Riding and Reading; The Safe Way to Commute

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Five days a week I, like most other people, go to work. There are potentially dozens of ways for me to get to work: car, bike, segway, helicopter, skate board, or hitch hiking; the options are potentially endless. I have chosen to go the traditional route and commute via the bus. On my way to work I take a TriMet bus (#44, #54, or #56) from stop #925 to stop #7803; on my way home I take a bus from stop #7586 to stop #955. The ride to work takes 13.5 minutes. The ride home takes either 15 or 21 minutes depending on which bus I catch. During this time I read. During most other times I like to babble. This blog combines all three: books, buses and babble.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

consequential strangers

Book: The White Tiger

Bus: 6:02; #56

Pages read: 0

He's becoming too friendly. This is a bad thing. There is this guy that takes the bus in the morning. I used to call him "Construction guy with ear buds and coffee," now I call him Eric. See what I mean; problem. I know Eric is a construction supervisor for the city of Portland. I know he has children. I know he has air conditioning in his house. I know he has been to the Grand Canyon. I know TOO much! I see this guy pretty much every morning. Interacting with him is something I try to avoid. I walk slowly to the bus stop hoping the bus will come by the time I reach it, or if I am there and see him walking up, I will start digging through my bag as if I am desperately trying to find something. But sometimes I am sitting duck. Usually the weather is the topic of "conversation." We live in Portland for Christ's sake, how many different ways can you talk about how badly rain sucks? I do not want to talk about the rain. I do not want to talk about anything. It violates the rules.

Bus stop etiquette is simple: greet each other with a nod and/or a smile. The number one rule (second being don't look them in the eyes) is never ask names. Once you know a rider's name there is a level of intimacy that cannot be undone. You are then obligated to greet and talk to this person. Don't get me wrong, I like consequential strangers, they do provide a sense of comfort and community, I just like mine to be silent.

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