Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TEEEEEEEEEE EMMMMMM AAAAAIIEEEEE!!!

So, the other day, I was placidly sitting on the 831, as I often do; if you didn't know that by now, you're reading the wrong blog.

Anyway, this trip was just like any other 831 trip, except that the couple in front of me was having a lively conversation (I wouldn't go so far as an argument) that I wasn't really listening to. "Mustn't ask us, not it's business *gollum* *gollum* . . ."

Then the guy turns around and says "Isn't that right?" I said "Hunh?" and he said "You tie your woman to the bed, you don't have any problems, right?"

Needless to say, that was not what I was expecting, *gollum*. All I managed to say was "I wouldn't dare!" Which is true . . .

The worst part was that they got off at the same stop I did. I walked quickly.

Monday, June 28, 2010

DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT

Last Friday I got invited to a pool party at my friend's house. Being the busninja, I decided that, even though she doesn't live near a transit stop, to go as close as I could on public transportation and walk the rest of the way. When I googled her address, and looked at the map, it didn't seem too far (ten blocks never does on a google map . . .), so I decided to go for it.

In the middle of my ten-block walk, it occurred to me that I had not written my friend's exact address down. This caused me little concern, as I immediately realized that I could call her when I got close. When I got close, however, I realized that I had also neglected to remove my phone from its charger and that it was still sitting peacefully on my bedroom floor in between my bed and my dresser.

Undaunted, I decided to walk up and down the block to see if I could find last names on mailboxes. I found many last names, but not the one I was looking for.

I was still a little early (hey, it's not my fault the 833 only runs once an hour! I get there when I get there), so I stopped to think. I considered knocking on someone's door and asking them, but then I remembered that not going well in Perú, so I held off. Finally, I got out my pensieve and started going back through the day's memories. I got to the part where I googled my friend's address, and voilà! There was the house number.

At last, I was able to go to my friend's house and get in the pool. By this point in time, I needed it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

EXEGESIS

Yesterday, upon leaving work, I made my way dutifully to the bus stop at the BYU Law Building, as I often do. I found one of my friends there, intently studying the Utah County System Map (a fascinating read; I've done it many times). After we exchanged pleasantries, he said "It's a good thing you stopped by." I said "Oh?", knowing, of course, what he was about to ask . . .

"What bus takes me to . . . ?"

Well, I love hearing that question. So, I answered him in fine form:

The 862 is the bus that will get you there. You can catch it from either the Transit Center or UVU; however, based on where you're going, you should catch it from UVU. So, just take the 830 all the way to UVU, and you can transfer there to the 862. Where should you get off? Well, there's the big bus stop on the north side of the street; it has a nice shelter there. The southbound stop is just a sign by the Sinclair station. Now, the 862 ends at UVU, so it just pulls in on the north side of the street and turns around from there; it never goes to the stop on the south side.

Oh, and one other thing; the map is a little obsolete, in that it shows the 862 going down 800 West in Orem. Well, it no longer does that. It now goes down 1200 West; they just haven't updated the map yet. So don't believe the map, believe me.

Most devoted readers of this blog probably found the foregoing exegesis humorous enough. The funny part for me, however, was watching the look of mingled fascination and horror develop on the faces of the couple sitting next to my friend at the bus stop.

Friday, June 25, 2010

REFLECTIONS ON TAKING YOUR COMPUTER ON THE BUS TO GET IT REPAIRED

1) Not having a computer really stinks.

2) The screws on my wireless thing aren't actually supposed to come out all the way, as my roommate pointed out to me (thanks, buddy).

3) The 811 goes much more directly between my house and say, all of Orem, but the 830 comes more often. Therefore, I take the 830.

4) My lugging a computer onto four buses doesn't even faze bus drivers. They see a lot of more interesting things.

5) Getting your computer repaired is expensive.

6) Walking across the Best Buy parking lot AND University Parkway with a computer in tow is a long time.

7) When every seat on the bus stop bench is taken, sometimes you just have to rest your computer on the want ads box. Carefully.

8) The 830 is not as crowded during the summer. Therefore, I can find a seat on the bus.

9) It is hard to punch the crosswalk button with a computer tower under your armpit.

1o) Having your computer back is awesome.

