Tickets and Toothaches

Tickets and Toothaches

Trimet has increased fare inspectors recently and these uniformed inspectors seem to be a common site on my morning commute.

Just after boarding the Max train a couple of fare inspectors stepped into the car, they checked a number passengers for passes and then quickly exited the train.

A woman sitting across from me heaved a sigh of relief.  “That was close”, she said to no one in particular, and then shared, “I don’t have a pass”.

I warned her that the fine for riding without a pass is pretty high.

I know”, she replied.  “I’m on my way to the dentist.  I’ve got a bad toothache and I think they can pull it today”, she rubbed her jaw, “I just need to get there in time”.

I thought that dealing with the dentist was a tough enough way to start the day.  No one needs a ticket on the same day they get a tooth pulled.  I reached in my bag, found a ticket and handed it across the isle to this woman.

She smiled broadly, still holding her jaw, and said, “thank you” at least three times before tucking the ticket into her purse for the ride home.


Reading & Riding

One thing I enjoy about the bus is the time it affords me to read.  In those 30 minutes or so on my way to and from work I’ve finished many a novel.Every time I am on the bus I see others reading.  Just this past week in the morning on bus line 75 I saw:

  • A man in a suit reading Carpenter’s Gothic by William Gaddis
  • A day-laborer reading the daily Oregonian
  • A 20-something fellow in torn jeans and a hoodie reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • A young woman, she seemed high school age, reading O. Henry’s Roads of Destiny  which you can read for free here through the Project Gutenberg
  • A few people Reading the Willamette Weekly,Portland’s free weekly paper
  • A woman on her way to the office reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, which has been on my nightstand to read for more than a few months

Sock It To Me

Sock It To Me

It was a grey morning and I was listening to music and waiting for the Max train.

I tend not to listen to music while riding transit.  Generally I’d much rather talk with or listen to other riders, but I was feeling a bit grumpy this particular morning and was hoping some Franz Ferdinan would help.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw him.

It was hard not to notice his socks.  Not just because of the bright orange and yellow stripes but because his socks were in such contrast to the dark cut-off Dickies and grey flannel he wore and his shaved head and tattooed limbs.

We both boarded the same train.

I turned off my music, took off my headphones and tapped him on the shoulder.  “I just have to tell you that I really like your socks”, I said to him.

His face lit up.

He told me that he had knit the socks he was wearing.

In fact, he shared, he was on his way to Sock Summit  at the Oregon Convention Center that morning to buy yarn and check out a few of the knitting workshops.

I asked more about his knitting and learned that he had taught himself to knit watching a Youtube video.

He recommended a beginning kitting book for me and I told him what stop to take to get to the convention center.

I hopped off the train no longer feeling grumpy!

Give ‘em Some Space

I was a bit miffed when I noticed that two teenage boys had managed to take up five seats in the back of the bus.  Their too-long arms and legs all akimbo and their back-packs and skateboards set on the seats surrounding them.

Several people on the bus were standing.

I was tempted to say something to these fellows about making room for others. As I pondered if I should say something  I overheard a portion of their conversation.

One of the teens said to his friend, “Sure she’s hot but I like girls who you can have a philosophical conversation with”

Then, after an affirmative murmur from the friend, he went on to share,I really want to start hanging out with Stacy.  She makes me laugh. I mean, like, she’s funny, you know. We laugh.  I like that”.

And I thought that these boys might just need this bit of space right now to work out who they are.

Fellow Travelers

Fellow Travelers

I started this blog to share the sometimes amazing, often unusual, but generally wonderful experiences I have on public transit.

I am a big fan of public transit, not only because it is cost effective but because riding transit is a great way to connect with others.

In sharing this blog with friends and on Twitter (you can follow me @Sallyreb, where I tweet about non-transit related things too) I have connected with others who enjoy sharing transit stories.

Here are a few fellow travelers:

TriMet Diaries shares amusing, amazing, and horrifying tales gleaned by riding public transit in the in and around Portland, Oregon.  Individuals can submit their transit stories to be shared on this blog. TriMet Diaries was inspired by Muni Diaries (see below).  Find them on Twitter @TrimetDiaries

Muni Diaries  is a San Francisco based blog put together by a “ragtag group” who love to share stories, both the good and the bad,  centered around the public-transit system of San Francisco. Like TriMet Diaries, Muni Diaries invites individuals to participate in the storytelling.  Find them on Twitter @munidiaries 

The Sprocket Podcast  is the collective effort of Brock Dittus and Brandon Rhodes. Enjoy their posts and pod casts about a range of topics, including bicycles and alternative transportation, food and drink, and camping and travel, all with a focus on thinking locally with a global perspective.  They also like hearing stories from readers.

PortlandAfoot a not-for-profit project “by and for the ordinary people of Portland”,  publishes a low-cost monthly newsmagazine, “the shortest magazine you’ll ever love”,  that shares news on buses, bikes & low-car life for Portlanders.  Find them on Twitter @PortlandAfoot

And here are a few more transit related Twitter folk I enjoy following:

  • @DaveKnowsPDX is an editor at TriMet Diaries and a source of info on all things Portland
  • @mile73 is an editor at TriMet Diaries and is now sharing news from Astoria, Oregon
  • @CCTgirl is busy making the case for transit in Atlanta
  • @trimet is the transit system in Portland

Feel free to share other transit related blogs or Twitter users so we can connect.

My Fortune

My Fortune

I climbed aboard the bus, making my way toward a set of empty seats in the back.  I was grateful to find an open spot on a bus that is often crowded.

There, on the seat I noticed two slips of paper.

“A bold and dashing adventure is in your future within the year”

“You will enjoy doing something different this coming weekend”

I like to imagine the rider befor had left these fortunes for me.

A Sign

A Sign

I always enjoy gazing out the window as the bus passes through different parts of the city, houses and storefronts making up my view.

After an evening out I caught a bus I do not normally take in order to make my way home. Looking forward to seeing a new part of town, I found a seat by the window.  Passing through a business section I saw a sign in a storefront window and delighted in the message.





It was an oddly cold summer morning, gray skies and no promise of sun.  Not wanting to completely abandon summer dress, but knowing that I had to stay warm, I chose to wear a favorite short-sleeve velour turtleneck, a top that balanced summer dress with a bit of added warmth.

I boarded the train and found a seat in front of a mother juggling multiple bags and two elementary-school aged boys, both of whom seemed to be excited about riding the train.  I opened my book and began the short trip to work.

And then, I felt it.  A gentle finger slowly stroking the back of my velour turtleneck.



And a third time

I sat quiet and still while that small hand reached out and felt the fabric of my cotton-poly blend sweater.  For me this gentle pet was a soft welcome to the day.

And then the train slowed, the mother announced, “This is our stop”, and then the family was gone.