harsh winter oncoming

What I remember most about the winter months of 2003 was the snow. In particular, the American Short Fiction course I was taking at Towson University, in what would turn out to be my last semester before dropping out (I went back to finish my degree in 2006, and finished spring 2007). The class met only on Wednesday nights, if my memory serves, from 6pm until 8:30.

Actually, after the first night of the course, we didn’t meet again for like a month and a half. The Baltimore area was either snowed out of service, or threatened to be snowed out, so without fail, the news would come over the radio or the TV or the internet that Towson University was closed, and I’d have a free Wednesday night.

The winter storms culminated in March, with a storm that started very early on a Sunday morning and left several feet of snow on the ground, and me — and most of my neighbors — snowed in for several days. It was really the first single snowstorm of note — as in, the kind of snowstorm you remember six and a half years later — since 1996 (I don’t remember that one very well, except holy shit, there was a lot of snow).

My point is — I think this is going to be a very, very snowy winter.

There was a time when this would have filled me with panic. But that’s when I had a car and drove.*

I make this observation (snowy winter, not panic about driving in the snow) based on these observations:

1. We’ve had an unusually cool summer, it really didn’t start getting muggy and nasty until August, and today feels like spring again (well, comparatively).

2. It’s been a few years since we’ve really had an ‘oh-shit’ snowstorm.**

Anyway, all I’m saying is — stock up on some canned goods.

*A friend once told me, “I was taught to drive in the snow in Pennsylvania, where everyone learns how to drive in the snow. The problem with coming to DC, is that most people can’t actually drive in the snow — but think they can.” Well, that’s not me: I can’t drive in the snow and am fully aware of that fact.

**Y’know, it’s fine for people who grew up and lived in points north to make fun of the mid-atlantic region for not being able to cope with the snow (I’m talking about you, Mr. President), but it actually makes fiscal sense not to have the snow-removal infrastructure that other cities do: we don’t get that much.

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high, Take a look, it’s in a book — Reading Rainbow …

I love to read. I adore reading. I wish I didn’t have to sleep so that I could spend my nights curled up on the couch catching up on the stacks of unread books in my apartment, or revisiting old, beloved, dog-tagged mass-markets piled high on the shelves of my bookcase.

There are two people to blame for this: one is my Dad, who would read to me a chapter of a book every night before I went to bed. The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, The Chronicles of Narnia, that’s how I met them.

The other is Levar Burton.

One of my favorite shows as a kid was Reading Rainbow. I haven’t watched that show in decades, but I was still overwhelmed with sadness just now when I came across this NPR article — it’s curtains closed on RR, because it can’t find a sponsor.

The show’s run is ending, Grant explains, because no one — not the station, not PBS, not the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — will put up the several hundred thousand dollars needed to renew the show’s broadcast rights.

Grant says the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.

Grant says that PBS, CPB and the Department of Education put significant funding toward programming that would teach kids how to read — but that’s not what Reading Rainbow was trying to do.

“Reading Rainbow taught kids why to read,” Grant says. “You know, the love of reading — [the show] encouraged kids to pick up a book and to read.”

There are two types of readers in this world: people who will read stuff on the internet, people who will read the newspapers, and work related magazines, and who might pick up a random James Patterson crapfest mass market for a long airplane trip and contemplate themselves as sophisticated and then pitch the book in a trash can on their way off the plane.

Me? I’ve always been that second kind of reader, the one for whom throwing a book away seems akin to lighting it on fire and burning it while chanting “Sieg Heil!”

LeVar Burton – not that you’ll ever read this, but the reason that Geordi LaForge was my favorite character on TNG had nothing to do with the VISOR of him flying the ship or being in charge of the plumbing — it was because the man playing the character helped instill in me a love of books.

not that i actually use this blog for anything

I am not dead.

I am not fired. But! I did clean my cubicle Friday afternoon, for the first time since I moved into that cube, almost a year ago. I’ll have to post photos — it’s kind of amazing how when you go through all the old notepads and sheets of papers, how there’s actually a desk underneath it all.

Also, I found my stapler! Not that I actually use it for anything.

Okay, so, I’m not fired, which those of you who pay attention to my Twits (@malnurturedsnay) might remember me worrying about two weeks ago or so.

