There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bus rider's holiday

The Wife
Overcoming the "old people" image, the wife agreed to explore the idea of getting from our house to Old Town Folsom, the end of the light rail line, on President's Day.

We boarded the bus at 10:23 a.m. I flashed my monthly pass and the wife paid $5 for an all-day pass, expecting that we might decide to stop at the outlet mall at Iron Point either before or after touring Old Town Folsom.

On the bus I broke out my book and started to read, but this was all new for the wife so she watched the familiar sites from her unfamiliar view inside the bus as we headed for the 65th Street light rail station.

While light rail trains head east out of 65th Street every 15 minutes, only every other train goes all the way to the end of the line at Sutter Street in Folsom. We arrived at 65th Street just as the Sunrise train was leaving. After a somewhat chilly 15 minutes we boarded the Folsom light rail train at 11:19 a.m. for the 33 minute trip to the end of the line.

There were maybe a half-dozen people who got off the train with us at end Sutter Street. Old Town Folsom looks a lot like Old Town Placerville and Old Town Sutterville and all of the other Gold Rush era towns turned into shopping districts. The wife and I believe we must have visited old town Folsom before, but we couldn't remember when.

I was surprised that the museum and so many of the shops were closed. But we enjoyed window shopping. We purchased a small bronze Buddha for our son's collection at Snyder's House of Jade and the wife picked up some note cards at the Fire and Rain Gallery. We topped off our tour with lunch at Season's on Sutter, a artfully decorated diner with an extensive menu and friendly staff.

On the trip home we got off at Iron Point to see how much we could do in the outlet mall between half-hour trains. It turns out not much. First, the RT station is fenced off from the shopping complex, requiring that train riders take a walk to the street and through a pedestrian-unfriendly parking lot to get to the stores.

Memo to RT and outlet mall: Create an opening in the fence and some stairs up to the mall.

The Bus Rider's Holiday
The wife had time for one store while I got a cup of coffee before we decided to head back to the train station.

Now at this point in the tale I need to explain the meaning of assume. That's how, by not checking or asking questions (the male-never-asks-for-direction syndrome), one makes an ass of u and me. Or just me.

When I first mapped out the day I _assumed_ President's Day was a holiday and that buses would be running on the holiday schedule, which meant one every hour. At the Iron Point station I was expecting to catch a train that would arrive at 65th Street a few minutes before the 3:15 p.m. holiday bus for home.

Sure enough we arrived a little after 3 p.m., with time to sit down next to the 82 bus stand, drink coffee and eat snacks. Buses arrived and departed, but not the 82. At 3:30 I finally decided to call 321-BUSS and find out what happened.

"The bus is scheduled to arrive at 3:42 p.m.," the lady told me.

OK. I was not on my best behavior, and I'm sure the RT lady is not paid enough to cover the aggravation of dealing with asses who assume.

The fact that the bus we boarded to in the morning coincidentally arrived near the same time as the holiday schedule had the unfortunate effect of validating my holiday assumption.

I can imagine how inexperienced RT riders (and, in particular, inexperienced male riders who never ask for directions) would see this as a demonstration of the ineptitude of RT and why Sacramento residents will never learn to leave their cars behind.

Personally, I think it just underlines the definition of assume.

The wife enjoyed the day, even with the delayed return. Both of us found the trip to Folsom much more enjoyable for not having to drive, deal with the traffic and parking.

Perhaps we'll do this again.

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