Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Metro Journal: May 20 National Convert-A-Heathen Month

Even though the stop kitty-corner from my closest 780 stop is still closed for the road construction, most drivers have been letting us off a little further down the block, before they close off the right lane, rather than make us ride a couple more blocks until the next stop. Those entire 2 blocks are also under construction, so it's not like the bus can just stop past the intersection. This morning's driver didn't, though. There was an elderly Armenian couple on the bus, and when the driver didn't open the doors when we were stopped at the light (so we could, what, walk through the pile of gravel to get to the sidewalk?), the woman started making plaintive noises at her husband which, because of their pitch and the way she was dragging out the vowels, reminded me for all the world of Beaker from the Muppets. The husband responded to her complaints by pulling the cord half a dozen more times. I have no idea how that was supposed to be effective. Anyway, we were forced to get off a couple blocks down the street.

The crosswalk sign was red for the light that was green, but the husband just immediately started crossing. More noises from the woman. He was the only one who crossed, so he had to wait an entire light cycle for each direction for his wife to join him.

On the 780, at one stop a woman poked her head in the door to ask the driver if the bus stopped at Hollywood & Highland. It did, so she herded a young woman on the bus, explaining to the driver that the woman needed to get off at Hollywood & Highland but didn't speak any English. Of course, that last fact didn't prevent the woman making travel arrangements for her from reminding her in English that when she came back she had to take the Rapid. Highland is the stop after Vine, so I have no idea if she did in fact get off at the right stop.

By the time the bus got to Hollywood and Western, I was cutting it pretty close for the DASH at Hollywood and Vine, but I just didn't feel like going down to Melrose and Western and then either walking half a mile or waiting for another bus, so I risked it. And cursed every red light between Western and Vine. I did make the DASH but literally with a minute to spare.

Oddly enough, I was the only person on the DASH when it left. The driver told me my eyes are the same color as his baby daughter's. I've ridden during his shift enough times that he knows I work at . He tells me he'd like to work there, maybe building stuff. I said I have no idea how that works, although I think it's a union thing. We also talked about how unreliable a paycheck that kind of thing is, as shown by the tons of crew people who didn't have work when the writer's strike shut down production.


I got out of work just before 7. Two co-workers and I had gone to an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ place for lunch, and I think we all ate more than all we could eat. It was also one of those places with the grill built into the table, and apparently our technique was lacking as one of the employees came to help us out moving meat around for a couple minutes. In the end it also took us a long time to eat more than all we could eat. At any rate, I got to the stop a few minutes before the eastbound 10 was supposed to be there, but I was almost 10 minutes and no sign of it. I wasn't sure if I had just missed it or what, but even though the sun was still visible, it was sinking fast. I got cranky and just start walking toward Western, poking my head out at each bus stop. 3 stops later, the 10 appeared.

The 207 showed at the Western stop before the 757, so everyone waiting walked up to the 207 stop. Just as it was about to open its doors, the 757 appears on the other side of the intersection. The 207 looks kind of full, so I go back to the 757 stop. Another motivation for doing that comes from the fact that most of the 757 buses are much newer than the old locals. I always thought my butt had adequate padding, but after sitting on several seats that were so old that the foam had been compressed into mush, I will opt for newer seats.

The 757 is a Rapid, so it only stops at major intersections. A woman somewhere behind me on the bus was having a loud conversation with someone else about how her stop was coming up... oh, we didn't stop. I'm not sure if she knew she was on a Rapid or what the difference was or maybe was just the type to get on whatever bus opened its doors in front of her. The woman had already come up to the door next to me and when we stopped at a light at Santa Monica and the driver didn't open the doors, she called out asking if he's going to stop. "What happens is, when we get to the stop, I will open the doors and then you can get out."

The 757 stop is kitty-corner from the 780 stop. When I got to the other side of Western, someone tried to hand me yet another religious handout. I said no thank you, and he said, "Ok, God bless you then. Jesus loves you." Except there were more of them on the other side of Hollywood Blvd. I artfully dodged the one who was eying me, though. Seriously, is it National Convert-A-Heathen Month or something?

I only had to wait a couple minutes for the 780. While it was only an hour later than I usually ride, not only was it fairly close to empty, but after the Riverside stop there were only three passengers. Then after the stop at the Americana (this brand-new foofy don't-call-me-a-shopping-mall complex with foofy, higher-end stores, adjoining the Glendale Galleria) we were down to two. The other passenger got off at the next stop but someone took her place. When I got off at my stop, she was the only person left.

In the meantime, Transit TV had a blurb about how rapper DMX was accused of trying to dodge a hospital bill by using a fake name. Now, does that mean he did or did not give his name as "DMX?"

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