So, I’m not fired. In fact, I’m working pretty much more than ever: my Bookstore job has grown to the point where I can legitimately describe it as a second full time job. For instance, my schedule there this week is for a scheduled whopping thirty-four hours (unless I call out, and I won’t, I’ll probably pack on an hour or two extra), plus the forty I’ll put in at the day-job. My record, however, is seventy-nine hours at both, and as we ramp up for the Christmas season*, I expect I’ll be exceeding that.

My Office job — well, I’m still there, but there’s a lot of friction (still) between me and the head of my department. But I’ve been keeping my head low and, as we say, I’ve been “pounding the phones” and keeping clear of Twitter, Facebook, and this blog.

Anyway.

I’ve got a big, nice long vacation coming up at the end of September — (both jobs!!!!) — the 26th and the 27th, I’ll be in Front Royal, Virginia, celebrating a friend’s wedding earlier in the summer: they’re throwing a bash at her husband’s folks’ place for those who couldn’t make it to the actual event.

The good news is — look, I don’t know if you’ve ever worked long, long hours, but the days? They fly past super quickly. Usually, when Wednesday rolls around and people on Twitter are like, “Yo, Friday, hurry the fuck up!” I’m like, “How is it Wednesday already? This is crazy!” So while you might be saying, “Man, that vacation is a month away!” I’m like, “That vacation is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! I can’t wait!”

From the 28th on, it’ll be a Staycation — and a bit of a working one, too. I rented a storage room in the basement of the building, and I’m looking forward to reclaiming my closet from the bins and boxes that make it really difficult to get in and out of it (my closet is a 5th the total size of my apartment, so I actually do want to use it as a dressing room — and it’d be nice to maybe reorganize my dresser …) In “touristy” things, I’ll probably spend a day at the Mall, and a day exploring the Building Museum, which I still haven’t been to.

Yeah, I’m pretty boring. And by that second weekend? I’ll probably be begging for hours at the Bookstore.

Speaking of the Bookstore (again), things are getting exciting — lots of hiring, including two booksellers who have been hired especially to take ownership of the Kids section, which is great, because that section is like a black hole. Whenever someone asks, “Can you help me find something in Kids?” My response is usually, “Well, I can try.”

No one understands why we have a Kids section, or why we have as much of one as we do — we’re located in a business district. The closest school? I have no idea where it is. It’s very rare that there are ever children in the store, and on the rare occasions when there are, they’re usually tourists. Anyhoo. (If you’re looking for a part-time job? We’re hiring. E-mail me for deets).

Anyway, it’s not quite 9:30, and I’m going to bed. I might actually get eight hours of sleep before the alarm goes off!

*Christmas season at the Bookstore begins when we start receiving our 2010 calendar stock, so I guess it actually began the end of July/beginning of August.

Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?

gwolf-340-Censoredpb

Friday night, and I don’t know how, Gilahi and I began talking about a book that the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit was (very loosely) based on. The book, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, by Gary Wolf, is long out of print, but the discussion intrigued me to the point I wanted to find a copy of it, so I went to the trusted source for used books: Alibris.com.

And I was floored by the prices listed for the book: $16 is the lowest currently available, and the highest? Five-hundred bucks plus.

But I? I found a steal. Three bucks. And I added it to my cart and bought it.

And when I got the confirmation e-mail this morning, I realized the unforgivable sin I’d committed: I neglected to update my shipping address, and this is the first time I’ve ordered from Alibris since moving to Washington, DC.

The book is en-route to Timonium (which is north of Baltimore).

It’s possible it will still reach me: I bought some DVDs off eBay this past winter, and PayPal provided the wrong shipping address to the sellers. So I’ve got my fingers crossed, but I’m pretty sure my own stupidity just cost me what I’m sure would’ve been an awesome read.

apparently, I’m into fetish

On occasion, someone will come into the Bookstore, and be completely surprised, horrified, offended, and totally pissed that we do not lend books. “But that place on 10th Street does!” Yes, but they’re a library and we’re a bookstore, and they lend, and we sell. But in the same way that some people assume that just because we sell books we must accept our competitors’ gift-cards (would you try to use a Circuit City gift card at Best Buy?), others assume that books are free wherever they might be.

