Monday, July 28, 2014

Commando on the 7

I do not have photos to go with this post. You’re welcome.

It has been very hot weather in Seattle these past few days. We’re not used to the heat. Sunny days in Seattle are common in the summer, but many of us just can’t handle them. Any sustained temperatures over 85 can cause an unpredictable outcome.

A contributor told me a story about the 7 Local – Prentice Street to Rainier Beach. I personally won’t get on the 7. I’ve been on it before, and it is scary. People get stabbed on the 7. They get beat up on there. It’s historically in the top three most dangerous buses in Seattle – it’s up there with the old 358. Supposedly the A-Line RapidRide was the other one.

The contributor told me the story of how it was too hot to continue bicycling, so her and her husband decided to take the bus back home from wherever they'd gone. The bus stopped, they put their bikes on the front rack, and took their seats in the first forward facing seats. Smart move. Don’t sit in the back of the 7 unless you're looking for trouble.

A woman was seated in the sideways seats in front of them. She wasn’t old, but she wasn’t young. She didn’t look homeless or mentally impaired. She was wearing sweatpants and a cardigan.

Yes, that is an odd outfit for such a warm day. She was a special case.

Let's call her Jessie. I dislike that Jessie's Girl song and Rick Springfield. Even though Jessie was his friend's name in the song - a good friend - and his girl went unnamed, I'm still calling this bus character Jessie. Just because.

As the bus rolled forward, Jessie began squirming in her seat. She started taking off her sweatpants. Yes. Taking them off! She had a tough time with them and ended up having to put her legs in the air, moving dramatically about. Just like a snake molting. Finally, after several minutes of wrestling with the sweatpants, she was free of them.

And free of anything else below the waist.

Indeed, Jessie was butt naked, sitting on the dirty seat with her girl parts right on them. No barrier. No protection from the elements and germs. She melded with the nastiness of a million bus riders before her.

"You know I wish that I had Jessie's girl! Jessie's girl. Where can I find a woman like that?"

The woman who was sitting next to her turned her body toward the front of the bus, obviously disgusted by the naked lady’s presence. The contributor and her husband were shocked.

“Oh my God! Is that woman…?”

“Yes.”

“She must be wearing short shorts? At least underwear?”

“Nope.”

“Hold on! Look at that. Is that her…?”

“Haha. Yeah.”

As the naked lady turned slightly, her cardigan malfunctioned and a breast fell out. She wasn’t wearing an undershirt or tank top under the sweater. She was nude underneath. And she was very clearly exposing a nipple to the passengers around her.

So, let’s do a clothing inventory: Pants? No. Underpants? No. Shirt? No. Bra? No. Cardigan? Yes. Shoes? Maybe. (We didn’t cover that part of the story.)

You’re probably wondering what Jessie was doing after she disrobed. Nothing. She was sitting there like it was nothing. It was the most natural thing to ride the bus in the buff.

No one said anything to her, including the driver. Everyone just continued on with whatever they were doing, checking her out. I'm sure most people were too shocked, but then again they were on the 7.

The contributor told me that last week a man had his hand down his pants, very obviously masturbating with no shame. Now this week she saw Jessie - more of her than she wanted to. She should become a busworthy regular correspondent for sure!

Looks like the 7 has gotten a lot more liberated since I rode it last.

The contributor and her husband got off the bus before Jessie, which made them a little sad. They wanted to see what happened when she got off the bus. Who knows, but at least that Seattlelite knows how to beat the heat!

I hope she didn't lose her transfer when she shed her pants and her dignity.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

BUSPOCALYPSE - Days Four and Five

 
Day Four - Testicular Torment, Day Five - This BS is over.
 
Buspocalypse - Day Four of the I-90 construction started with light rain, which did cause some traffic. Did anyone miss the first half of work? No. Did anyone have to hold their bladder until they feared it would burst because they couldn't get off the bus in the middle of the freeway? Maybe...but not in this blog post.
 
This blog series is starting to sound like a broken record.
 
We all anticipated traffic delays for hours.

We never thought we'd get to work.
 
I was hungry. Sooo hungry. And thirsty.
 
I didn't think I would live through it.
 
But we DID live. Because nothing is happening. Traffic is fine.
 
