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, June 13, 2009

Second Saturday on the bus

It's been awhile. It was nice. Well, it was a little scary on the way home, but, hey, as I told our friends, it's just something you sign up for when you become a transitarian.

The wife and I made a date with friends to meet at Chicago Fire Pizza in Midtown tonight at 5 p.m. We boarded the No. 82 for the ride to Sacramento State, where we caught the No. 30 to Midtown. Just like old times. I miss my old commute.

I also miss the free ride I get for taking a class or two at American River College. The student pass ends in May and the next one won't be available until after Aug. 5. I bought a daily pass, although that was gift of 50 cents to RT. The fare each way was $2.75.

I took my Kindle and the wife read her book. It sure beat dealing with traffic or looking for parking in Midtown.

At Chicago Fire our table of four ended up between two separate large CSUS graduation parties. Needless to say we had to wait until after dinner to chat.

We love the crowds and enjoyed walking around, but as 8 p.m. approached I was worried that our blue and gold carriage would turn into a pumpkin before we made it home. When I looked at the schedule for our return trip I figured the No. 30 leaving Midtown just before 8 p.m. would have plenty of time to meet the No. 82 leaving SacState at 8:18. Of course, I completely forgot about the traffic on J Street on Second Saturday. As the wife and I waited for the bus I kept looking in the distance for a sign of the bus and then at the clock on my cellphone. If we miss the No. 82 at 8:18, I explained to our friends, it will be 9:18 before the next No. 82 leaves SacState. They offered to give us a ride home, but the wife explained that there was no need. This is just what you do when you rely on the bus. We at least volunteer. For a lot of others, it's just how it is.

The bus finally arrived about 10 minutes late. We said our goodbyes and boarded. I asked the driver if he could get the No.82 to wait for us. I've been in the position before and I've had the driver call dispatch and send word to the other bus to wait. But this driver figured there was a chance he might actually get to SacState on time and -- thanks to a masterful job of catching a series of yellow lights and the good fortune of having just a couple of people to pick up or drop off -- we made it there with a minute or two to spare.

On the ride home from SacState, the wife and I took a seat near the front and went back to reading. A half-hour later I was engrossed in my Kindle when a woman got up from her seat and walked over and asked in accented English, "Where did you get that hat?" I was wearing my Ubuntu Linux hat and I told her I bought it online at the Ubuntu shop. I explained that Ubuntu was a variety of Linux, an operating system. I was about to explain the difference between Linux and Windows when the wife interrupted my geek babble to explain to the woman that it was something to do with computers. She smiled and explained that she was Zulu and was surprised to see my hat. "It means ..." she paused to translate and then said, "Humanity" and smiled. "Yes," I agreed, and smiled in return. I wanted to tell her Ubuntu's slogan is "Linux for human beings," but figured that probably wasn't going to be helpful.

The woman went back to her seat and a couple of stops later left the bus. Riding on, heading for home, I considered what a surprise it must have been for a Zulu woman riding a bus in Sacramento to come across a guy with a hat emblazoned with "Humanity" on his head.


Mattie said...

Oh for goodness' sake. I am such a dork. If I'd just glanced at the couple who got off the 30 and sat next to me on the bench at Sac State, waiting for that 8:18 82, I probably would've recognized you!

I got off during that interminable pit stop at Kaiser. I've never figured out if I should wait for the bus to turn onto Cottage or just hop off at Kaiser. I walk west on Cottage so it doesn't seem to matter, time-wise.

You made good time on your 30. My 30 was fifteen minutes late so I missed the 87 by a minute or two, which was why I was sitting there, watching the high school football players march by, waiting for the 82.

Well, nice to meet you, sort of!

John said...

Wow! What a small world. I guess I don't look as much like a Simpson's character as I thought.