But that’s a lie, because at the Bookstore? You gotta buy ‘em or steal ‘em if you want to take them over the threshold and out the door, and yes, we do prosecute.

So here’s a cool perk about working in the Bookstore: the staff gets to borrow books!

Now, there are limits: I can only borrow two at a time. I can only borrow QPs (which are oversized paperbacks) and Cloths (hard covers). I cannot borrow mass markets, magazines, newspapers, or any media (CDs or DVDs). Failure to return the title on time removes you from eligibility to borrow again for a month. Thus, the Bookstore is not only my employer, it’s also my personal library (that I only have to share with forty or fifty coworkers).

However, I don’t check books out very often – usually, I’d rather just buy them outright, because I tend to be hard on my books – I read on the Metro, on the bus, and while eating. Heck, I even use them as coasters on occasion. I crack the spine and I fold pages to act as placeholders, so it’s pretty uncommon for me to read a book that doesn’t wind up looking rather the worse for wear.

In fact, I think I’ve only borrowed two books: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld, and Dan Simmon’s Drood, the latter of which I wound up buying.

So imagine my surprise Saturday morning when I clocked in and my eyes drifted up to a list of names and book titles which were late in being returned. Imagine my surprise when I realized a book had apparently been checked out to me on July 27th. Imagine my surprise when I saw the title: Fetish.

Here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure I’d remember checking out a book, especially since it isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. You’ve gotta track down a manager to enter the inventory number into the computer. So who checked a book out under my name and why? I was pretty hot about this Saturday, and not just because I have no interest in reading a book title Fetish. (and also not just because everyone I worked with was teasing me about my apparent reading habits).

Well, the big reason is this: a person who checks out a title is financially responsible for it. I don’t want to pay for something someone else bought, and apparently returned, because I found both copies of the title in the appropriate section.

As far as I know, the book hasn’t yet been checked back in, and everyone who pays attention to the notification board thinks I’m reading garbage like Fetish. I’m sure it’s a very nice, well written book.

Things could be worse. Someone could have checked this out to me.

This Day In History

1877: The Battle of Big Hole sounds far more porn-titleish than it actually is.

1944: Smokey the Bear is created.

1945: The third and only remaining nuclear bomb at the time in existence, Fat Man, obliterates Nagasaki, Japan. 70,000 people are immediately killed.

1974: Richard M. Nixon becomes the first President of the United States of America to resign his office.

1978: I am born.

**

Today’s horoscope:

The Moon moves into Aries today and squares Pluto, making this a day of intensity and high excitement. You may feel drawn to act first and think later, as events began to pick up speed. Try to slow down if you can and take heed of the potential consequences of your actions.

This is hilarious and awesome — I’m sitting at my couch, trying to decide whether I’m motivated or not to do laundry this morning. Clearly, I’m thinking too much, and I should just get off my ass and do it. I know the potential consequences of my actions — clean clothes!

**

So, let’s see — I’m thirty-one. I live in a 400 square foot studio apartment, have two cats, am single, don’t own a car, yet for all the walking I do I weigh more than I should. I also eat food that’s bad for me, enjoy awful 1980s Saturday cartoon shows more than I should, and own enough books to open a (small) library. I have an Office job I’m ambivalent about, and a part-time job selling books I love. (I love the job, not the books, I mean, I love some of the books, but not all of them, yes?). I am also a blog whore, and if I put as much effort into writing a book as I do writing my blog, I’d probably be the next Stieg Larsson.

Wait, scratch that, I want to be alive to enjoy being rich.

Anyway, here’s to the next year.

Secret ____ at the Ambassadors’ Reception

Maybe it’s just me? And I saw this first on Twitter, but when you mention “secret” and “Ambassadors’ Reception”? I’m thinking spies, not Tango dancers!

Also, grammar nazis: so, the video says ‘Ambassador’s Reception’, but since it’s a reception for all of the ambassadors in DC, shouldn’t it be the ‘Ambassadors‘ Reception’? Or am I crazy?

If I can’t have Worf or Chewbacca on my team because they’re not *real*, what’s the point of having *fantasy* football?

