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May 27th, 2009

Wednesday's buscapade:

There was a lady on the bus this morning of whom I've spoken before, but not enough to name. The most notable thing about her is that she's one of those people who speaks very loudly, which being the ubiquitous bus attribute that it is, doesn't exactly single her out to you, I'm sure.

She did not disappoint this morning, in terms of sheer volume—in at least two of its meaning:

  1. Volume:  ▸ noun:  a relative amount

  2. Volume:  noun:  the magnitude of sound (usually in a specified direction)
With regards to definition number two, the "specified direction" in this case would be toward the bus driver, which to be fair, is one of the reasons she was talking so loudly. People talking to the bus driver tend to talk louder so s/he can hear them over the din of the cacophony of sounds emanating from the bus driver's seat, including: engine noise, air vents and fans, sometimes a creaking seat, and almost always, the two-way radio noting some person needing or doing something or other somewhere else. But I digress...

Back to our girl this morning. She was reflecting on her use of public transportation with the driver, saying that she'd only miss the bus one time due to it not "syncing up" at a designated stop. (I think I've mentioned this before, but there are certain stops where if the bus is ahead of the published schedule, it's supposed to sit there until the published time before moving on, to keep from getting too far ahead of schedule, therefore potentially causing people to miss the bus.)

Then she mused, very slowly, with 3-5 seconds between sentences—talking to the bus driver, but sounding more like she was thinking to herself out loud:

"I like takin' the bus...

I could get a car...

I have a car, actually...

My daddy gave me a Buick."

Then, after a longer pause, as if this detail just occurred to her:

"I just gotta put an engine in it."

And she finished with, "I love takin' the bus, though."

There was a lady and her child sitting to the left of me, the child not as adorable and the mother not as adoring as Madonna and Child, but cute nonetheless. When they got off, the child said to the bus driver, three times while lollygagging at the door, "Good-bye! Good-bye!" and the last one from the ground outside the door, "Good-bye!"

GirlWithoutEngine (there, I've named her) said to the bus driver, "I hear babies say good-bye much more than I hear them say, 'Hey-ay!" She said the word "hey" with two syllables like that, and then repeated it for the bus driver who presumably hadn't heard the first time—or acted like she hadn't.

I heard GWE's final words of wisdom before it was time for me to depart, again about little kids, "When they say good-bye, they really mean, 'See you later.'" I could tell that the bus driver, like myself, didn't really get the profundity of that observation.

Not that any of my observations are high on the profundity scale.



I originally had three meetings today, but one of them got canceled. Well, not exactly got canceled—more like got blown off. I waited for about ten minutes for someone with whom I had an 11:00 meeting, and when they hadn't showed up by then, I left.

The first meeting was a staff meeting of another department, which is always a fun meeting, and today was no exception. What was different about today's meeting was that the manager wasn't even in and the department met anyway.

My afternoon meeting consisted of demonstrating a Web site I created for a project team that I'm on. I got feedback on it that it was good work overall, as well as some good suggestions for improvement. Good stuff.



As I was in the area of my parking spots to my townhouse, a man across the street called out to me, "Hey. Do they pick up the trash tomorrow? I see a couple of trash cans out."

Not being one to usually go up and introduce myself to people in our neighborhood, but friendly if approached, I said, "Yes. They come tomorrow. The recycle collection, too."

"Great. Thanks. So, you just put the cans and bins out here anywhere?"

"Yes," I said, "Most people just put them at the end of their parking spots, closest to the street. And you're supposed to take them back up by the end of the day. There's a $50 fine, but I don't think it's strictly enforced."

He said, "Thanks. I really appreciate knowing that."

"You're welcome," I said as I went inside.

Since he'd reminded me, I went directly through my house, out to my deck, grabbed my trash can and recycle bin, and brought them around front. While walking around, I thought, "You could be a little more welcoming," so when I got around and put my can and bin in my parking spot, I walked across the street and introduced myself.

"Hi," I'm John.

"Brian," he said.

Turns out he recently bought his townhouse and he was fixing it up for his son and two roommates, all of whom are going to State, and who will arrive next week. He joked, "I should give you my phone number in case things ever get out of hand over here, though I don't expect them to."

I told him that the biggest problem we have with renters, and specifically college kids, is respecting the assigned parking spots. If all three of the kids moving into his place have cars, one will have to regularly park in a guest spot, as each unit "comes with" only two parking spots. And, technically, you're not supposed to use a guest spot regularly if you live there, but I don't think that's ever been enforced.

"My advice would be to make sure you tell your son and his roommates that, although it's a pain, every time they have someone over, the first question they should ask them is, 'Did you park in a guest spot?' That'll keep them out of trouble most of the time." People here really don't like their spots being taken, and they'll tow in a heartbeat. (Of course a lot of the "people" part in that previous sentence really means me.)

Brian had some BATs (big-assed tools) and he was evidently doing some cabinetry or wood-working of some kind, and I asked him if he did that for a living. Turns out that he's an engineer with John Deere, and does cabinet, crown-molding, and that kind of work as a hobby.

Before it was all said and done, we ended up exchanging cards. "Better I call you than the police," I joked when he handed me his.



Dancing was fun enough tonight, though by the end of the evening, my knee was not a happy camper. It throbbed all night long, and after tossing and turning for the umpteenth time, at 5:00 I got up, swallowed three Advil, and put the knee brace with the built-in ice pack on for the next two-and-a-half hours.

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