11) Having your computer back allows you to blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO PEDESTRIAN (10)

Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:

I hope you and your friends are enjoying EFY. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it, had I ever participated in it, and I sure enjoy sharing campus with you and your several thousand friends, every week, all summer. I'm glad you like to read your scriptures. However, maybe you shouldn't read your scriptures with your feet in the road! Just sayin'.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

SOME KIND OF RECORD

Yesterday, I got on the 862 North- then West- then South- bound (officially known as Westbound) at 12:39 pm at the Transit Center. Imagine my surprise when not one, not two, but three other people got on the bus. There were four people on the 862, and it wasn't even the morning rush! That's got to be some kind of record.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

DOPPELGÄNGER

Yesterday, as I was getting off the 822, the man behind me said, "Hey! You look like Tom Brady!"


This is hardly a new occurrence for me. I've heard it several times before by people who don't remotely inhabit the same social circles. I even used the picture to my left as my Facebook profile picture in honor of doppelgänger week. As my roommate once put it, "You have things in common -- facially."


This is the second time someone has mentioned the fact to me on the bus. The first was when I was on the 146 in Chicago, heading back to my hotel after a visit to the Shedd Aquarium (The 146 takes a direct route between the Blue Line and the Museum Campus, and runs every 15 minutes on weekdays until 8 p.m., if you're interested). The guy across from my friends and me said "Please tell me people tell you you look like Tom Brady" (say that sentence out loud; it helps). I admitted that people had. The man proceeded to say more than once to what I assume were his wife and daughter (though you should never assume) "See, doesn't he look like Tom Brady?"


This most recent time, my bus-going companion waited until the moment I was getting off to mention the fact. This is not in and of itself indecorous. However, in the process of trying to converse amiably with someone I had never met and get off the bus at the same time, I banged my head on the overhead bin. Ouch.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

FAN PHOTO

Those of you who know me well know that, while I plan on being the busninja for life, what I do for a living these days is playing the piano. This week I've been playing for Summer Festival, a music camp at BYU (think EFY for music nerds). As part of the experience, I've been playing for singers in small groups. Each group of three has been rehearsing a number all week which they will perform later today. Since two of the group numbers that I'm playing for involve the use of fans (one is a group of girls being girls and one is a group of guys imitating girls), I thought it would be amusing to show them my profile picture:


The guys were duly impressed, saying things like "Perfection!" and "You're on Facebook? I'm adding you." I showed it to the girls, and one of them said "That's hot."

Friday, June 18, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (11)

Dear stupid Provo driver:

The light in front of you is red.

The light over your head is red.

The two lights on perpendicular to you are not.

Did you not stop because you got confused by the perpendicularity?

Or did you just think that six full lanes of traffic were going to allow you to pass fluidly through them?

Either way, you're still stupid . . .

Regards,
BUSNINJA

HE SAID IT BEST

Yesterday on the 831, the subject of construction came up, as it inevitably does when the bus has to navigate construction, repairs, the repainting of all 542 crosswalks along Campus Drive, etc. The flow of conversation migrated to I-15, which is when the bus driver said.

"I'm just going to avoid I-15 for the next five years."


Agreed. He said it best.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

MOVE THE CONE

Not only has there been repaving on Campus Drive recently (though I am happy to report that the BYU-going buses seem to have returned to their regular service patterns), but yesterday Provo was repainting all the stop lines in the Joaquin neighborhood (a.k.a. "South of Campus") As the paint was still relatively fresh, there were cones around each line to prevent motor vehicles from driving over it and smearing the lines. This = fun maze for the 830 to get through.

We did okay until we got to the intersection of 200 North and 400 East. This corner, already tight, was made doubly so by the presence of orange cones around the newly-painted, immaculately white stop line. Unable to make the corner without quashing a the northernmost cone in the line, the bus driver asked "Could somebody get off and move the cone for me? I can't get around it." No one else got up, so I did. I got off and moved the cone over between its two nearest neighbors to the south. The bus now easily cleared the turn, and no cones were harmed in the making of it.

There were a couple of cars also waiting to turn at this intersection during this experience. I can only hope they found it amusing.

