Saturday, June 22, 2013


Last month one of my dear friends had a party because he was going away to doctoral school, and you can't just not go to your friend's party when he's going away to doctoral school, so I went to it.  I figured it was the least I could do after not going to any of his parties for two years since I moved to Salt Lake.

The party was on a Saturday, which made getting to it on the bus a little dicey.  I ended up getting off in Orem and catching the 831 all the way through town

because there was a better connection from the north end (FrontRunner, every 90 minutes; 831, every 60 minutes; you gotta do what you gotta do), then walking

the rest of the way.  This would give me de paso an opportunity to ride the new 831 most of the way through (though it has already changed since I talked about riding it all the way, and is supposed to change again in August) and see how the ridership was doing (including me, 4 people . . .).  Because I had no idea how long it would take me, I had given myself a generous cushion of time to walk the remaining distance; I arrived very early, but I found various ways to occupy the time, including walking some more

and dropping in on a couple of people I know in the area.  The city blocks are smaller in Provo (11 per mile) than they are in Salt Lake (8 per mile), and I was amazed at how quickly I was able to cover ground walking.  I felt invincible--who cares if the bus doesn't go there?  I can WALK as far as I need to.

Eventually it came time for the party.  I was fascinated as I contemplated, for the first time, the singles scene in Provo from the outside--my life has admittedly changed a lot since I lived in Provo.  I ate some cookies.  I showed off baby pictures at every opportunity.


Part of the party was a white elephant gift exchange.  The "gifts" were all the things my friend didn't want to or couldn't take with him, which is really kind of a genius idea when you think about it.  The gift exchange was a thrilling experience, but I'm not sure the details translate well to a blog-post format, so I'll cut to the chase and tell you what I got.

Yes, it was a bag of flour.  This was actually a reasoned decision: commutergirl likes to bake, so we could actually use it (I flirted for a while with the idea of going home with a giant tape deck, mostly so that I could take a picture of myself with it on FrontRunner that night and put it on the blog; but as I would have had almost no possible use for it thereafter, and it would have taken up valuable space in our apartment, which surely would not have gone over well with commutergirl, I forbore).  When I left the party, I stuck the flour in my backpack and began the long walk back to the nearest transit stop.

I should mention that, by the time I left the party, the 831, 830, 832, and 821 had all stopped running for the night.  The nearest transit stop was the Provo FrontRunner station.

The walk really wasn't that bad; it was a nice night, and there was sidewalk the whole way.  And while 1860 South was dark enough that there could have been a bear trap in my path and I wouldn't have known about it until I stepped in it, there were no bear traps on the sidewalk, so I escaped without injury.  All was well, in fact, until I came in sight of the FrontRunner platform and realized that the gong on the train was ringing.  See, the gong usually only rings when the train is about to leave.

I was tired from all that walking, but I began to run.

I'll spare you the suspense--I missed the 10:27 PM train by seconds.  I walked onto the platform and sat down in one of the 16 available seats in time to still see the back of the train clear the crossing.  I looked up at the sign and it said

To North Temple 89 Min

Well, there was nothing I could do about it now.  I debated sitting under the pavilion in the middle of the station, but that required walking, which I had already done enough of for one evening, and also presented the possibility that I could be arrested for being a hobo, since there were no more buses scheduled to visit Provo station that night, so I just stayed where I was.  I always travel prepared to face any adverse turns of events with serenity; that night's solution was The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene (a striking contrast to what I read last summer, which was The Hunger Games, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,  and Khrushchev Remembers; I was on a real dystopian kick, I guess).  I still had plenty of book left, so I calmly opened my backpack to retrieve the book.

When I opened the backpack, there was a little


and a small cloud of flour rose into the air.  I peered into the compartment and my worst fears were confirmed: the bag of flour had broken during my vigorous walk and now coated everything else with a fine, wheaty powder.

It was at that point that everything started to very much not be okay.  I said a bad word.  Then I said it three more times.  Then I pulled out my book, brushed it off, shook it, and beat it against my knee (a gesture that served only to coat a portion of my pants in fine, wheaty powder).  Then I began to read.  I decided to wait until later to clean off everything else in the backpack.

At 11:57 PM, the train left for Salt Lake again.  This time, I was on it.  commutergirl, who is a saint, picked me up at Murray at quarter to 1:00, which was nice, since I didn't really feel like adding a walk from Murray Central

This map is inaccurate for security reasons, but hopefully you get the idea.
to my list of accomplishments that night.


  1. Busninja, you really are quite entertaining to read. You have a way with words. Hopefully some of the flour survived so that Commutergirl can do some baking. And your baby is adorable!

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately, the flour did not survive. Nor did the backpack . . . I'm in the market for a new one, if anyone's asking.

    2. I have a backpack...that's not in bad's just not super new, and it's fairly serviceable...and it's a hiking backpack in grey and black with orange lining...I am not using's just sitting in a if you want it, you can have it...though you don't have to take it of course. Just an offer.

    3. You're very kind--if I'm in the area I'll come check it out (though it may involve a lot of walking!)

  2. I'm going to try very hard this week to use the phrase "a fine, wheaty powder."

    1. I could arrange a flour-explosion accident if it would help.