Day Four - A.M. Commute 
 
The 554 - Issaquah to Seattle - There was some traffic and a busworthy correspondent captured the travel (non)disaster digitally.
 

Problems ahead!

At long last, traffic. The correspondent gets unlimited bonus points for today because she captured the bicyclist behind the median.

No stop and go this morning.
 
 
The other contributors to busworthy from the Eastside were unavailable to give accounts of their trips to and from town, but I'm sure it was uneventful. I heard from some people who drive I-90 from Renton that they experienced delays, but we're not concerned with commuters. No HOV lane? No blog post.
 
Day Four - P.M. Commute 
 
Nothing busworthy happened on any of the buses I heard about except my Express bus. And really, can you consider it dramatic or even worth noting when your bus smells like balls? Well it did. A 14 ton, metal vessel of testicular torment. It certainly isn't the first (or sadly the last) time a Metro bus has smelled like balls.
 
Ho hum.
 
Day Five - A.M. & P.M. Commutes
 
No one is even talking about the I-90 construction any more. We're all done with it. It may continue on a few more days - definitely over the weekend because either 520 or I-90 have to be closed each weekend in the summer to screw drivers over. But no one has been impacted and no one cares any more.
 
As with any phenomenon that is compared to the Apocalypse in terms of massive impact, destruction, and fear - Snowpocalypse, Tupac Shakur's debut album 2Pacalypse Now, and the general use of the word Trafficopalypse -- Buspocalypse has left us all a little underwhelmed. Actually, it pleased all of the Eastside to Downtown commuters, which I suppose is a good thing.
 
Is it 2Soon for a 2Pac reference? Just kidding. I haven't heard this CD, and supposedly it's one of his better ones.
 
I suppose I'll have to look to the local downtown buses when I want some real excitement.
 
Thanks for reading and following the non-existent traffic horrors this week. This concludes the Buspocalypse. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BUSPOCALYPSE - Day Three

 
Day Three - Torrential Downpour!
 
Day three of the I-90 construction started with heavy rain, which did cause some traffic along the interstate. It still did not take anyone the predicted six times the average commute time to get from the Eastside to downtown Seattle.
 
I'm beginning to think someone was a drama queen when they wrote the articles about the construction that appeared in the newspaper.
 
Although, it is a stretch to assume any construction on freeways around here would happen without some impacts.
 
Day Three - A.M. Commute 
 
The 554 - Issaquah to Seattle - Traffic started just before and after Eastgate.
 

The traffic backup starting at Eastgate.
 
The rest of the commute, through the rainy window.

The I-90 bridge, with the XXX lights illuminated, telling motorists, "No, no, and NO!"


The 214 - Issaquah to Seattle - A report of some traffic in the same areas as was experienced on the 554 above.
 
The 252 - Kingsgate to Downtown Seattle - Very little traffic reported.
 
Day Three - P.M. Commute - I didn't hear of any delays going from Seattle to the Eastside. There probably weren't any.
 
On my commute home to Kent, I saw the following sign that let me know I-90 would be clear:
 
Oh look! A rainbow, extending from the I-90 on ramp down into the Metro Ryerson Base near the Stadium District.
 
It's all rainbows and magic on the I-90 for sure. I-5 to Tacoma might have been a different story completely. The message below is brought to you by the SoundTransit 590 to Tacoma:
 
Thanks so much for clarifying what we can get in trouble for. I wasn't sure if heroin dealing is a crime. Now I know. And now you know you can text the DEA directly if those pesky neighbors keep freebasing on their porch.
 
The Eastside buses should post pictures of unicorns and pegasuses (pegasi?) on the side of their coaches. Their semi-hybrid giant chariots.

So, what was busworthy today? I rode on a crowded Express bus in the afternoon. There was an older lady sitting next to me. She seemed clean enough. I hope she was clean, because she put her head on my shoulder and slept for a while. I didn't mind. Other regulars were laughing, and the lady was horrified she'd made herself so comfortable when she woke up.
 
What will Buspocalypse bring us tomorrow? Meteors, huge traffic jams, and passengers chowing down on jalapeno chips? Who knows. That's the fun of taking the bus.
 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BUSPOCALYPSE - Day Two


Day Two - Yawn.
 
