5 hours assignment for me has become 1 hour. Soon, there will be no need for Fridays in the U District. Maybe that’s part of why I was in a sour mood as I left our apartment this morning. Well, not really a sour mood – but my heart just wasn’t in it.

As I walked toward Olive Way, I saw a U District-bound 43 go by. No worries – There will be another 43 soon. Since I had some time, I decided to walk past the stop at Olive & Summit, and wait at the stop at John & Broadway. The atmosphere’s a little nicer there – there’s more sights to see, anyway.

There were five or six people at the stop at John & Broadway. An 8 arrived a minute later, and then I had the stop to myself. I checked OneBusAway. A 43 was due in 4 minutes.

A man showed up at the bus stop. He didn’t look homeless, but I guessed that he’s spent some time on the streets.

I decided to pass the time by peering into the window of Bleu Bistro. I’ve never been in there.

Suddenly, I heard the man shout, “Shit!” I turned around. “I just saw a 43 going down Broadway,” he said to me.

“That’s odd,” I said, “But, according to the schedule a 43 should be here in about three minutes. We’ll find out soon enough if it’s been rerouted.” At the moment I said that, a Metro supervisor’s van went by, and I began to wonder if we were going to have a replay of the morning before Christmas.

“I don’t know why they even bother with bus schedules,” the man replied, “They might as well give us all Ouija boards.” I was not in the mood for a conversation – especially not listening to some guy telling me how bad the buses are. But I’m too polite to tell someone to shut up.

Then the man said, “Did you know that our bus service is ranked third in the whole country?” It took me a moment to understand what point he was making. As he continued talking, however, it became clear that this man likes Metro Transit. He was proud of that ranking. In fact, he appeared to be a transit geek. We talked about car dependence – how people in Seattle would prefer driving a half-mile to either walking or taking a bus. He told me about living in Los Angeles and various parts of Seattle, and the various ways he would travel in either city.

We agreed that that 43 he saw going down Broadway was probably just deadheading to another route.

He lifted my mood a little. When the 43 arrived – on time and not rerouted – however, I was still not in the mood for a conversation. I wished him a good day, let him board the bus first, and then sat in another part of the bus.

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