Monday, August 25, 2008

Metro Journal: August 25 We Have A Winner

...For Biggest Total Dumbass.

So, I had to go to the post office this morning to mail my zombie assassin. I had only figured out where the main branch in Glendale was a few months ago, after literally having passed by on a regular basis for years. I went to my regular stop and saw both a 180 or 181 and a 780 stop and then leave before I could cross the street. Crap. Oh, well. Another local came about 5-10 minutes later, and a local was actually better because it would stop closer to the post office.

When we got to the Glendale Blvd stop, over a dozen people were waiting. And, of course, one of the first to get on was this numbskull who had no idea how much the fare was and didn't have his wallet out and must have put every dollar bill he owned through the dryer 90 times. Usually if you have a pass, you can flash it at the driver and get around the machine hog, but the guy behind this machine hog also apparently needed to pay cash. And was about as clueful and prepared as the guy in front of him, and was buying a day pass, which required trying to tease even more bills into the machine.

We were there forever.

The post office was a couple of stops later. It's one of those huge, old fashioned stone buildings with metal grillwork everywhere. It also opens at 8:30, earlier than the one at my bus stop. I got there about 8:35, and.... there was no line at the window! Yay!

I like this post office.

After I left, I walked the three blocks or so to the 780 stop at Brand and Broadway. I sat down to wait. A 181 was there, and a number of people were getting on, so it was stopped for a couple of minutes. Some dumbass therefore decides to make a right turn right in front of it into a parking garage. Except that was the moment the bus put the left signal on to merge into traffic.

You may recall my earlier introduction of Bus Person Car. The only rule is that Bus Always Wins. So, just don't be a dumbass and try to make a right hand turn in front of a stopped bus, because buses generally don't stay stopped long, Bus Always Wins, and even if you don't actually get hit, I tell all my blog readers (all 3 of them) that you're a dumbass. If you do get hit, I tell the police officer who shows up to take statements from witnesses that you're a Total Dumbass, and then I tell my blog readers.

Well, this dumbass didn't get hit. But he really would have deserved it.

I had to wait a bit for the next 780. When it came, Deputy Wiegel was driving! If you've ever watched Reno 911, you too would recognize her, if not just from the face, the first time she started hollering instructions at people. This was maybe the 3rd or 4th time I'd been on her bus.

Walking down the aisle, I found myself... stepping over a golden retriever sitting only halfway under a seat. This scene seemed familiar... After I sat down, I saw the woman over the golden retriever speaking sign language into the hand of the man next to her, who also had a white walking stick in his hand. Then a woman across the aisle got closer and began speaking sign language, although why she had to get closer, I'm not sure. Anyway, long-time readers may remember this dog.

The rest of the trip was not very exciting, although, even though the stop between Central and San Fernando on Los Feliz has been moved to the corner of Central and Los Feliz because of roadwork, and even though they actually posted a sign when the roadwork started noting the stop change, all this over a week ago, there were still confused-looking people standing at the regular, closed stop as we went by. Um, the bus is supposed to, what, drive over the open trench? Stop in the middle of the only open lane while a bunch of people file over the aforementioned open trench?

In spite of all this, a relatively productive weekend and a pleasant post office experience had left me in a reasonably good mood, at least for a Monday morning. Then I got to work, and my relative cheeriness was made asunder by two co-irkers-from-hell. Ugh.

I got out of work later in the evening than usual. I was 90% sure that I had either missed the last DASH, since I got out there the time last DASH was supposed to (but never) came, which does not mean that I missed the last DASH on the schedule; just the last one that generally bothers to stop. So I walked to Western, and just as I got to Western... the northbound DASH appears in the turn lane. Oh, well.

The last stop for the northbound 207 is at the northwest corner of Western and Hollywood, which means that, to get to both the Red Line station and the stop for the eastbound buses (like mine), you have to cross both Hollywood Blvd and Western. This is, quite simply, the Intersection from Hell. It's like a nexus for dumbass drivers. They get drawn there from the far corners of the globe. Well, seriously, it's Hollywood. There are a lot of tourists. That said, I'm pretty sure most of the worst dumbasses are home-grown.