I'm still providing daily coverage of the I-90 down-to-one-lane-road-construction supposed nightmare. The only thing is...I have no nightmare to report. No one that I've heard of who is commuting from the Eastside to Seattle has experienced any sort of delay during the morning OR evening commutes.

(Actually, there was that car accident in Issaquah yesterday afternoon, but it had nothing to do with I-90.)
 
My correspondents and contributors have been taking earlier buses. Maybe you've been stuck in traffic later in the day. If so, you need to send in your story so I can post it and we can all read something interesting. Send pics, too, or we'll think you're making it up and we will heckle you.
 
Day Two - A.M. and P.M. Commutes
 
Certainly all of the usual commuters that avoided any traffic nastiness yesterday heard tales of how pleasant it was and decided to chance it, right? Telecommuting only got them so far and they have to go in to the office to get more work or sit through a PowerPoint, right?
 
Not necessarily. Let's read about today's adventures:
 
The 554 - Issaquah to Seattle - Nothing. No traffic. No hassle.
 
The Tuesday morning commute over I-90. Hardly looks like a Buspocalypse to me - but that's the silliness in ending something with "alypse." It's all drama and rarely catastrophic.
  
The 214 - Issaquah to Seattle - Nothing. No traffic. No hassle.
 
The 252 - Kingsgate to Downtown Seattle - Nothing. No traffic. No hassle. People were asking the bus driver about why the lanes were so clear and he said all week-long construction projects are like this. They start out really smooth, and by the end of the week it's total madness. A full on goat rodeo. So stay tuned. Something might happen.
 
The 255 - The Briiiiickyard to Downtown Seattle - Nothing. No traffic. No hassle.
 
I did a Google search for "goat rodeo" and several interesting options came up. One of them is a goat herding monkey riding a dog.
 
Look at his little chaps!
 
Ever had ADHD and done a Google search? You never know what you'll find. There are a trillion random tangents at your fingertips. Here is the closest thing I could find to a goat rodeo - not because it's in a rodeo setting, but it is unpredictable and clusterfuckish...goats in a tree in Morocco:
 
 Take care of your goats. It's not like they grow on trees.
 
If I was a goat, I would totally climb trees. Not only to eat the leaves...to also be a complete billy goat freak.

Here's hoping something of note happens tomorrow. Otherwise I will post more pictures of herds of goats in trees. Like anyone could get enough tree-climbing goats....
 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BUSPOCALYPSE - Day One

 
Day One - Heed the Warnings!
 
Readers, we're supposedly in for a crazy seven days with the road work on I-90. Abysmal delays are expected all over the Eastside and Mercer Island. Let's call this week Buspocalypse!
 
Bring your Uno cards, fully charged electronics, Trader Joe's snack, and your neck pillows. Don't forget the picnic-size wine bottles. Your commute is going to be Hellish.
 
Only the truly awesome people will email me or comment on the busworthy Facebook page about their delays. Mega awesome people will share pics on Facebook. Chuck Norris-level badasses will send video.

You know who you are.
 
Anne, the faithful busworthy correspondent who will be stuck in traffic at some point during Buspocalypse, found these predictions/warnings online on Sunday. Take Heed, Eastside commuters!
 
Basically, the steel plates on the road have been worn down and compromised, meaning they could come up and take tires out, causing crashes and mayhem like that insurance guy on TV. It's really only on one part of I-90 - over between Mercer Island and Bellevue Way Southeast. Traffic will be down to one lane.
 
According to the Seattle Times:
 
"...traffic backups could stretch more than 10 miles."
 
"King County Metro says it will not reroute any buses. It has warned riders that in addition to the 13 routes that cross the I-90 bridge, routes that use the 520 bridge and I-405 could face delays."
 
"Spokesman Jeff Switzer said Metro will do its best to have backup buses available should regular buses not make it back to the Eastside in time to pick up the next round of riders."
 
"WSDOT says the best times to travel will likely be before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. From there, travel times could multiply to as much as six times what they usually are. Traffic will likely improve from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. but still be heavier than usual."
 
Day One - A.M. Commute
 
I was so excited to hear about the chaos in the traffic. People fighting outside their cars, throwing their coffees on each other's windshields, and bus passengers climbing out the windows.
 
