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

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Day 2 and the riding is easy

Left the door at 8:31 a.m. and the bus was on the mark at 8:39 a.m. Another month or so and maybe I'll lose a little of the panic that grips me whenever I'm getting ready to leave. Arrived at my desk at 9:34 a.m. I left for the evening at 6:26 p.m. and I was walking around the corner from Q Street onto 23rd Street when I heard the train crossing gates begin to chime. I dashed down the street toward the station unable to tell whether it was my train or the one going downtown. More unnecessary panic. It was train downtown. I arrived home at 7:40.

The book reading is going well. In the first two days I've managed 120 pages of John le Carre's "The Mission Song." If I keep going at this pace I may end up spending more on books than I save on gas.

I'm finding the people watching fun. My bus runs from American River College to Sac State and then on to the 65th Street light rail station. On both days, we dropped off a half-dozen young students and one elderly person at Sac State -- a man Thursday, a woman Friday. Odd coincidence. The bus ride home picked up five young men at Sac State who appeared to be South Asian -- Indian, Pakistani; don't have enough experience with the language to tell -- but obviously on their way for a Friday night out.

In my years of editing letters, I would regularly receive complaints about the peril of riding light rail. The danger, invariably, was a rider with obvious mental health issues. I had my first experience with that on the trip home.

When I got on the train at 23rd Street I took a vacant seat in the middle of the car, across from a guy seated by himself. I got my book out and started to read when I heard the guy cursing, saying, " Jews, Jews, F...king Jews, Jews." He didn't appear to be addressing anyone on the train. I've seen guys (and gals) like this before, barking at the moon (which was full tonight). He was about my age, maybe a tad older. He had very thick glasses and wore a dark brown Gap ball cap. His clothes were clean and appropriate for the weather. I would be willing to bet he wasn't homeless. After his outburst subsided, he continued to mumble while his left hand fidgeted with something inside his coat. I had images of mad bombers as I watched him out the corner of my eye. When the 59th Street station was announced he got up and walked away from the door in front of him and instead stood next to the door closer to the front of the car. But when the train stopped he sat down. All very odd, but all part of the joys of riding transit in Sacramento.

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