Monday, September 24, 2007

A Bus Story of Unpleasantry

I took the 8 to Lutherville home this afternoon, following my 2 o'clock class, to rush to my computer and finish my homework. As the bus lumbered up York Road toward Towson Town Center, the fire extinguisher slid from behind the bus driver's seat, landing on an elderly woman's foot and rolling toward the doors as the bus slowed to a stop.
The woman's mouth opened in anguish as she began to silently howl in pain. The bus driver scolded her for not picking up the extinguisher, and as it rolled toward her, motivated from the lurching bus, she bent over. Unable to scoop the extinguisher in her arms, she reported that it was too heavy, and the bus driver sighed. She quietly told him that it fell on her foot and she thought she was hurt, but he ignored her.
I was sitting next to a woman the same age, who also wielded a cane. Under her breath she muttered, "PICK THE DAMNED THING UP." Her aggressive stance made me nervous; when her stop approached I launched myself into an entirely new row of seats instead of taking her window seat when she left.
The next passenger to get on was an adult in his 30s; he spent the next ten minutes propping the extinguisher in various ways that would encourage the object to stay put. Among the twenty or so passengers, he was the only one who believed her. It was if we were the only ones who noticed her clear plastic bag labeled PATIENT BELONGINGS in one hand and the large wooden cane in the other. He stood near her when he completed the valiant task, making small talk and wishing her well until he reached his stop, at which point he exited the bus and disappeared.
That was the moment I catapulted forward, making my best attempt at landing gracefully in the seat, crossing my legs, and burying my interests into last week's Rolling Stone. (I think Kanye and 50 Cent are behaving a little immaturely.)
My former seat mate exited through the front, lightly swatting me with her cane as she left. An elderly man entered after her exit, and began to talk to me from across the aisle in a volley of slurred noises and grunt. He gestured with his mouth wildly, all the while leering at me. When I finally reached my stop, he waved goodbye emphatically.
It's always good to know that the weak and elderly don't stand a chance.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BEST OF...

Baltimore's City Paper named the city's bus line's Best Cheap Entertainment. They also named the 40 the Best Bus Line. At one point it's even called "fabulous." The paper also named the MTA hotline for its excellent service and awarded Flexcar as Best New Transportation Service.

If only Flexcar was nearish to me. But I go to a school that is desperate for parking, so having Flexcar here would be a waste and a shame, no? Especially when it is serviced by--minimum--three different bus lines. I can get here on the 8, 11, and 55! That

I do think it's somewhat appropriate that the hotline is awarded--I call on a regular basis for assistance and often receive friendly, amicable, helpful, and respectful service. Considering that I'm usually cranky that I couldn't figure out the route on my own, it's impressive that anyone would map out a route for me. I love the hotline because they're open before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m.--and I'm lucky to speak to a customer service representative anywhere else between noon and 4 p.m.!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Eurostar Sets New Record

Eurostar, a European train that transports passengers from the United Kingdom to Paris, Lille, and Brussels, set a new speed record today during its inaugural run from London to Paris on its £5.8 billion 68 mile track. Of course the cheapest ticket on this route is $67-$72 (youths under 25 are $40-$53 and seniors 60+ are $67) the route does not lend to commuting but it is exciting that the estimated time to travel is approximately two hours and fifteen minutes.
As a source of comparison, my commute today from work was one hour and forty-five minutes; I took the train from the city to the bus, which dropped me off at the edge of my campus. Driving this distance (which is not separated by a large body of water) is twenty minutes with moderate traffic. To make things fair, a day pass for this excursion is $3.50.