These are the reports I got from I-90 and 520 contributors and fans:
 
The 554 - Issaquah to Seattle "So far closing all but one lane on the I-90 floating bridge is still much better than Seahawks parade day, when I waited for a bus for half an hour and then stood for two hours when I did get on a bus. And when I get to Seattle today, I'm pretty sure I won't have to battle through 700,000 people or be used as a shield by a linebacker-sized guy who is trying to push his way forward through an unmoving mass of people. So that's also an improvement."
 
Yeah. Nothing. Really, there was no traffic on I-90.
 
The 214 - Issaquah to Seattle - "The commute was perfectly fine. I took an earlier bus. There was about a 1/2 mile of stop and go traffic around either side of I-405. While we had very little traffic on our route, the lines going to the 520 were starting to back up. I suppose the drivers thought it would be easier to go up there than to attempt I-90."
 
The 252 - Kingsgate to Downtown Seattle - "Nothing to report, there was no traffic."
 
The 255 - The Briiiiickyard to Downtown Seattle "I just took the 255 across 520 and got to work about 10 minutes earlier than usual!"
 
Many people telecommuted, many stayed home, and I'm sure some people went on vacation to get out of town. Whatever the case, there was no impact to the earlier morning traffic coming in to town. Certainly not the Buspocalypse that was predicted.
 
Day One - P.M.
 
I only heard one account of the evening traffic going back to Issaquah, and it was all clear coming back around 3:30 p.m.
 
While I-90 was open, green lights all along, there was a minor accident in Issaquah that snarled traffic by the salmon hatchery. The mega awesome contributor sent pics! Yesss!
 
Car wreck pic - that's ugly!

That's really ugly!
Don't you wish you sent pics of bus happenings for me to post? It's fun. And it's free. You should.
   
Readers, stay tuned for tomorrow's Buspocalypse updates! We'll have a special guest in town to throw another wrench into the commute(s) - President Obama will be visiting. He always flies Air Force One into Boeing Field and from there he's going to Bellevue. He has to meet with Bill Gates to try and get a more affordable Student edition of Windows 8. I wonder if the motorcade will shut down traffic on I-90 completely?
 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The 27 and the 5 and Hell and Karaoke


The 27 and the 5

For those of you who missed my Facebook update, I have a new goal: to ride all 235 King County Metro routes. I’m not riding each route the entire length – just from here to there. I printed out the list and I’ve already highlighted the ones I know I’ve ridden. So far I have been on 31 of the 235. I better get on it!

Inspired by my new goal, I rode the 27 and the 5 – for sport – during my lunch hour on Friday. I waited at Benaroya Hall for the first bus to come along and whisk me down 3rd Avenue. The 27 –Yesler Way/Colman Park came into view, and I chuckled. That is one of the most ghetto buses in Seattle. I used to have to take it home from work when I lived in a super sketchy neighborhood.

I happily boarded it and immediately noticed the atmospheric change. There was a bad vibe on that bus. Not a scary bad vibe, but a feeling of overall sadness and despair. No one was loud or rowdy, or weird, or drunk/high that I could see. I was disappointed in the lackluster crowd. I have seen people so messed up they couldn’t stand to get off that thing. I have heard a gentleman tell his friend, “It is so hot out here. I’m sweating like a pimp with no hoes. On a Friday night.” We’ve all seen the bottled water rolling back and forth on the floor of the bus…on the 27 it’s a bottle of Thunderbird.

When I took the 27 my stop used to be the last stop in the Ride Free Zone. Remember the Ride Free Zone downtown where all the homeless and high/drunk people could escape the rain and go to get their next fix? Yeah. I do.

 
The view from behind the Plexiglass on the 27.
 

I rode it a few stops down, then got off and walked across the street to get another bus back.

I honestly can’t remember ever riding a 5. There are two 5 routes – the 5 Express – Greenwood to Seattle and the 5 Local – Shoreline CC to Greenwood to Seattle. I boarded the 5 Local when it came along.
I took this pic when I got off at the post office.

It was an articulated bus with older seats in the middle. I like these kind of seats. The newer ones are even smaller and really only for one person or two kids.
Look! Two seats for two butts. Or two butthead kids.

