Friday, March 7, 2008

it was 3 in the afternoon by parvay

It was 3 in the afternoon. As always, I sat in the front seat of the Tri-Met bus, going back home. The bus stopped at Walker Road, and an old African American man walked in. He looked sick and tired and I couldn’t help wishing if I could be of some help to him. After a couple of minutes he smiled and he calmly asked the bus driver, who was a white American, to stop at the nearest stop because he had taken the wrong bus home. I looked at the bus driver's face, which now looked cold and unfeeling. He grinned at the gentleman and said, "Don't you know how to read? It's written 4-8, 48 on the front of the damn bus!" The old man then pleaded with the driver to stop the bus so that he could get off; but the bus driver wouldn't stop. I sat there shocked in disbelief -- not knowing what to do or say. In the next moment, the doors opened and as they slammed shut and the old man stepped out, the driver said, "Damn N-s, don't know how to read!" I was so shocked that I couldn't breath. I just wanted to jump out of the bus! When it was my turn to get out, he smiled and I found myself saying, "Thank you!"
After these discussions, I summed up my strength. I vowed to myself that if I ever saw that man again, I would say something back. Today, on the 4th of Feb, I saw him again; this time cursing a high school freshman for not having the tickets ready while entering the bus. This time I didn't care if he was being racist or just plain mean; I stood up, looked at him in the eye, and said in a broken but determined voice, "You have no right to say that!" As soon as I said that, I walked out the door smiling. I had never felt so good my entire life; I felt like a caged bird that was set free. (Parvathy, Beaverton, OR, USA, 2002)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

posted at craigslist

Attention: OHSU-bound Trimet Riders

Date: 2007-04-03, 2:38PM PDT

I have worked at OHSU for 4 years. Most of the time, I get to work on one of the many Trimet "Express" buses that serve OHSU. Obviously, these buses are 95% OHSU employees. It is also obvious that most of these riders NEVER ride the bus except to get to work, as they have no idea how to behave or what to expect on a public transit vehicle.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

- Medical students, you do NOT need your stethoscope on the bus. Hanging it around your neck like some kind of "I got into Med School" medal is not impressive; in fact, you look like the asshole that you most likely are. Your snotty little haircut and brand-new airline-belt-buckle messenger bag serves as confirmation that you are a dickhead/bitchface.

- Middle-aged women with gigantic* asses. Just because a seat remains on the bus, that does not mean that the seat is intended for you. If you lumber on to the bus with your huge purse, a massive lunch cooler and a bouquet of flowers (and did I mention the gigantic ass?) this means that the seat in the back row between the corner and the middle is NOT big enough for you! Do you feel your ass squeezing against the legs of the regular-size people sitting on either side of you? No? Well they do, and that's why they gave you that nasty look.

*Note: a curvey or chubby ass that needs a bit of a squeeze to get into a tiny Trimet seat is perfectly understandable and acceptable. But a gigantic ass is another thing entirely, and you know who you are, ladies!

- The bus driver will stop at EVERY stop. SOMEONE is getting off at EVERY stop on the Hill. You do not need to lean over me and put your disgustingly saggy tits in my face and breath your rancid coffee-and-egg-mcmuffin breath on me in order to ring the bell. Believe me, we'll be stopping at the VA. We do every morning. Every...single...morning.

- Talking in the morning is strongly discouraged. Talking and laughing loudly is prohibited. Do NOT start blabbering loudly with your co-worker. Some of us have exciting and/or scandalous lives outside of OHSU and may or may not have consumed a massive quantity of alcohol last night. Talking in the afternoon is acceptable with the exception of the following topics: how hard your day was, how much you have to do tonight, anything involving your children.

- No bitching about the bus being early. This is PUBLIC transportation. And in fact, as OHSU employees we pay less for it than anyone in town. This is not a car service. Don't start running (waddling?) from 10 blocks away clutching that Starbucks between your meaty claws and expect that we'll be rooting for you. Just take the regular bus downtown, catch the 8, be 10 minutes late and learn from your mistake: you don't have time for that 3rd donut before you leave the house. And by the way, it wasn't early. You were late.

- The bus will be full by the time we start up the Hill. The empty seat next to you is going to be filled. Don't be one of those assholes who thinks her lunch needs a seat all to itself. Don't sit on the outside seat; scoot in and be a person who lives in a society. When someone approaches your seat and is callous enough to suggest that you should share that 2-seater, don't move your legs into the aisle and expect them to scoot in. Either slide in like a regular person, or get up and let them in (even though you have obvious entitlement issues).

- The bus is NOT the place to read the newspaper stretched out to full size. Either learn to fold a newspaper "train style" or wait until later to check your horoscope.

- Rolling your eyes, or sighing, or complaining when a person with a disability gets onto the bus is not only rude and intolerant, its also 100% at odds with the fact that you WORK AT A FUCKING HOSPITAL!

- Enough with the flowers. Its spring, and its actually nice of you to bring flowers to work (assuming they are for someone else...oh, they're for YOUR desk? Fuck you). Some of us are very allergic to flowers, and jamming them into our face for 40 minutes is going to make the rest of the day miserable. Its obvious that no part of your brain triggers the response, "what about other people?" so I'm here to remind you that yes, there are other people on the bus.

- Male nurses in Danskos. You look gay. You might be gay, and that's cool, but know that you most definitely LOOK gay.

- Sometimes, we all have to stand. If you are 40+ and overweight, I will not be relinquishing my seat to you, even though I am 30 and in excellent physical condition. I'm tired too, and I'm fucking sitting down. Don't glare at me because you're too heavy and weak to stand up under your own power for 10 minutes.

See you this afternoon!

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from metroblogging portland

Twice I've been on the 35 Macadam when the driver crossed the Ross Island Bridge, instead of turning right before the bridge to get on highway 43.

On the 10 Harold once a confused bus driver went around and around the Ladd's Addition traffic circle, and after a few laps and explicit and correct directions from passengers still turned onto the wrong street and had to negotiate those narrow streets in a bus; fun! ;-)

Posted by: Dave at January 14, 2008 08:47 PM

OMG that's the biggest screw up I have heard of the driver must have been demoted from MAX to bus cause max only gos in two directions forward and reverse. I'm not a big fan of MAX but at least they don't get lost and I thought that the busses had GPS tracker and a direct raido to the office ie help i'm lost or what are you doing over there.

Posted by: Dodge Ram at January 14, 2008 11:36 PM

I had a similar experience around Christmas when some smart young lad decided to drive his van over a concrete barrier and up on the max tracks. A bus had to take us the last few stops to the airport and the driver didn't really know where to go so a few of us had to sit up front and give her directions.

On the other hand I did learn on that trip that there are a small pool of bus drivers that are on call for when someone can't drive their shift. They are usually the new people as well so I think this probably leads to a lot of the lost bus driver stories.

Posted by: Derek at January 15, 2008 07:22 AM

sounds like someone needs a Garmin!

Posted by: McAngryPants at January 15, 2008 08:00 AM

Crazy. This happened to me recently on the #4 when the drive failed to turn right from Interstate to Denver. I just recently started riding buses again, though I grew up in NE and took buses all through high school, then college, then when I moved back to PDX in the mid-90s. I *never* witnessed a driver getting lost. I wonder what's happened to their training program. I would think there would be some kind of cheat sheet or a GPS.

Posted by: thisKat at January 16, 2008 09:12 PM