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.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I must Look Like a Compass

Book: The White Tiger
Bus: 44; 2:58 p.m.
Pages read: 107 - 115

This is beyond coincidence. While waiting for the bus an Asian woman asked me for directions to a bus stop. Well, "ask" is a generous, it was more like "charadeded" me the question. I spent several minutes directing (charading again: pointing and motioning) to a bus stop about 3 blocks away. She is probably still wandering around Portland.

Then, once I was on the bus, this elderly woman was hovering next to me looking a bit perplexed. She kept looking at me as if ready to ask a question. Taking the cue, I asked her if she needed help and it turns out she did. She wanted to know if she was on the right bus to take her to the Jewish center. I was proud of myself for knowing where the Center was, b/c it is next to the eye-catching store "Everything Jewish," so I was able to confidently confirm she was on the right bus.

While not nearly as inept as the direction-givers in Delhi, I hate giving directions. First, I kind of panic when someone asks me. I feel like I am on Jeopardy and have to hit the buzzer and answer immediately. It's too much pressure. As a result I end up giving directions and then ralizing after the unknowing lost soul is gone and I take 30 seconds to actually think about it,that I gave the wrong name of a street or something. I then feel completely responsible for this person and blame myself for their future misfortunes (divorce, failing out of college, etc.).

Any way...

Balram explains that "Servants need to abuse other servants. It's been bred into us, the way Alsatian dogs are bred to attack strangers. We attack anyone who's familiar." pg 109. So much for sticking together. Sounds like a fraternity at hazing time.

When Ashok and Pinky Tuscadaro move to Delhi they take an apartment in a large building. Balram's new home is the basement of the building with the other chauffeurs. He is on call 24 hours a day and shares a room with audibly-chewing cockroaches that spend the night leaping onto his mosquito net. Good thing he has that khaki uniform or he might start to question his improved status in the world.

And...Ashok and the Mongoose start their descent into the world of political bribery which it's pretty clear will not end well.

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