Last Friday, I had crossed Western first, and a lot of us were waiting to cross Hollywood. So, six billion people (yes, almost everyone on the planet) were waiting to cross. The light changes and there were go. Except total dumbass decides to start her left turn. And, of course, impeded by curb-to-curb pedestrians, she had to sit there blocking traffic. Dumbass. And then she parked, yes, parked her car in the bus lane. Asshole. So she could go run into the bank at that corner. Which wasn't going to close for about another two hours. Where is the goddamned tow truck when you need it? I seriously think they should allow cow-catchers on buses so they can butt assholes who stopped their cars in the bus lane. Seriously.

The northbound direction of Western has a protected left-turn lane at Hollywood. I'm not sure about southbound, but there generally isn't nearly as much traffic coming from that direction. At any rate, as we were all getting off the 207 and getting to the intersection, both directions were red for pedestrians. A 757 (those double-long accordion buses) was making a left turn, although I think the light was already mostly changed when it started. Which didn't stop the woman behind it from also turning. And, um, when a double-long bus is in front of you, you don't really have the excuse that you were already in the intersection. The light and walk sign had already changed by this point, so we start walking across Hollywood Blvd. Except, even though the southbound cars on Western have also already started entering the intersection, a major dumbass starts a left turn. He could not have even started moving when the light had turned yellow. So, he blocks the left southbound lane, because cars in the right lane were already in the intersection. And even if they had stopped to let the asshole through, um, hello, people in the intersection here! He couldn't even finish the turn and finally stop blocking traffic until the light had turned.

What a fucking asshole. He therefore wins Biggest Total Dumbass on the Planet!

Except the trip didn't get much better. The 780, when it finally came, was full-to-bursting, even once people had gotten off, and a dozen others were still waiting to get on. I couldn't deal, so I deemed it less painful to wait 15 minutes for the next one that try to get on. Almost as soon as I sat down, a 180 or 181 came. Normally, I might have waited the 15 minutes for the next 780, but I was in a "bird in the hand" mood, and this bus was well under half full. I sat down, stuck my enormous backpack in the seat next to me, and started to work on my squares blanket. (I'm almost done with the squares!) I just couldn't deal with people. I did keep an eye open to make sure the bus wasn't filling up so much that it would require a seat, but that didn't happen until we got well into Glendale. So I stuck the backpack on my lap... and a man carrying a toddler sat down. And apparently the only word the girl could say was, "Daddy!" But she made sure to say it at every pitch and volume at her command. It seems he had gotten on with his wife and slightly older daughter, so when people sitting near them at the front got off, he moved. And then at the next stop, Animal Print Woman got on. I've seen her often on the bus. She is probably nearing 50, her hair is frosted, and she is prone to wearing, yes, animal prints. And she sat next to me. But she also got off at the following stop.

After I got off the bus, I went into the post office to check my box for zombie assassins. Instead, there was only the September issue of Scientific American, which means I am now 3.5 issues behind. As I was walking toward the door, an older man standing in front of the usually-broken stamp machines called out to me, so I walked over. His English wasn't very good; most likely he was Armenian. He held out a $10 bill and pointed to one of the selection samples, I guessed to ask me if that was enough. The stamps he wanted, Liberty Forever Stamps, were $8.40 for the pack, so I nodded. He motioned for me to stay while he fed in the bill. Apparently he needed me to press the buttons - C4. Armenian does actually use a totally different alphabet, you know, and the buttons were so old it was hard for me to make them out. So I pressed the buttons, the machine spit out some stamps and some change, and the man thanked me in at least two languages. I smiled, told him he was welcome, and left. However, his wife was standing outside, and she thanked me, too.

Well, whaddya know.

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