ONE WAY TO GET BUS DRIVERS TO REALLY LIKE YOU

Some of you may not be as concerned as I am about whether the bus drivers like you. That's probably because you don't ride the bus as often as I do. If a bus driver doesn't like me, the probability is still high that I will see them on a regular basis, so I try to be a model passenger. Most of them have recognized my efforts . . .

Anyway, there is one sure-fire way to get bus drivers to really like you. It's called "waving them by." "What meaneth this?" you say. I'll tell you.

Perhaps a photographic illustration will help.















This fine bus stop, at 500 West and 3900 South, is serviced by routes 39 and 41. It is therefore conceivable that a person standing at this bus stop in the hopes of catching the 39 out east might first encounter the 41, which doesn't go nearly as far east and would therefore not serve his purpose. What is said potential bus passenger to do? Well, he could wait for the driver of the 41 to pull up and open the door, and then say "I'm actually waiting for the 39." This, however, would lead to a grumpy 41 driver, who is probably somewhat behind schedule anyway because he's almost to the end of the route. All he's thinking is that you needlessly deprived him of part of his bathroom break because you weren't even going to catch his bus.

The best thing to do in this situation is to "wave the bus by." This is a very simple operation. It consists of, as you see the bus you don't want to catch approaching, motioning forward with one hand, encouraging the bus driver to continue forward, rather than pulling off the road. The motion need not be overly vigorous (though a vigorous waving-by is certainly welcomed), but it should be clear enough that someone sitting up higher than you behind a tinted window can easily see it.

The results of this simple operation are wondrous to behold. I have seen looks of sheer joy erupt on drivers' faces as I wave them by. They usually wave at me or give me a thumbs up as they blissfully speed past, grateful that they don't have to stop one extra time.

A couple of cautions, though. When you are not the only person standing at the bus stop, it is possible that the other person, or persons, want to catch the bus you don't want to catch. In this case, waving the other bus by would be a very bad idea, because then the other people would miss their bus, and you would still be stuck standing with them at the bus stop. This could be very awkward, as well as lead to a retaliatory waving-by when the bus you actually want shows up. Fisticuffs usually follow.

Also, sometimes the bus has to stop at your stop anyway, because they are letting someone off. In this case, you will wave them by, and they will still pull off the road and open the door. If you then see someone get off the bus, no harm done. The driver is aware that you are not going to board, and you are aware that they do not expect you to board. The bus pulls away and you part in peace. If, on the other hand, no one gets off, you can say to the driver "Sorry, I tried waving you by," and they will usually nod and pull away. If they something snotty back, it's because they are either having a bad day or aren't nice. If you know they aren't nice, you can then have the satisfaction of writing UTA a displeased email. Otherwise, hold off, because they may just be having a bad day. Don't we all sometimes?

Caveats notwithstanding, if you're standing at a bus stop alone and see not-the-bus-you-want coming, motion to the driver to keep going. They will really like you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

THANK YOU, NICE MAN IN THE PICKUP TRUCK

This morning as I made my way home between work and work, I was trying to cross that ever-nefarious street, 700 North, with its incident drivers-who-never-stop-for-pedestrians and pedestrians-who-never-look-to-see-if-anyone-is-coming. (Ample fodder for this blog)

I was rather surprised that a nice man in a pickup truck stopped for me. This is not unheard of, but is, admittedly, rather unusual, so I was grateful to him. But it didn't stop there. As the cars going the other direction continued to never-stop-for-pedestrians, he actually honked at them and motioned that they should be stopping instead of revving. I was quite impressed.

Thank you, nice man in the pickup truck. I wish more people were like you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

DUE TO CONSTRUCTION

The recent repaving of Campus Drive, which I assume is still in progress since it wasn't finished Saturday evening, has created the need for no less than seven bus routes to be on detour. I live close enough to campus that getting off at a detour stop seems superfluous, so rather than catching the bus to campus, I've been walking. That's right, the busninja has been

WALKING

to campus.
Sniff.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

GRAMMATICAL ERROR

As I was looking over my posts this morning, I realized that I had incorrectly put the object of a gerund in subjective, rather than possessive case. (Click here to see grammatical error) The sentence should have read:

Actually, maybe a tongue-lashing would prevent your getting run over in the future.

