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~Friday~  I was back on the 8:15 city bus this morning, where I took a seat behind Library Man who was reading his trade magazine, ArcNews, and specifically, an article entitled, "Nine Innovations in ArcGIS 9.4." Not that I was nosing over his shoulder or anything.

At Li'l Dino's stop, she did not get on (as she wasn't even there), but someone I didn't see got off the bus through the back door. As it started moving again people yelled to stop, and the lady who'd gotten off got back on. Actually, I thought that's what happened, as this person didn't put any money in the fare machine before sitting in an up-front center-facing seat close to the driver, so I assumed she was the same person who'd gotten off, who had perhaps realized it was the wrong stop.

After a minute or so, though, this person got out her wallet and started lifting out coins and holding them up examining them like someone does when they're trying to figure out what value foreign coins have. I looked at her face. "Romanian, maybe?" came to mind.

In the meantime, we passed My Three Sons' stop, and get this, he was sitting on the bench where the mother is usually sitting, he had two of his three sons (the ever-elusive baby not among them) sitting on either side of him, and when the bus stopped, he just sat there. Things that make a Gladys Kravitz go, "Hmmmm."

Moving along, we passed the Doublement Duplicates at their stop—once again asserting their individuality with one of them wearing shorts and the other long pants. But once again, their identical faces outed them as twins.

Back to the coin-examining lady. It was obvious that she didn't know anything about how the bus worked, including at which stop she needed to get off. A lady sitting across from her spoke with her, asked her where she was going and told her that her stop was coming up. "You need to signal before the stop that you want to get off at," the good Samaritan explained to her.

The Romanian Lady could see her stop way up ahead, but she had no idea that you use the tape between the windows to "signal" the driver, as they are not marked in any way as such. Another thing you don't know as a new rider is where the stops are, so once she learned about the tape, she pushed it while there were still two stops before the one at which she wanted to get off, which of course made the driver stop for nothing.

She actually ended up getting off at my stop, and I walked around her exiting as she started depositing her coins into the card reader slot instead of the coin slot. The bus driver picked up the first coin and directed her over to the coin slot.



My work day was pretty much consumed with our organization's holiday party, which was held from 11:30-1:30 over at the Arboretum off Beryl Road.

I finished up a slide show I had created to run in the background of the event with information about two holiday giving projects that we've decided upon for our organization. At a little after 10:30, I went with one of the directors to pick up the vegetarian dish for the event, which was Vegetarian Lasagna from Two Guys. The carnivores were all eating catered Coopers BBQ, which was all delivered and set up by them.

The event was very nice, and I sat with some people I rarely work with, and next to someone I didn't know at all. His name was Andrew, and we ended up having great conversation. We actually had a lot in common in terms of life experiences, such as taking longer than desired to finish grad school, leaning toward not having kids in our marriages, loving taking public transportation, and having connections to the military and Camp Lejeune.

Back at the office, we got a lot of nice compliments about how much people enjoyed the event. Yay!



Temporary Alice and Word Search Lady were both on the 5:00 bus home, sitting two seats apart from each other and not acknowledging each other, as is their M.O. Temporary Alice had something over her head again, but not a stocking hat this time, but it did take me a second look to be sure that it wasn't a dish towel plopped up on there. It wasn't.

And finally, Poopie Bus Driver did not stop for a convenience crap at the Circle K convenience store.



I was really wiped out when I got home, and I desperately wanted a nap before going to the STC End-of-Semester party, which I've been looking forward to for weeks. Knowing it was a bad idea, I lay down without setting an alarm, as I only had ten minutes before I had to leave, and then woke up six hours later. Damnit.

I had two voicemail messages from folks at the party—one very funny one from Brad telling me how much the Salonists were missing me, complete with a visual that I found later when I logged into Facebook:

Kim, Brad, and Sarah looking perplexed

The caption of this picture was: "Where is John?" I'm close captioning it: "Neck no evil; chin no evil, cheek no evil."

I also had a sweet voicemail message from my friend Jen that said, "John Martin! Where are you??? You're missing the social event of the year! We miss you. Please give me a call when you wake up or return to the planet so I'll know you're okay."



I sent my "hellos-I'm-still-alive" messages to my lovely, concerned friends, and an apology to the hostess for being a "Yes" RSVP, but a "no show" in the end.

Needless to say, after waking up at midnight after six hours sleep, my "to-bed" scheduled was totally messed up. Oh well, at least I can sleep in tomorrow.

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