3/1a coach 4153
At Taylor N/N Howe a lady asks how close I get to 36 N/N Stone Way. Apparently Customer Service told her to take the #3 when they should have told her to take the 16. *cough*. After some thought and another passenger's suggestion, I transfer her to the #13 at Queen Anne/McGraw with instructions to take the #13 to the end of the line and change to the #31. She's dubious at best, but enough reality sinks in that she realizes that I really am not going to take her to 36/Stone. She's upset and (of course) has an important meeting to go to. (On Xmas Eve?).
Semi-alert readers might note that she could walk 3 blocks to Aurora Ave to catch the #16. Really alert readers will recall that that would be 3 blocks straight down a 100-foot cliff, then a sprint across six lanes of traffic and a jersey barrier.
Traffic is generally light, the PM "Rush Hour" happened from about 12 to 3 pm. By 5:00 it was pretty dead, even on QA Hill. The coordinator had to put out a call warning operators against early operation.
At the #3 terminal, 1 Ave W/W Raye St, I was sitting in the back of the bus reading and someone honked. I saw a car stopped on my left quarter. Someone was waving from the passenger seat. It was Santa Claus. I waved back and they drove on.
At Harborview today, I saw parked on the street an old Cadillac with the license plate GOV-ADR. Really, really alert readers will know this car as belonging to Albert D Rosellini, Governor of Washington from 1957 to 1965. Somewhere there is a famous picture of him giving a whole ham to Elvis Presley during the 1962 World's Fair. Bonus points to anyone who can provide a link.
3/5 (sunday schedule) coach 4130
First trip out, the coffee shops are all closed. Sigh.
As fine a sunrise as you'd ever seen today, rosy fingers of dawn and a virga so fine and so subtle that John Denver is up in Heaven rewriting Rocky Mountain High. To cap it all, just as the sun peaks over the horizon, a thin rainbow appears in the northwest twilight. It's enough to make a man cry, and I nearly do.
I make an announcement over the microphone (like, see the rainbow on the left?) but the only response I get is fixed gaze and slience.
At 3/Union, just as the signal turned green, a man knocks on the door. It's xmas, so I let him on. He sits down and loudly demands the heat be turned up. This isn't the warmest bus in the yard, and I tell him it's as up as it gets. He then demands that I shut off the blowers. I do that.
For the record: I had the xmas spirit this year from 8:02 am to 8:21 am.
It's enough to make a man commit homicide, and I nearly did.
If the world is divided into winners and losers, then most of the people on the bus on xmas morning aren't winners. There are any number of regular people, of course, going to work or going to a visit with family. In fact, my wife took the bus to her mother's this morning (we only have one car, and I took it to work. I'll use it later to haul the loot over.) Anyway, there are also any number of people whom we may not label losers lest some social democrat accuse us of classist elitism. (Dear Social Democrat: Park the Lexus and ride the #4 some morning on food bank day. I dare ya.)
After ol' loud-n-ugly is done shouting about the heat, he's mostly quiet except for the occasional greeting of "Morgen!" to passengers who probably speak less German than he does. He gets off at QA/Boston. I stop there and tell the other two daytrippers that we'll be there a few minutes. I go into the Tully's, hit the head and get in line for (finally!) a latte. Loudmouth is three people ahead of me in line waiting for an americano and being overly friendly to the poor captive waitstaff. He asks their names (which are on their tags) but doesn't give his own.
I take my coffee back out to the bus 7 minutes later. One of the daytrippers that got off earlier gets back on and rides around the Sunday loop through the 3 and 4 terminals, waiting out the 5 minute pause I take at the 3 terminal, waiting for time. Loudmouth gets back on at QA/Boston inbound, but the coffee has calmed him down. Or he decided he was being an ass, I dunno. He got off at 3/James, and I felt a lot better.