There was one guy on here in the back sideways seat by the door that looked like he was coming down from a dirty high. He wasn’t noisy or irritating, but his eyes were messed up and he was swaying with the bus. It was an uneventful ride otherwise.

“This is Hell!”

busworthy correspondent Mickie B. had quite an interesting 10 minute walk from work to the bus stop and onto the bus the other day. It’s good that someone has seen something interesting. I was starting to question whether the city bus riders were all on downers or something. I haven’t seen anything exciting on buses or at bus stops in weeks.

Mickie B. left work at 5:00 p.m. She approached the intersection of 5th and Union where there was a man yelling at everyone. He didn’t appear to be completely homeless or mentally unstable, but he was quite upset.

“This is Hell! THIS IS HELL!”

He repeatedly screamed at the top of his lungs. People glanced at him and kept walking. Some ignored him, although his statement seemed worthy enough.

Feeling ignored and wanting to express himself a little clearer, he added the following for emphasis:

“This is FUCKING Hell. It IS SO HOT!”

“WE ARE IN HELL!”

This is what happens when it gets up to 79 degrees in Seattle. People lose their minds. I wonder how he’s going to cope with the even hotter temperatures coming next week.

Moving past this guy, Mickie B. arrived at her bus stop. Actually, this is the same bus stop where I catch my evening bus, although she was there about 30 minutes before I was. It was only about a three minute wait for the bus to arrive. That three minutes was pure magic.
It's not just a bus stop. It's the bus stop.
 
Mickie B. heard a woman behind her talking to someone (herself, perhaps) about someone’s “head being cut off.” She couldn’t tell if the woman was planning on decapitating someone or if she’d seen it somewhere. The woman went on and on about it, adding weight to her words with the same vocabulary choice as the guy in the intersection. “…Fucking head’s gonna get cut off….”

Just as the 122 to the Burien Transit Center pulled up and she was waiting in line, she heard music and noise coming from behind her. She looked over and saw an Asian guy of short stature wearing – well, she couldn’t describe accurately what type of clothing it was but it was unusual and had a rainbow hat with it. He didn’t appear to be a leftover of the Gay Pride festivities. He was carrying a portable karaoke machine and singing into the microphone that was attached to it while walking down 2nd Avenue. She couldn’t make out the song, but he was singing terribly. Mickie B. claims to be slightly tone deaf and she could still tell it sounded terrible. “His voice was very atrocious,” she told me. And the volume on the machine was loud! He was belting out whatever song it was without a care in the world.

Mickie B. thought for the third time that evening, “You should stop.”

I say, “No, citizens of Seattle! Keep it coming."

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Blog Post About Nothing

I had the day off on Thursday and I haven't had anything to write a post about in a while, so I figured I would ride different buses all day to get blog material. It was going to be the Best Day Ever! Oh, the things I’d see and take pictures of…maybe even a video or two. Not only would it be fun and spontaneous (of course it was loosely planned), it would be adventurous. And I brought a correspondent/witness with me: Anne.

That's right! It's the Best Day Ever!


Naturally there would be an abundance of craziness and possibly even police activity. Anne was there for back-up, photography, and possibly to make bail if I became involved. She could provide additional blog posts because we were sure to see so many busworthy items. Anne was also there to eat ice cream and tempura bacon with me. But those are different stories for a different blog. Perhaps a spin-off blog?

One of my favorite television shows is Seinfeld. I will always love it. It never fails to make me laugh and really, it’s a show about the mundane things that happen in four peoples’ lives. Nothing is funnier than real life – as evidenced on Seinfeld and in these blog posts. Seinfeld was a show “about nothing.”

This blog post, a la Seinfeld, is a post about nothing.

I have seen some outrageously funny things at bus stops and on the bus. I have seen a woman who looked exactly like Slash and who smelled like rotting meat in the Arizona sun. I have heard the voice of the Devil on the 27. I have watched as people ralfed into the aisle. Thursday, the best day ever, was a day that blew my mind.

Nothing happened. Nada. And that, readers, is what made the day unique.

