Saturday, February 20, 2010

My morning

Today I finally closed my bank account at a huge multinational bank and deposited what was left in it into my recently-opened account at a local community bank. The two banks are in different parts of the city, so a lot of walking and bus riding was involved. The Saturday buses in Rhode Island, unlike the weekday ones, are notoriously (to me, anyway) unreliable and infrequent, so I was astonished to be able to get it all done in under two hours. Especially exciting was when I walked back to Kennedy Plaza, RIPTA's central hub, after finishing all of my high finance. As I approached the plaza, I saw that I was arriving in the middle of one of the dead times in the schedule, when the place can be a barren, bus-free wasteland for as long as a half an hour, people standing clustered around the various berths in despair, waiting. I prepared myself to join them, but then I rounded a building and discovered that my bus was the only bus in the whole damn place! Just waiting for me! So that was a nice surprise.

A lot of people who don't take the bus regularly, and even some people who do, complain a lot about the "crazies" you run into. It's true that you encounter a fair number of mentally ill people riding the bus, of course (our society is so great, even the insane can get from one place to another!), but in my experience they are by and large content to stick to themselves and not bother anyone else, which is more than you can say for, oh, I don't know, drivers. And in general your average bus rider is courteous and helpful; I always see people pointing out when someone has dropped something, or giving people a hand up if they're having trouble on the steps, and so on. I'm not trying to write some bullshit about the nobility and decency of the lower classes, but still: there are some real decent people riding the bus every day. In my three or four years of riding the bus almost every day, I've seen I think two incident of anger, both of which ended quickly and non-violently.

I brought along Galileo's Dream to read (I'm a slow reader, but I'm almost done), but I ended up putting Mos Def's album from last year, The Ecstatic, on my headphones, which pretty much ruled out reading, as I was much more interested in listening to him. I've been listening to the album a lot recently. The beats are some of the best I've ever heard (I love how the timbre of the melodic elements changes constantly). A line that stuck out to me today that I had never really noticed before was in "Pretty Dancer" when he says "Too busy survivin to argue about Darwin," which, you know, yeah. I don't really have anything else to say about it, really; just a recommendation if you're looking for something to listen to. Other things I listened to today that I recommend if you're interested, are The Supremes' High Energy, from 1976, which is the first of their two real disco albums (the title track is astonishing), and Four Tet's new album, There Is Love in You, which is ludicrously pleasant while still bearing the obvious marks of the artist's recent collaboration with Burial.

OK, that's it. I don't have a point or anything.


Soj said...

If it makes you feel any better, I usually forego the bus in lieu of walking, mostly because I can't stand all the submitting to authority (waiting for it to arrive, the dictatorship of its route, the inflexibility of the rules, etc) LOL

Of course, around these parts everyone takes the bus and it comes every 10 minutes or so, but I'm stubborn :P

Ethan said...

I like taking the bus because it feels like I'm figuring out how to use a natural resource; there's this thing out there that happens and I'm using it for my purposes. Weak substitute for actual animal pursuits I know, but there you have it.

Soj said...

Personally I'd love to see a William Gibson inspired device in which a sort of advanced "skateboard" can be tethered to passing vehicles ad hoc.

Speaking of current technology and USAmerican public transportation, I've heard good things about the San Diego "trolley" and I'd love to check it out!

almostinfamous said...

your bus is different from our bus

drip said...

different from our bus, too.