Forgive me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BUMP!!!

Recently at BYU, construction crews have been grinding the surface of the road down on Campus Drive, I assume because they're going to repave it. This means that, between the areas where the road has been ground down and the areas where it hasn't, there are rather large bumps. Most of these are marked with gaudy orange signs. One of them, however, was not marked yesterday.

The driver of the 833 hit the bump at full speed, causing a deafening noise and a bone-jarring leap into the air. All the passengers flailed their arms or made shocked exclamatory noises (or did both), and even the bus driver, who is usually a rather brooding, solemn figure, registered genuine surprise on his face for a brief moment before things returned to normal.

APOLOGY

Last Saturday a friend gave me a ride to where I was going. As we were driving, she said, "I'm sorry I'm depriving you of the opportunity to have a funny experience on the bus that you could blog about." To which I respond, "Don't worry. It's not like I'm not going to ride the bus home."

There will be plenty of opportunities for funny things to happen on the bus.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO DRIVER (10)

Dear stupid Provo driver,

I've seen people turn right many times in my day, but I've never seen anyone turn it into living on the edge quite like you do. There are other, less hazardous, ways to live on the edge in Provo than turning right two inches in front of a car going full speed down a main road. Try drinking a caffeinated beverage, or sporting an Obama bumper sticker. These will give you the same invigorating feeling with far less risk of life.

Also, when you do turn right into the middle of oncoming traffic, the correct answer is not to drive down the shoulder at about 20 miles per hour until there is a space for you. The shoulder is not for driving; it also comes perilously close to my toes.

Regards,
BUSNINJA

CLIF BARS

. . . are the food that makes my lifestyle possible. Sometimes in the morning, when you're running for the bus, there simply isn't time for a nice, quiet bowl of cereal. Especially now that the 831 runs 6 minutes earlier in the mornings, which fact I can never seem to remember until about 5 minutes before I used to have to leave to catch the bus . . . RUN! Grab CLIF bar! Eat and run, despite what your mother told you when you were growing up! Still have breakfast! Still catch the bus!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"I RIDE THE BUS EVERY DAY"

One evening I was on the 811, coming home from the UVU area (and pleased with myself that I had caught it at 8:54, and therefore didn't have to wait an hour and forty-five minutes for the next one). A woman had gotten on at UVU who apparently didn't ride the 811 often, because she asked if the bus went by Albertson's in Provo. Once it was ascertained which Albertson's they were talking about, a feeling of general cordiality was achieved, and the bus driver said cheerfully, "Well, I'll just let you off at the bottom of the hill then."

Sound of record scratching.

The woman said "What hill?" For those of you who aren't familiar with University Parkway, there's a rather noticeable hill between Provo and Orem. University Mall is on the uphill, Orem, side, and Albertson's, ShopKo, Movies 8, etc. are on the downhill, Provo, side. I thought everybody knew about the hill, but I guess not.

The bus driver said "Well, the hill just down here past the mall." The woman said, "There's no hill there!" The bus driver said "Sure there is!" and the woman said "I ride the bus every day, and there's no hill there."

Oh, honey, you did not just say that. You do not even know who you were on the bus with.

Despite a few other passengers piping up, as passengers will, that there was, in fact, a hill there, the woman insisted there was not, and said something snotty at the end of the conversation like "I'm not going to talk about it any more. You guys don't know what you're talking about."

Lady, you can go ahead and be stupid in front of me. I don't care. But stupid and snotty gets blogged about.

As we went down the hill, I had the urge to shout "Isn't this a nice HILL we're going down!" But I held my tongue. It wouldn't have helped anything.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

DEAR STUPID PROVO PEDESTRIAN (9)

Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:
You appear to be yet another one of those that for some reason thinks the bus moves slower than you can walk. And you don't walk very fast, let's be honest. You must have known the bus was coming, because you looked up, registered it, and then looked back down. Why you then chose to cross the street slowly in front of it , without looking up at all, is beyond me.
It's a good thing the bus driver was the quiet, settled type; otherwise you might have gotten run over, or at the very least given a hearty tongue-lashing out the window. Actually, maybe a tongue-lashing would prevent you getting run over in the future.

Regards,
BUSNINJA