Saturday, April 30, 2011


Today on the 850 Southbound, the bus went around a corner, and a car was like


A woman on the bus said, under her breath, "Oh, shut up!"

I don't think she meant for anyone to hear her, but several of us giggled.

Friday, April 29, 2011


The 830 had just pulled into BYU, and the requisite crowd of wide-eyed students was getting on. A man got on and held up his transfer for the driver to see. The driver gave him a quizzical look, grabbed his transfer, turned it right-side-up, and handed it back to him. The man took his seat, looking rather stunned. I mean, it's got to be embarrassing to get on the bus with an upside-down transfer.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


The other night commutergirl and I were at the Mall, and I overheard some guy sitting at a table, talking about events that obviously had seriously distressed him. All I overheard him saying was "And it was my day off! Some f***ing day off!"

Now, there is a very short list of circumstances that merit the use of the eff word, and it is possible that something on this list happened to this man, but I have a hard time feeling sympathetic toward him. See, I had already heard a story about a day off that I'm pretty sure was worse.

On the 850 that morning, one of the regular bus patrons asked the driver where the regular driver was. The current driver explained to her that the regular driver hadn't shown up for work that morning, and apparently the first 850 of the morning didn't happen that morning (I'm SO glad that wasn't me . . .). He explained that he was asleep in bed that morning when UTA called him and asked him if he could cover the run on his day off.

Now, this run is, like, 10 hours long. Some day off. And yet, our friendly substitute bus driver was in a good mood. He was courteous to passengers. He answered their questions nicely. He was on time. He didn't say the eff word. I'm sure it's not what he wanted to do on his day off, but I respect him for it. I'm not sure I respect the other guy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Dear stupid Provo driver:

Sometimes I get my faith in humanity back. Then I experience Orem traffic.

First you drove down the turning lane. Illegal. Then you switched lanes without using your blinker. Also illegal. We were innocently turning left, and then we suddenly see you hurtling down the lane, where you weren't before, still at cruising speed, with no sign whatsoever of stopping. Not illegal, but really stupid.

You know, cars cost a lot of money. Maybe you have a lot of money. But we don't. So learn how to drive.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I have previously mentioned the 850-830-related phenomenon that occurs early in the morning at the Transit Center. While it is disheartening to see the 830 leaving the Transit Center as you enter it, it's something else altogether to have it pull out right in front of you as you pull into the platform. You still can't help taking it personally, even if the 830 driver didn't mean it that way.

The other day, as we pulled into the Transit Center, the 830, which was a little late, started pulling out right in front of us. A flustered man in the front of the bus shouted "DON'T LET THAT 830 LEAVE!!!" The bus driver honked, and we all got out and ran.

As we all got out and ran, the 830 kept going for just a second, then stopped. It almost looked like the bus shrugged in resignation. I'm sure the driver did. He was nice enough when we got on, though.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I ride the bus alot. But every once in a while something comes along that completely, totally throws me.

Let's break down how my day went.

5:30 a.m. Wake up to commutergirl's alarm. Fall back asleep.

6:30 a.m. Wake up to my own alarm. Fall back asleep.

7:30 a.m. Actually wake up. Don't feel bad because it's between semesters. (I probably wouldn't feel bad anyway.)

8:00 a.m. Eat breakfast.

8:15 a.m. Leave the apartment with the intent of going to the temple.

8:17 a.m. Return to the apartment to retrieve my temple bag, which I forgot the first time.

8:31 a.m. Catch the 850 Southbound at my usual stop. I had previously decided to be lazy and catch the 850, then the 811, then the F868, because this didn't involve any actual walking after I got to the 850 stop (stay tuned).

8:32 a.m. Come to terms with the fact that the 811 Northbound isn't coming for another 47 minutes. Read textbook on electronic music that I still have from my sophomore year and never read when I actually took Music 288. Understand it better now.

8:39 a.m. Realize that the 811 Northbound will not catch the F868 at the American Fork FrontRunner Station. This is bad, because the F868 doesn't run between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. In other words, I should abandon ship. Or abandon trip. Shouldn't I? Too bad I'm stubborn.

8:59 a.m. Get on the 850 Northbound, after mental struggle about whether it makes sense to catch the same bus I caught before, in the opposite direction, to try to get to the same destination I planned to reach at the beginning. Get on anyway, because I'm cold, and the bus is warm.

9:29 a.m. Come to the realization that the 850 will probably not catch the F868, either. But by this time, I'm in American Fork, so what am I going to do? Walk home? No, I stay on the bus.

9:31 a.m. Have marvelous epiphany. Even though the F868 gets to the official transfer point at 9:29, it unofficially crosses the 850 some 12 or 13 minutes later. Hooray! I'll just get off at 300 West and Main St. and walk a couple of blocks to a friendly F868 stop.

