Monday, September 30, 2013

Today, it was ALL about the people.

It's amazing how you can go for about 1 million bus rides and nothing happens and then today.
I was on the 4:45pm SMART 460 heading to Royal Oak from downtown. The 4:30pm SMART 450 apparently had not shown up before the 460 so there were a lot of people at all the stops.

The people on this bus:

1. The women next to me who continued to text someone labeled in her phone as 'Baby Daddy' and took a call from someone that she simply said "lose my number, b****" to before hanging up. BOOM.

2. The biker puts his bike on the bike rack with the light flashing (BEEN THERE) and got on the bus with a very very large Big Gulp-like bottle hanging around his neck? The physics of this was amazing. No spills! I can barely carry a Nalgene with a solid lid on it without dumping water all over my bag. An inspiration.

3. A guy that just graduated from Everett with his degree in Medical Assisting. Like on the bus in a cap & gown = yay! This attracted Big Gulp biker man to get up from his seat to extend his congrats and the following line of questioning/information (in pretty much this order):
a. "Where are you gonna work?"
b. "I have a lady doctor and I really like her. I bet lady doctors are really good to work for."
c. "My brother died in a drunk driving accident. It was sad but I think he was happy. You see, he was the drunk driver and he loved to drink."
d. "Have you ever been to New York City? I loved it there. Lived there for years."

4. A woman that was VERY upset she couldn't get off the bus until Highland Park.The bus dropped her off about 25 blocks north (this was explained by a fellow bus rider that apparently knows Woodward literally by the block - he rattled off that stat in seconds - amazing) of her work and she was going to be late. It was so frustrating to see our limited public transit system work against someone that had a clear obligation - and, more basically, a hard time walking. Does anyone out there know why SMART doesn't drop off between downtown and Highland Park going north (and vice versa going south)? This is something I've just learned from riding these routes but haven't ever seen this officially anywhere.

5. A man that had a very difficult time moving (as well as a large rolling suitcase) got on the bus and about 3 different fellow bus riders rushed to his aid/moved so he could sit/have space. The bus community <3

6. When I finally made it to Royal Oak, I was at the bike rack unlocking my bike. There's a guy that rides around Royal Oak in a large shiny blue adult tricycle with a large basket on the back - I've always thought that bike was super sweet. He was right by the bike rack where my bike was parked and he says "you know, I see you all biking all over with these huge bags and I get worried about your back. Do you know you can get saddle bags and baskets that you can use to carry your stuff while biking?". The biking community. <3

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Inner peace via public transit?

Even though we haven't been the best blog-posters, you must know that we have still been dedicated bus/biking on a very, very regular basis. The summer breeze rustling through our biking skirts/appropriate biking shorts (we are LADIES, thank you very much) has been amazing. The days that we had to drive (boo), traffic wasn't terrible.


Traffic mania. Lane closures. Cops actually patrolling downtown and pulling people over for going over the posted 55. 55!? I've been driving I-75 downtown for 10+ years and who knew? And then it started happening again. ROAD RAGE. 

Don't these people have any place to go? Why are we stopped? Where did all these people come from? Why are we in gridlock? WHY is it taking me one hour to go 13 miles??! And now I'm late for work. ARGH. Rush rush rush. 

And then: a bus day. Zen. Even when the bus is a little late or packed with people, I can just watch the world go by. Get lost in my thoughts. Oh hey - why is the bus driver stopping? Oh there's a lane closure? Oh ok. Back to browsing Twitter. Reading. Listening to music. Waving at the guy at the corner of Woodward and the Davidson with the sign that says 'you are special!' (I'm blanking on the exact words but it's similar - if anyone knows who I'm talking about, please feel free to share), all while he points and waves and smiles at drivers going by.  Is this a yoga class!? And now I'm 5 minutes early for work - time to grab a chai on the way in. Ahhhhhh. Starting the workday calm & happy. Thankful that the bus drivers will do the tough driving work. 

I know people get their stressors from different areas of life (and I'm maybe more road rage-y than the average commuter) but how would our work/school days be different if we, in SE Michigan, could commute using reliable public transit? Or will commuting, in no matter what form, always be stressful? Does the idea of using public transit bring out your inner Buddha...or badass?

#morelove #detroit #transit