An e-mail went around the Office today, inquiring who might be interested in a Fantasy Football league. I replied that I’d be happy to join — provided William “Refrigerator” Perry (who I only know because he had a football on a chain that he beat on Cobra with) could be on my team. I received no reply, and while on some subconscious level I understand that fantasy sports team work because they utilize real players and real stats, wouldn’t a true fantasy football team be awesome?

Confession time: I’ve been to one football game in my life. Redskins versus somebody. It was wholly forgettable, and I rarely watch the game on tv, unless I’m in a bar, or unless it looks like the Ravens might actually win. Superbowl? Would rather be stuck over the toilet with a good book and a massive bowel movement. So the point I’m making is that the only positions I know to exist in football are “quarterback” and “tackles.” A wikipedia search informed that a football team has eleven players, and if I could build a fantasy football team? Here we go:

LCARS10_small

Quarterback: Lt. Commander Data’s android reflexes will allow him to resist even coordinated tackles by multiple opposing players, assuming, of course, that he is able to be caught due to his superior android speed. In addition, he’s most likely just going to make a winning throw from anywhere on the field, so who needs to avoid being tackled, anyway?

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The Center: Aside from throwing the ball to Mr. Data, I really have no idea what the Center player is supposed to do, with the possible exception of charging the opposing team and tackling as many of them as possible. Tackling? How about ripping their arms off? I think that would make them rather ineffective, so I’m picking Chewbacca. Apparently he’s already playing for Major League Baseball.

gi-joe-the-movie-b

According to the Wikipedia page I’m trawling through, a Full Back is expected to do a lot of blocking. If a position requires brawn, and I can’t use Chewbacca twice? I’m going to go with Sergeant Slaughter. Okay, he’s no William Perry, but I don’t know what position that guy played anyway. All I know is Slaughter could stand up to a whole bunch of Cobra BATs and emerge victorious, and that’s good enough for me.

images250px-Odo

I need two Wide Receivers, and who better than Odo and Snake Eyes? Whether utilizing crazy weird physics-bending shape changing rules, or mad crazy Ninja skills, they’ll overcome their opponents with style and grace and possibly a bit of goo.

Okay, so I’m at five, which means I need six more. Because I’m going to just give up even trying to understand all of the assorted positions blah-blah-blah:

he-man

He-Man, because, y’know, he’s big and stuff. Also, he comes with the Grayskull mojo, and likes cats.

359

He’s been alive for over four hundred years, I’m sure in that time Duncan MacLeod has picked up some moves. Okay, most of them involve swords: I’m sure he’ll do just fine.

harry-potter-400a320yoda-400x300

Between Harry’s wand (and, y’know, flying around on his broom), and Yoda’s mastery of the Force, no opponents will be able to stand long against my fantasy football team.

The-Replacements_025

And finally, Shane Falco. Yeah, he’s been demoted to “not quarterback”, but as long as the motherfucker’s got heart (and can sing along to Aretha Franklin), he’s got a home here.

Yeah, it’s only ten. Bite me. Oh!

The 11th member of my team:

jaws

Yeah, Jaws.

freeeeeeedom! (from bus routes)

Okay — people who get on the Metro, and stand for four or stops, even though there’s plenty of seating? Weird me out. I’m sorry, they just do.

On July 1st, Montgomery County stopped discounting the fare for the #96 shuttle, which runs from Grosvenor to the Rock Spring business park. It used to be thirty-five cents, less than half the cost of a Metrorail transfer, and nearly the quarter the cost of a full fare ($1.35 cash, or $1.25 with a Smartrip card). I didn’t actually notice this until I happened to look at the fare box one day as I pressed my pass against it, and remarked, “What’s up with the fare?”

When the driver told me the discounted fare no longer applied, I think he expected me to be upset. Instead? I was fucking ecstatic. Because now? I’m free.

Look, I’m not a miser. But I do believe in being careful with my spending. After all, I don’t work a part-time job because I enjoy being there. Well, I mean, I do enjoy working it, but I wouldn’t work it so much if I didn’t need the cash flow. So I always tried to take the most economical way to work to save my hard earned bucks, and for the longest time (like, the sixteen months I’ve been working in the Office), that meant catching the 96 from Grosvenor at 6:40, and then hoping it would be on time or slightly late so that I could catch the 3:00pm back (because if I missed the 3pm? I’d be waiting twenty minutes or more for another).

