My bus commute

I love living in Seattle but I despise driving in traffic. And Seattle has traffic. Lots of traffic.

Luckily, I seldom join the ranks of daily commuters who drive to work. My current work arrangement brings me into an office two or three days each week. I drive to one site but it’s a reverse commute against the main flow of traffic. The other work site I report to weekly sends me into downtown Seattle, then north. I use transit for this trip.

I enjoy using transit. Instead of stressing out in traffic, I can read a book, catch up on emails, people watch or engage in small talk with other commuters. I’ve had some interesting conversations with other bus riders over the years. Conversations have ranged from sharing local knowledge with visitors and swapping injury stories with another rider using crutches to learning about the craft of wood carving from a Native American.

img_1941Sadly, those kinds of conversations happen less frequently. Today, most transit riders prefer to interact with their personal devices rather than with other passengers. I snapped this candid shot of a fellow passenger on a bus commute. She was absorbed by whatever was on her screen.

As I looked around, I observed that nearly everyone else was doing the same thing. With a wistful sigh, I turned on my phone and scrolled through my social media accounts.

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9 thoughts on “My bus commute

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  1. I notice the same thing nearly everywhere, and most recently at my son’s music lessons. While the 4-5 of us parents passed time compacted into a few bench seats, everyone was staring at a screen. I of course felt morally superior because my screen was a Kindle, and I was Reading, with a capital R, but then my friend texted me, and I stepped right off my high horse! In all seriousness though, it got me to thinking what will be the next big thing–what will occupy our time waiting when smartphones become extinct? Maybe being a good conversationalist will come back around to being the next big thing??

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    1. Good point, Wendy. Writing style has changed too. Folks write brief, partial sentences and abbreviate or substitute emojis for words. And handwritten messages are rare. A parent friend told me that her kids were not taught cursive writing in school.

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      1. My children are in 6th & 8th grades, and did learn cursive, but they write so infrequently that their default remains printing. I’m so struck by that, but at least they both print legibly! I wrote and mailed my best friend a letter recently & she said she loved it. I still love getting mail myself, I do!

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  2. I hate traffic, too. Of course, I don’t experience heavy traffic in my rural setting, but I tell ya, that Middle School parking lot can be a terror when I have to sometimes pick up my grandson.

    Fortunately, a transportation system has been in operation a few years that begins in Athens, makes a stop here in Logan, another stop in Lancaster, a stop at Columbus Airport, and then in downtown Columbus at the bus station. I can ride it into the city in the morning and return home in the evening. I have used it several times, especially to the airport, for both me and house guests. It’s called GOBUS. Very popular with college students, too. Brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood HAPCAP.

    About cursive, both of my grandsons can write cursive, one is 18 (today is his birthday) and one is 14. They have assured me they can read historical documents.

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  3. To me, riding the bus (or train) has always served as a significant, meaningful social transaction that I enjoy. A rich, communal experience because all the faces on the bus represent the city. I’m rubbing shoulders with my neighbors (although some of them, it’s advisable to keep a healthy distance) and for this quiet introvert it’s nice because it gives me the feeling of not being such an island unto myself (smartphones notwithstanding). And just think of all the different routes, with their own character (and cast of characters) and quirks! I’m not a complete pollyanna, either. I’ve got years of bus commuting under my belt. I know what it’s like to be crammed next to a hot window in August when the air conditioning isn’t working and my seat neighbor is taking up space that belongs to me (and they have horrible garlicky breath to boot). Your simple observations in this post are fascinating to me. I like hearing bus stories and impressions. A good friend of mine drives for Metro……he has lots of stories. Do you ever read the articles on the Seattle Transit Blog, Louise? It can get a little wonky for a lay person of my ilk but I still really enjoy updating myself on new articles since my last visit. Lots of passionate writers and activists on there whom I really admire……

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  4. Ironic that all this social media is making us sooooo unsocial! Even though I am an introvert, sometimes I do strike up a conversation with a devise person with success, giving them an opportunity to come out from behind their social blind.

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