9:39 a.m. Get off at 300 West and Main St. Begin to stride confidently down 300 West, looking for a bus stop. Upon not discovering a bus stop, walk more and more quickly and desperately.

9:44 a.m. Finally see bus stop, five blocks further down the route. And F868. It's too late. I missed it.

9:45 a.m. Begin walking to the temple anyway, even though I am fully aware it is sixteen blocks away.

10:18 a.m. Arrive at the Mt. Timpanogos LDS Temple.

10:33 a.m. Realize that I have just missed a session, and will have to wait 27 minutes for the next one to begin.

12:54 p.m. Leave the temple. Check the schedule and realize that I missed the F868 by nine minutes, and that the next one will not be by for another fifty-three. Stand at bus stop reading my textbook for all fifty-three minutes, learning about electronic music in the 1950s in Paris, Cologne, and Milan. As absorbing as a Brawny(R) paper towel.

1:47 p.m. Board the F868, which is, admittedly, right on time, but must continue to circumambulate all of northern Utah County before reaching my destination.

2:22 p.m. Alight from the F868, just in time to see the 811 Southbound pull out of the station. Poo. Walk around a little bit. Realize my legs are chafed from their unplanned twenty-one-block walk earlier in the day. Observe with trepidation that traffic is moving at a snail's pace on the nearby freeway.

2:41 p.m. Board the next 811 Southbound, which is, inexplicably, on time.

2:44 p.m. Enter the freeway. Go a maximum of maybe 15 miles per hour at any given point. Keep in mind it's not rush hour. It's just I-15.

3:15 p.m. Having just barely entered Orem city limits, call my old roommate to see how his cleaning check went. Mine is scheduled for 4:00. Remark on the inanity of the fact that it has taken me almost eight hours to go the temple and back. This would not take more than three hours in a car.

3:35 p.m. Alight from the 811, which is now 20 minutes late, at 500 North. Run to my old apartment to finish cleaning.

4:02 p.m. Property management arrives just in time (I have informed them that if they are more than three minutes late, I will leave the keys on the table and walk out). Cleaning check completed without major drama.

4:17 p.m. Help other roommates with cleaning checks. A little bit. Refuse to clean back of oven because I am still wearing a long-sleeved white dress shirt. I had had every intention of coming home and changing in between the temple and the cleaning check. Silly me. Silly, silly busninja.

4:55 p.m. After almost despairing of waiting for another late bus, board the 831 to BYU.

5:00 p.m. Arrive at BYU. Aid client with preparation of accompanist binder.

5:30 p.m. Participate in vocal rehearsal, in preparation for recital the following day.

6:08 p.m. Wend my weary way back to the BYU bus stop. Make a split-second decision (against all reason, and against previous experience today) to catch the 817, instead of the 830, which showed up late, or the 832, which hasn't shown up yet. The 817 is also late, but is an express, which is cool. And faster. Make arrangements for commutergirl to pick me up at UVU, since the 817 doesn't stop at the Transit Center.

6:20 p.m. Briefly wonder if bus driver will let me off at UVU, since people don't often get off there. Not getting off at UVU would involve riding the bus all the way back to the American Fork FrontRunner Station, where I have already spent too much time, and then having to catch another 811 Southbound back to Orem. Decide to escape by the window, if necessary, to avoid having to take another bus ever again.

6:35 p.m. Know it is 6:35 because the last 862 of the "night" is pulling out of UVU. Stand up and start walking off the bus as soon as the bus stops, preventing the bus driver from preventing my getting off. Walk to commutergirl's car.

7:00 p.m. Eat. Please keep in mind that I have not substantively eaten since 8:00 a.m. The rest really doesn't matter, because I got to eat.

Friday, April 22, 2011


It's Good Friday! Did you know that the bus runs Saturday service in London on Good Friday?

You do now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Those of you who don't ride the 850 every day/aren't busninjas probably don't know much, if anything, about the particular quirks of the 850 schedule. Unfortunately, many people who ride the 850 at night seem to fall into this category.

See, the 850 is very long. It goes from downtown Provo to downtown Lehi (that's a ways, if you're not familiar with northern Utah County geography), traffic lights all the way. The southern fourth or so of the 850 used to be a different route, called the 840. But nobody ever took the 840, may it rest in peace, so UTA combined it with the 850 so that it wouldn't die altogether.

During the day the 850 runs the whole route. But after 7 pm it stops covering the part that used to be the 840. This means that the last four Southbound trips of the day (or the last two on Saturdays) don't go past the Transit Center. This seems to fluster a significant number of people, which surprises me, since the 850 NEVER used to go past the Transit Center at all.

What's funny to me is that they're sure they know what they're talking about. "You're going to Provo now, right?" "No, I'm going to Lehi." "No, you're not." "Yes, I am." "This is a Southbound bus." "No, it's a Northbound bus now." "You don't keep going?" "Not after 7 pm."

