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A rush of buscapades this morning:

  • This is the first time, since I've been riding the bus for seven months, that another person at my stop in the morning was smoking a cigarette while waiting for the bus. I stood about 20 feet from him.

  • Just as the bus pulled away from my stop, two college kids were walking toward the nearby park on Kaplan Street with Frisbees in their hands, and I thought, "Who plays Disc Golf at 8:00 in the morning?" Thin people, I noted.

  • At the next stop, a lady was waiting—and as she usually does whenever we're riding at the same time and I see her—she began crushing out her cigarette when she saw the bus coming. Sometimes it's on the back of the bench that's at this stop. Sometimes it's on the bottom of her shoe. And sometimes it's on the pole holding the bus stop sign. She got on the bus holding her un-lidded, steaming coffee, and took a seat under the, "There's no drinking, eating, smoking, or profanity on the CAT bus" sign. The bus driver said, clearly working her, "And where's my cup of coffee, sugar?" And I thought he was going to tell her she couldn't drink on the bus. Just as she sat down, she dropped the stub of the cigarette she had extinguished before getting on the bus (she never wastes any of her cigs), promptly picked it up off the bus floor, and stowed it away in the pocket of her backpack that is made to hold cellphones. I thought of one of the classic lines from Sordid Lives, "You eat with that mouth, too?"

  • Pulling away from this stop, there was an Asian man, I'd guess in his late 30s, early 40s, walking on the sidewalk pushing an empty stroller. Several people did a double-take, craning their necks to confirm that yes, it was indeed empty, and I wondered, "Did you lose the baby?" or "Did someone steal it?"

  • A young person—a female college student I would guess—sitting in front of me, was reading Gone With The Wind. Who says kids don't read any more? And classics at that.

  • A couple of stops further along, and "the phone lady" got on. It's been a while since we've ridden at the same time. She, of course, had her cell phone glued to her ear, was talking when she got on, talked while putting in her fare, talked walking down the aisle taking a seat four rows back and on the other side of the bus from me, and talked the entire way to my stop, all at a volume loud enough for me to hear every word she said, some of which was: "I went to his house. He's very open to suggestions, so that's good. I wrote the introduction and the ending. He wrote the middle. He likes capitalizing stuff..." The only thing worse than helping someone cheat is bragging about helping someone cheat and criticizing your co-conspirator.

  • On Gorman Street, getting close to Hillsborough, we passed a white woman on her morning jog, steamrolling a double-stroller in front of her. I looked to see if maybe she had an Asian baby in one of the seats.

I love this blog entry by my friend GinnyFromTheBlog: Nine Simple Things You Can Do to Make Yourself (and Strangers) Smile More. I do five out of nine on a regular basis. And I smile a lot. Go figure.

An affirmation from Jay, who Joe and I met while down in Key West. He's the one we met at the bar, and he followed me on Twitter, so I could follow him back once I got online. I really didn't expect him to read my blog, much less like it, so it made my day.

jrietherjriether@nematome LOVE your blog. Don't ever change. ;-)

My day started off with a great one-hour meeting with two colleagues who work in an entirely different group from me, but in the same overall organization that I work in.

I worked with Verna and Ciearro to devise some content for some of their web pages. Very productive, and fun, which is always a bonus.

As a total, complete aside, I wish Ciearro's first name had a "u" in it to cover all five vowels. Oh well, at least he has a "u" in his last name.

An affirmation via Twitter by my friend Abby, who is a singer (among a gazillion other talents). I saw that she was performing the Verdi Requiem in a concert, and tweeted to her that I would have gone if I didn't have a prior commitment this evening (see next item). And the reason I'd've gone was because the Verdi Requiem is one of the two CDs slated for my memorial service. She tweeted this back:

Abbyabbyladybug@nematome If it helps, I'm on this: http://tr.im/k4Cr. Maybe I can sing along for you some time - hopefully while you're still alive!!

That is the exact CD that I own! Freaky!

Today was my dad's birthday. I checked in with him by phone at around 6:00PM. He sounded really good and was in good spirits. Mom had gone to Bingo. Life is good.

Tonight 12 people that I work with, and I, volunteered to be "servers" at tonight's night of NC State's Night Owl event that they do at the end of each semester during exam week. The dining hall opens from 9PM until 11PM, and the staff (of the University, not of the Dining Hall) volunteers to serve the students food in the cafeteria-style serving lines. There is also some kind of entertainment going on each night as well.

I ended up being the greeter at the door, where I gave each person entering a half of a numbered ticket saying, "We're drawing free prizes every 15 minutes. Good luck on your exams."

Whenever a group of two, three, or four came in together, I asked, "So is anyone done?" A couple of times there was one of the group that was, and I gave them a high five and said congratulations. After about the third one of those, I had this sudden thought, "OMG. I wonder if these kids still do high-fives. Maybe I should be doing the Obama bump or something else!"

