Sunday, September 5, 2010


ok, so most people who know me know that I am not a big fan of large commitments. I like to test the waters, try things out, keep the tags on, etc, etc. So now, picture me taking on the Greater Portland area by being forced into a relationship with public transportation. And mind you, this is not some "oh, I think i'll take the bus to that store today"... or "hey, let me pop aboard #62 to grab a coffee". No way. This is a full out, give-me-your-entire-name/dob/social security number/bucket list/and 21-things-you-want-in-a-lover-commitment.

It all started out with a desire to go to church this morning. Innocuous enough, right? Some could even say downright holy. but what I didn't know is that attending church would be ALL I was doing today.
Here is the breakdown.

8:14. get woken by cat.
8:14.2 curse cat.
8:36 log onto computer to map out bus route to nearest church in the suburbs.
8:44 finish handwriting down (no printer) the transportation directions. Which by the way include "walk southeast" as a direction. SOUTHEAST??? who knows which way is southeast?? am I supposed to be carrying a hand held compass or something?
9:38 begin my first leg of the trip. Which is to walk southeast for approximately 832 feet, turn right, walk another 246 feet, turn left. wait for bus #62. Mental note: pack a ruler with the compass next time I dare venture out of the house.

10:03 bus arrives, purchase an all day ticket for the low low fare of $4.75

ride the bus ride the bus ride the bus ride the bus ride the bus ride the bus

10:58 see my stop, and I pull the yellow string. it doesn't work. I pull harder. Nothing. I stand up, and yank. finally, a "ding" to let the driver know I want off.
11:00 walk across parking lot to attend the 11:00 service.

well, that wasn't too bad, eh? I ended up going to this church which just happened to have potluck lunch after service, so of course i stayed. (don't know how to take the bus to the grocery store yet). I meet some really nice people who oddly enough give me the name of another church i should attend next week, and then they give me their phone numbers. For real. I have had several different people in this city of Portland who just give me their numbers in case I need help or want directions or advice or something. Isn't that crazy? I mean, I can't even remember the last time I voluntarily told people my real name, and here they just hand over their Blackberries. I excuse myself early to go catch the bus because I had this "feeling" it was coming soon. No, I failed to look up when the bus would be swinging back by to return me home.

1:17 wait for the bus. 3 minutes later, the bus comes (good timing, right?) Except, it was the bus going in the opposite direction of where I needed to go.
2:20. Still waiting. Bus does end up arriving about 15 minutes later. Board bus.

ride the bus ride the bus ride the bus ride the bus ride the bus ride the bus

Get off the bus (yellow string forced to sing on the first pull this time) and I walk about 12 minutes back to my house.
3:04. Get on the computer to look up public transportation directions to another church I will be checking out this evening. Great. I have to start my journey in 43 minutes.
3:22. Scarf down some crackers and cheese as my "pre-dinner" since I am not scheduled to return home until about 7:15.

3:43. Leave the house, walk in the sun, in the road (missing sidewalks) for about 22 minutes. Work up a nice sweat. Cross an intersection to wait for a bus.
4:08 the time the bus was supposed to be there.
4:18. the time the bus came. In the meantime, and for the entire duration of a 39 minute bus ride, I am engaged in conversation with a 47 year old man about to meet a 63 year old Filipino woman on a blind date in a park downtown. He says he wishes I was the blind date. ahem.
4:57. Get off bus to walk across a new parking lot to attend a 5pm church service. So far, not too shabby.
I need to leave this church by 6:10 to get to my next train/bus on time to get home.

6:22. Leaving church. Walking like one of those middle-aged ladies who think it's "sassy" to swing your arms and move your legs super fast in an attempt to "power walk". Try to keep up with old man and kid who left church about 7 minutes before I did.
6:33. I make an estimated 22 minute walk in about 10 minutes. (woop woop!) Unfortunately, my train left the tracks at the scheduled 6:32 it was supposed to leave at. I just get on the next train, even though it's the wrong color. It's headed west, and I'm pretty sure that's where I have to go. (who needs that dang compass thing NOW?)
6:52. A man enters the train with a skeletal mask on splattered with blood. He is also wearing some pretty baggy, worn out clothing. Suicide bomber crosses my mind for the next 4 stops.
7:00. I look out the window at the town square where I see Willy Wonka, Captain Jack Sparrow, Jane from Nightmare Before Christmas and a whole other slew of costumed revelers. Skeletor exits train. Ahhh, so there was a purpose for his look, and it apparently wasn't the bloody demise of a train full of innocents. Shwew.
Please note: I AM tempted to jump out and see what the celebration is all about (and to get some good pictures for Noelle), but then I realize I am on a tight schedule to catch the homeward bound bus at the end of this locomotive leg of my journey. Sigh. I stay on the boring train.
7:08. My stop comes. Unfortunately, this is also the exact time for my homeward bound bus to depart the transit center. I sprint to catch it. The Fates are smiling!! The hulking vehicle is still in its spot!! I run up to it, just in time to encounter this peach of a tiding: "No need to hurry. The bus driver left about ten minutes ago and said he wasn't going to be back for 43 minutes."
umm, WHAT?? You mean, I could be hanging out with Edward Scissorhands at this very moment, but instead I abandoned him like a leaky outhouse so that I could rush here to board a bus that isn't moving? A.w.e.s.o.m.e.
7:41. True to public transportation form, the bus driver makes it back. 6 minutes behind the pushed back schedule. By now I have made several bosom friends with my fellow inmates, and one nemesis (a Steelers' fan).

ride the

7:48. Yes, note the time. I had sat in the bus terminal for a half century only to discover I was a mere 10 blocks from my home. It is at this point that I flee the bus and practically jet the 1, 384 feet (of a northwesterly direction) back to my house. Free at last!
8:00. Arrive in my home, ecstatic to realize I just spent the ENTIRE day attending church. Sort of.

So this is the joy of a steady commitment. Well, punch my ticket, mr. bus driver!-- I'ma climbing aboard!

9:03. End blog post.


  1. I like it! It's great getting a chance to step into your world out west...

  2. So, having sorta read september's post backwards, I'm guessing you love your bike!

    Ever get any closure on the costumed crusaders?