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

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


buss -- n., vt., vi. [Now Chiefly Dial.] kiss, esp. in an unrestrained or playful manner

I had an opportunity to experiment with transit options beyond my regular commute today. I needed to get to an 8:30 a.m. eye exam at Hurley and Fulton. I did a little research at and figured out that I couldn't make it on time, but I could be close enough to make it work.

The 82 line goes to Morse and Hurley, which is just a half-mile walk from Fulton. After the eye exam, I would be able to catch the 26 bus on Fulton, which goes to the 65th Street light rail station. A simple two-bus and light rail trip to work. Not painful at all.

Unfortunately, I didn't know when the eye exam would be over. I knew I wanted to be at Fulton and Hurley before 10 a.m., but I didn't bother to write down the 26 line schedule.

Taking the 82 to Hurley and walking to the eye doctor worked like a charm. The exam lasted an hour and I was at the bus stop on Fulton and Hurley by 9:40 a.m.

It was a good thing I wasn't driving. My eyes were dilated and the spring sun burned. Even the sunglasses the eye doctor's office gave me offered little respite. I was tearing and blinking and trying to squint into the distance in hope of getting a glimpse of the approaching bus.

Nothing but pain and waiting.

A few minutes after I arrived a woman dressed in a nice suit walked up to the bus stop. She spoke with an accent that suggested she was an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. She asked if I knew when the bus was due. I looked at the clock on my cell phone. It was 9:47 a.m. Since I expected the bus to arrive around 10 a.m., I told the lady it would be about 15 minutes.

"15 minutes?" she asked. She sounded disappointed. If so, she must be really new to the area and very unfamiliar with the bus system.

Since I couldn't keep my eyes open to watch for the bus, I decided to call 321-BUSS and ask when the next 26 bus to 65th Street would arrive.

I worked my way through the automated system until I reached the point where I could ask to speak to an operator.

The recording said all of the operators were busy helping others and I would have to wait -- pause to think this over -- 3 minutes.

The 321-BUSS automated system has some of the worst -- really really bad -- hold music. At least I think it was an attempt at music. Mostly all I heard was static.

After waiting four minutes, a man answered the line. I explained that I was at Fulton and Hurley and I wanted to know when the next 26 line bus to the light rail station would be along.

"Which light rail station?" asked the operator.

"65th Street," I said.

There was silence on the line and then the operator returned.

"The next bus will arrive at 10:48," the operator said.

"Ooookaaaay," I said.

It was 9:55 a.m. and the 26 bus was now a half-block away. I considered suggesting to the operator that even in Sacramento Regional Transit's less than perfect bus world, the Fulton line runs every 30 minutes and therefore his answer was nonsensical.

As I boarded the bus, I wondered whether RT's phone operators know that "buss" means kiss. I certainly felt as if I'd been given the kiss-off treatment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.