Oh well, they all did it back, even if they might have been thinking, "A high-five? Okay, let's humor the old man."

Here I am greeting a student:

Here's my boss, Jude, nonchalantly watching some toast burn. The smoke doesn't show up very well, so there was actually more than it looks like:

This is my boss's boss, Stan, working the line:


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
Singing For You
I'm warming up for you now!
May. 1st, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
Re: Doh!
That sounds GREAT! It's nice to know things are all in place. :-) [I'm glad you're my friend, Abby!] Thanks for reading and commenting!
May. 1st, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
"I went to his house. He's very open to suggestions, so that's good. I wrote the introduction and the ending. He wrote the middle. He likes capitalizing stuff..."

And here I was thinking... "Wow, kinky -- wonder what 'capitalizing' is code for" :)
May. 1st, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
HA! FWIW, she was on the bus this morning, not on the phone, but sitting real suggestively with a red pen behind her ear. Kinky, indeed! :-)

Getting excited about your visit. I hope you are!

Thanks for reading and commenting.
May. 1st, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
Afirmophile :)
I was thinking of you today, as I drove along, listening to an audiobook. And now, reading your latest entry, I'm delighted to see how things so often tie together, as your daily attention to detail reinforces what I was listening to earlier... {For further discussion, get my email from that superdarling Joe.}

[Aside: A question that popped into my head when we were talking on the sunset deck -- What is the -phile word for love of writing / written word? Surely there is a Greek word to describe this fixation. It's not bibliophile (books) or logophile (words), but somewhere in between... I'm counting on you!]

And, oh my word, sweet "new" twitterpic.

May. 2nd, 2009 01:43 am (UTC)
Re: Afirmophile :)
Dang! I can find no such word. I would think if it were Greek, it would have "graph" in it somewhere.

SO delighted to hear from you. Please feel free to comment as often as you like. I read some of your Notes on FB... loved the massage story! :-)

I must get the email from Joe to see what you're talking about at the beginning of your comment.

And with regards to the end of it, did you mean to include a link to a twitterpic? Who are you on Twitter anyway? I'm @nematome.

Edited at 2009-05-02 01:44 am (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2009 10:57 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday to your Dad...How many wonderful years?

May. 2nd, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
Re: Happy Birthday
Thanks, Brender. Dad turned 78 this year.
May. 3rd, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
HOMOphones and HOMOnyms...that's a lot of HOMOS!
Lexophilia is the love of words. The term, a neologism and unofficial word of the English language, derives from two Greek words – lexis, a derivative of the Greek logos meaning "word," and philia, meaning "friendship" or "fondness."

Lexophiles, lovers of words, derive pleasure from amassing a complex, variegated, and broad vocabulary. Although not all lexophiles use their vocabulary in everyday speech, most lexophiles pride themselves in their knowledge of synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and homonyms. Lexophiles generally appreciate the nuances surrounding different words, and they normally strive to select the best word for a given circumstance.
May. 3rd, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
Re: HOMOphones and HOMOnyms...that's a lot of HOMOS!
Yay! And then there is homograph (to go along with homonyms and homophones), and the more I read about all three, they blur together.

Although I do love words, and they are critical to writing, I still think there's a difference between someone who loves words and someone who loves writing—the whole writing process, of which words is only one small part.

That's the elusive "phile" we're looking for still!
May. 3rd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Re: HOMOphones and HOMOnyms...that's a lot of HOMOS!

An update: Robert found an entry in the "pseudodictionary - the dictionary for words that wouldn't make it into a real dictionary" and it's... drum roll... scriptophile!

Thanks, my sweet!

Edited at 2009-05-03 06:14 pm (UTC)
May. 3rd, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
I literally LOL'd when I read your high five comment. People around me thought I was a crazy man laughing at my iPhone.

May. 3rd, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Hysterical
Yay! Laughter is the best medicine. Thanks for sharing; I love hearing about what strikes a chord with people in my writing.
May. 3rd, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
Empty stroller and high fives...
John, I love your vignettes of the people you encounter on your bus rides. The story of the guy with the empty stroller, with the kicker of checking the woman's double-stroller for the missing baby, made me laugh hard enough that my daughter in the next room asked, "What's so funny Dad?" Upon retelling the story, without missing a beat she said nonchalantly, "Well, maybe he was going to pick up his baby."

I didn't catch any of your high fives Thursday night. Looked like you were getting into it though. (I was looking a little too serious serving the biscuit in that shot you snapped.) Glad you were there!


May. 3rd, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Empty stroller and high fives...
Your daughter is brilliant! That thought hadn't occurred to me at all. Just goes to prove that diversity and other world views are a critical need in our lives! Please thank her for being one.

And though you may look serious in that photo, I know that you had a ton of fun. I heard and admired your interaction with the students, and that's what encouraged me to do it a little more than I was doing in the beginning. Thanks for leading by example!

Thanks for reading and commenting, Stan. I appreciate it!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )



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