Madrona Deli was open (yay!), so I go to the bathroom there, too. I get an apple juice and chat a bit with the counter guy. He's had a pretty dead morning, too and we speculate about whether it'll pick up. I tell him I'll be back in 4-1/2 hours and I'll let him know. I eat my turkey sub and apple juice and listen to KIXI, the easy listening AM station. Not sure why. Probably because of an uncle of mine who always played KXL on xmas in Portland. It just seems right. It's almost enough to make a man maudlin, and I nearly am
--The eighty-eight hours of Christmas from AM 880 KIXI --
(heard on the radio...I thought it was silly)
Lots of wind today. The scaffolding at 3/Pike blew over. Again. Also some construction fencing in Madrona. I'm not a big fan of wind in general, but a nice hearty squall makes me happy. If I don't have to endure it myself :-)
My trip through downtown (10:35 at James thru 10:40 at Pike) is dead. Up until I get to Pike St, I only have two passengers, homeless men heading for the shelter at 3/Virginia. It's dead enough to put a man to sleep, and I nearly do.
My friend delores gave me a copy of the Visual Guide to Lock Picking. You may shudder. Very interesting reading, when I'm done taking notes.
I declined to kill a man today. I could have. I don't think I would have liked it much, thought. He stepped off the curb 1/4 second after my light turned green. I moved a whole inch with him in front of me. He didn't even notice. It's enough to make a man sigh, and I nearly do.
Christmas Day is a great day for a storm. No one is around to pick up the little messes the wind makes. The city sent a crew to rope off that fallen scaffold downtown, but that's about it. The whole city is trashed.
At about 1130, the folks start heading over the river and through the streets to grandma's house. More people on the bus now, and a little more exuberance than the morning. Traffic is heavier, at least away from downtown.
I think that by noon, we've had enough wind and rain to call the weather the "christmas day storm" although we're not to the level of the Inauguration Day Storm (1995) and certainly not to the level of the Columbus Day Storm (1962) which is still talked about 40 years later. (Many people even remember it. I don't, though, I was dead at the time).
Side note: It's not true that bus drivers hate people in wheelchairs. We just wish God would get off His Ass and heal these folks.
After the trip of exuberance, we're back to blessed quietitude.
The counter person at Madrona Deli says he had a rush at about noon-1 pm, which pretty well corresponds with my rush. A customer in the store claims "Thursday week I have my kidney out. I'm 74 years old. So what? If I die, so what? We all suffer from the same fatal affliction: life."
All day I got this subtle recognition from a certain group of people. It was a subtlety of look and voice. It said "I see you're working Christmas, too."
Handed out 16 transfers.
2/5vt coach 4120.
Nuthin. Quiet. Sleepy.
2/1vt coach 4172
A caster comes loose from atop one of the passenger doors; now the door doesn't quite open or close correctly. A shop truck is promised, but a coach change is delivered. Apparently you have to take the door completely off to fix this. The nice lady bringing out the coach says she's seen this on other coaches. Someone has forgotten to tighten these things up after taking delivery from the factory.
New coach: 3428
Lots of people are going up QA Hill. I think one of the churches is handing out hot meals. The smell wafts around the coach and I'm drooling. I satisfy myself with a small bag of Ritz Bits Sandwiches (cheese flavor).
A group of Japanese girls get on the bus, and ask if I go to Queen Anne Hill. I do and they get on. A few minutes later, one of them asks me to tell her when we get there. I try to pin down just where she wants to go, but communication breaks down. She comes back with a tour book, written in Japanese, but with pictures. She wants to go to where she can see *that* view, and points at a pic. Luckily for her, I identify that view as "Standard Seattle Postcard Pic #1 -- Kerry Park." Another four satisfied customers.
3/5 coach 4158
*Shrug*. Quiet. Read a lot.
Saw Ian and Sibyl walking around at QA/Boston.
3/5 coach 4131
Finally a weekday 3/5 that I'm not constantly late and busting my ass on. Hope I remember it.
On one trip down James St, at 8 Ave, a disabled man gets off at the back of the bus, most laboriously. Then he hobbles to the front of the bus and asks me where I'm going. I tell him and he gets back on, again most laboriously. This little procedure costs me about 3 minutes. I have to help him out of his seat when he gets off at 3/Pike.