I just think that maybe the bus driver might know better where the bus is about to go than an apparently new rider.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This morning I was led to wonder if the entire card-reading system for all of UTA was defunct, as every bus (admittedly only two) I rode this morning failed to read my card when I got on.

It's pretty easy to tell when the card reader is out of service, I think. The little screen says "Out of Service." Any questions so far?

That's why I'm wondering why it seemed like every single other person who got on a bus tapped their card, didn't hear the beep, tapped their card again, didn't hear the beep, tapped their card again, didn't hear the beep, etc., etc., until the bus driver had to tell them "It's out of service!" Over and over and over again.

It's not like this never happens, people. Every once in a while, the card reader is out of service. You have to show the bus driver your pass. It's what people always had to do before there were any card-reading devices, and we were all okay with it back then. I've never seen so many people unable to register three common English words in a row.

Maybe it's because this is the first time I've seen it on the 830. Maybe eight-thirty-wunners really are smarter.

Monday, April 18, 2011


The other morning, when I got on the 850, I smelled coffee. Some of you may not think this is weird. But I live in Orem, Utah. I have gotten on a bus and smelled pizza. I have smelled cigarettes. I have smelled body odor. I have even, on occasion, smelled weed. But this is the first time I remember the bus smelling like coffee.

Then, when I got to the Transit Center and sat down, it smelled like bacon. I don't know why. I don't know how. I don't know who. But I swear it smelled like bacon.

Who rode the Breakfast Bus this morning without telling me? Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't drink the coffee. But bacon sounds nice.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I have a friend that speaks German. Actually, I have several, but this story is not about them.

Friend in question and I were talking about really long German words one day, and I asked her to give me a really long German title. She decreed I should be called


which, being interpreted, meaneth: "Mister Master Public Transportation Planner." I really like this title, and have used it ever since. Someday I hope to have a desk, with a nametag that says my German title on it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Dear stupid Provo pedestrian:

Last week, spring happened for a few days before collapsing back into winter. I'm as excited about this as you, or anyone else is, I'm sure. Obviously the BYU paint shop is excited about it, too, because they decided to repaint every white line ever on every road all throughout campus.

It's only right that the paint shop should put up orange cones around where they paint white lines on the street. But they don't put up orange cones around their white lines so that you can


they put them there so that you won't, actually, do what you just did.

When you got back to the sidewalk, you checked your shoes, and guess what you found there. White paint. Because you're stupid.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


So, the other night, after a long but not necessarily unhappy day at school, work, school, and work, I went to the bus stop to catch the bus home. When I got there, I saw that most of the waiting area was being taken up by people who were filming. Two women were walking down the sidewalk and one was holding a little girl's hand. At some point the little girl had to look over at a man sitting on one of the bus stop benches, then look back, cutely embarrassed. Everything seemed to be going well, except that they had to stop every time a bus came, because buses make noise, and people have to, you know, walk across the waiting area to get to the bus when it comes.

Which leads me to my question: there are benches all over campus. Why were they at the bus stop, of all places?

Monday, April 11, 2011



For this class I'm taking Spring term, I have to ride the bus ten times. Cool.

I hope we have to do a write-up about each time we ride the bus. 'Cause I might just do a write-up about every time I ride the bus and turn in a whole huge pile. Bring it on.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


So, now that I take the 850 at least twice a day (eight-fiftier?), I've observed an interesting phenomenon.

See, I know how the schedule works on paper. The 850 pulls into the Transit Center at 10 after. The 830 comes at 17 after. Those bus patrons availing themselves of the 830 to get to BYU have seven minutes to ponder the deep things of life. Or, if the 850 is late, which, by tradition, it is, there is a seven-minute cushion to keep aforementioned bus patrons from missing their connection.

But here's what really happens.

UTA finally gave in to the fact that no matter how many times their algorithms tell them that it only takes a few minutes to pull in and out of the Transit Center, it really takes, like, about a year. So now UTA gives the 850 NINE MINUTES to basically go around a corner and drive past the Mall. Finally, the 850 runs on time. Early in the morning, it runs early.

The upshot of this is that the 850 pulls into the Transit Center at about 5 minutes past the hour and sits for five minutes before continuing, empty, down State Street into Provo. As it's pulling off the road to turn into the TC, the 830 from before, which is supposed to leave at 2 minutes past, but is, also by tradition, late (which tradition continues, and shall continue as long as grass is green and trees grow upward), is leaving. Sometimes the 832 is also leaving.

So, every morning when I get to the Transit Center, I see not one, but TWO buses going where I'm going, that I just missed. Oh, well. It looks good on paper.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


It was the end of a lovely evening.

Commutergirl and I had just been visiting our single friends (and gloating? Nawww . . .), whom we dearly love. We were on our way home for a pleasant evening's rest.