The Routes

Here are the routes Anne and I took:

·         The Sounder train
·         The 554 – Seattle
·         The 71 Express - Wedgwood
·         The 70 - Downtown Seattle from U-District
·         The 3 - Madrona
·         The 60 – Beacon Hill (twice – I had to get off once to go to the bathroom at Harboview)
·         The Central Link Light Rail to SeaTac Airport
·         The 180 – Auburn/Kent Station
·         The 150 – Downtown Seattle
·         The 4 – East Queen Anne Hill
·         The 4 – Judkins Park
·         The 150 – Southcenter
·         The 550 - Bellevue
·         The 554 – Issaquah

You would think with all those routes and trips to both Swedish First Hill (my kid had a doctor’s appointment) and Harborview – and all the tunnel platforms and bus stops in between – we’d have something to report.

I wouldn’t expect anything spectacular to happen on the Sounder train or the 554. The 550 is so clean it smells like Macy's. But really? Anything going by Harborview always has foul smelling, unstable people. Not this day! The driver on the 3 was cracking jokes, making everyone laugh, and everyone was sufficiently pleasant.

The 60 threw me off because I thought it was going to White Center, but in fact it just went up to Beacon Hill. We got off at the Beacon Hill Central Link Light Rail Station and hopped on a SeaTac bound Central Link train. We needed to step it up a bit and head over to the silly/scary south end routes. We got to see the sketchy Martin Luther King, Jr. Rainier Beach area from the safety of the Light Rail. There wasn't anything to report there but passengers with luggage going to SeaTac on there and a few stragglers. Oh, and the handicapped seat across from me raised and lowered of its own volition. That was a little exciting to watch. Ghost seat!
The sign at the Beacon Hill Central Link Light Rail Station.

Here we are at the SeaTac Airport Central Link Light Rail Station. We started taking pictures of signs because no one would believe we actually went on all these routes and came back empty handed.
 
We got off at SeaTac and headed down to the International Boulevard bus stop to catch the 180. That stop is the same as the RapidRide A-Line stop to the Federal Way Transit Center. We considered catching that one, but instead stuck it out for the predictably raunchy 180. There was an interesting fellow waiting for the RapidRide who was humming loudly to himself. “MMmmmm MMMmm Mmmmm.” It was irritating yet probably some kind of self-soothing thing, so I am not even sure I can write about it. (I have a strict self-imposed policy of not making fun of others who have legitimate disabilities.) I was actually disappointed when The Hummer got on the RapidRide and not the 180 with us. "Mmmmm MMmmMMMMmm" all the way to Federal Way would've been a nightmare.

We needed something. Anything.

There was a woman playing super loud, shrill cell phone music on the 180. It was terrible. She was a black woman wearing unbelievably hot pink eyeliner. I probably could write about her but not really. Everyone on the 180 seemed rough enough, but no one did anything out of the ordinary.

The 150. Oh, the 150! The bus that never lets me down with the busworthy stories. NOTHING. I took it back into town and home again and not a single thing happened. Everyone sat facing the right way in silence. There were some kids making out on the way home, but they were fully clothed and both obviously consenting, so that doesn’t count.

Anne and I were chatting and having a good time, so I thought maybe I missed something. No. I didn’t. I was looking for anything. We sat in the very back of the bus in an attempt to catch the best action there is. It's not like we sat in the front and wimped out.

While standing in front of Benaroya Hall on Third, watching everyone at the bus stop not committing crimes of petty theft and eye contact violations, I wondered if Rapture had happened. If so, we made it! I didn’t see any folded clothes and all Hell wasn’t breaking loose around me, so that was a no-go.
Anne texted me a picture from the Mercer Island Park & Ride of the quaint little Independence Day flags lining the walkway.
I asked her if she could grab a flag and use it to cross the road like the orange crosswalk flags in Bellevue. She said she could, but she wouldn't. And why should she need to on the Best Day Ever? People would naturally stop for pedestrians. And wave at them.
 
I can honestly say I have no idea what happened or where the homeless, druggies, hookers, and overall malevolence chose to vacation on this fine July 3rd. But really, this might have been my most interesting day taking buses, trains, and the Light Rail.

Next time, we’re not screwing around. We’re going straight down Aurora Avenue on the RapidRide E Line – perhaps multiple times back and forth – and we’re taking the Community Transit Double Tall to Lynnwood or Mukilteo and we’re sitting on top. Because we can.
We're going to sit front and center on top so we can watch mascots and false super heroes get taken out.
(Photo courtesy of the Community Transit web page.)