Then we got a flat tire. I found myself calling my favorite car expert. See, we couldn't get the lug nuts off . . . neither could he, or our other friend who came along.

I felt slightly better about my manhood knowing that even though I wasn't a car expert, under normal circumstances I could have still changed the tire.

However, friend who came along was, previously unbeknownst to us, actually a saint, and he agreed to go the tire place for us the next morning, since both of us are busy with life before tire places are open on a weekday. I'm still not sure what we're going to do to thank him, and I don't have to figure it out just yet, since I don't think he reads this blog. But he is a SAINT.

We got our tire changed. We got to bed at a reasonable hour. But sometimes I really wish the bus ran later . . .

Friday, April 8, 2011


It is by now a well-known fact that commutergirl and I are married.

This means, for one, that she no longer has to drive to Provo every night. Instead, I catch the bus to Orem. She saves a lot on gas, not making an extra two trips every night.

Now she can almost afford to feed me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


So. This is going to bum some of you out.

Commutergirl owns a car.

Don't worry, she always has. This isn't some kind of radical departure from my chosen way of life. It's just part of life. I eat meat and she has a car.

Cars sometimes need their oil changed. We most recently took it to Wal-Mart, where they changed our oil for about a third of what it cost at Jiffy Lube in Orem. They didn't offer to fix all the things that weren't really wrong with our car. They didn't try to manipulate us into anything, really. They weren't awesome. But they got the job done. And they charged us a decent price.

Unlike Jiffy Lube.

It irritates me, to say the least, that some car mechanics think they can manipulate commutergirl into paying more than she should, just because she's a woman. I also think said dishonest car mechanics are stupid, because they don't get as much repeat business as the honest ones.

Basically, I think Satan runs the Jiffy Lube she went to last time. Don't go there. Go to Wal-Mart instead. Or anywhere. Just not there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


UTA has a blog. Which seems to have died recently, but whatever. One of the things they like to do on their blog is feature places to eat and vaguely tell you how to get there on public transportation. I support this. But UTA, which is unaware that Utah County exists (though they've heard rumors that some bus called "the 811" toils over the hill every day into the southernmost TRAX station. They're just rumors), never features anything in Utah County. So I'm going to. Behold, the place of the month.
Last weekend commutergirl and I went to a place called New Chinese Gourmet (listed on line as LQ Chinese Gourmet). It's located at 1428 North State Street in Orem. It's a pretty standard buffet with several different-themed lines, as well as a Mongolian barbecue line. The spread is more ample than it looks; it was enough to shut me up, and I probably eat more than you do. Dinner is $10 per adult, lunch is $7 something. Both are all you can eat.
New Chinese Gourmet can be reached directly on the 850, or on the 862 if you're willing to walk a couple of blocks. Warning: while the 850 and 862 run every half-hour all day long on weekdays, the 850 runs every hour in the evenings and the 862 not at all (after 7:00 p.m.). Evening diners should check the schedule especially carefully before embarking to north Orem. See for exact schedules.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I have another curse. It involves traffic lights.

I thought it was just that Provo didn't like me (it's mutual), but now that I live in Orem I find that the same thing happens! Therefore, it must be a curse.

Whenever I get off the bus, I find that the traffic lights are at exactly the wrong point in the rotation, so that I have to wait for the WHOLE cycle to go around again before I can cross the street. If you added it up, considering how many times I've taken the 831, and will take the 850, that could potentially add up to millions of dollars in lost productivity.

Probably not, but that sounds impressive, doesn't it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


You might be surprised that someone who holds the bus system in the palm of his hand like I do actually has a bus-related curse or two. But I do.

During my single collegehood, I lived in three different apartments. All were close to bus stops. Duh. But it seemed like each time UTA either increased service just before I moved away, or decreased it just after I moved somewhere new. To wit:

- When I first came to Provo, I lived off 9th East. Just before I moved, UTA switched the 833 (which came every hour) to 7th East and the 831 (which came every half-hour) to 9th East. I enjoyed taking the bus more often for a little while, then I moved right back next to the 833. Oh, well.

- Then I lived on the 830 for a good while. No complaints there. But just after I moved back onto the 831, UTA changed the Saturday service frequency from 60 to 90 minutes. If I can't keep track of a schedule that runs {8:50, 10:20, 11:50, 1:20, etc.}, I don't know who can.

- Now that I live on the 850, UTA has announced that Saturday service will be bizarrely reduced to every third trip being a half-hour apart, instead of an hour apart (this means that the schedule might read something like 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 3:30 . . . ?!). So I'll have to enjoy my half-hour Saturday service while I can.

It's not the Romanov curse, but it's funny how it keeps happening . . .

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Conference is great. Don't ruin it by sitting in traffic for an hour after the session. Take TRAX instead.

Any questions?