But now? Now I don’t have to wait for the 96. Now I can exit at just about any Metro station, and take just about any bus. Numerous J bases that run from Silver Spring to Medical Center and points shy of Rockville are open to me for both my in and outbound commuting needs. The #47, which runs from Montgomery Mall to Bethesda.

It’s been awesome: lately, enroute home, I’m always on either the J2 or the J3. There’s a J2 “accordion” bus I’ve been on a few times. I’ve wanted to ride one since I saw that scene in Stranger Than Fiction, but alas, when the bus makes turns? Not nearly so accordionish, even when making left-hand turns.

This morning, I was on the platform early enough to catch the 6:01 train at Woodley Park. I’d been browsing bus routes the previous nights from Bethesda and Medical Center, and idly began wondering if I’d have enough time to make it to the 6:16 #47 — the alternative being to stand under a leaky bus shelter at Grosvenor for ten or fifteen minutes until one of two buses arrived. When we got to Bethesda, I figured I’d just for it: honestly, what did I have to lose? Numerous buses run from Bethesda in the direction I need to go, so even if I missed one of those, I could always read my book and wait for another to come.

I walked up the escalator steps, because I was already cutting this somewhat close, and let me tell you, my legs felt like rubber by the time I got to the top. Bethesda’s escalators aren’t the longest in the Metro system, but they’re not exactly Farragut North, y’know? Well, maybe you don’t know, so I’ll tell you: Farragut North has some damn short escalators.

As it happened, I stepped off the escalator just as the 47 was pulling into the bus lane. We waited at the station for a few moments, and I was dropped off at 6:35 — not only a full five minutes before when the schedule estimates the bus’s arrival, but also a full five minutes sooner than I’d’ve arrived if I’d caught the #6 from Grosvenor (assuming it was on time).

And then I was at the office twenty five minutes before I was supposed to be. Well, this kind of sucks.

Four Loves of my Life

Instead of doing the responsible thing tonight (laundry), I vegged out and watched Gran Torino, the Clint Eastwood film about an embittered Korean war vet who learns to love the Hmong and give up his beautiful 1972 car. Walt Kowalski’s connection to his car is a major theme of the flick (the car doesn’t actually do much except look beautiful), and it got me thinking on the cars I’ve owned in the past:

Merit-90AcuraLegend

My first car was a charcoal gray 1989 Acura Legend, a big bulky luxury car I bought in 1997 shortly after graduating high school. I say “I bought”, but I think it was mostly my parents’ decision. It had a tape deck, a sunroof which always leaked, and leather seats (and seat heaters!!!!) that got hot as hell in the summer. The thing was a monster — fast as hell, and I’m probably lucky I didn’t get myself killed. I think it lasted about two years, and then it started running rough and I sold it to Carmax for a thousand bucks. A buddy of mine was in the National Guard with a guy who worked in the parts department at Carmax and he said it was stripped for parts.

98wrangler

After getting rid of the Legend, I bought a one year old Jeep Wrangler. I didn’t own it for very long, but it left an indelible impression. It is the only vehicle I owned that I can honestly say I loved. I mean, I didn’t have sex with it or anything, but … y’know, unless you’ve owned a Jeep, you just wouldn’t understand. I loved taking the doors off the thing, I loved sleeping in it on hot summer nights when my apartment’s air conditioning was busted, I loved hitting deer with it. Well, okay, I didn’t actually love hitting deer with it, but I loved that they rarely did any damage to the beast of a vehicle. I did stupid stuff with it, and not just driving across the occasional lawn: I covered the back bumper and tire cover in bumper stickers, and for some stupid reason, I bought grill inserts and painted them bright yellow.

It was a blue-gray color, full steel doors, soft top, and the first manual transmission I owned. I didn’t actually know how to drive a stick when I bought it. I was working at a Domino’s shop in the Hickory Ridge Village Center, and the GM owned a stick. After work, my friend Emily would drive over and the boss would let me take his car out on the mean streets of Columbia, MD at night and she bit by bit taught me how to drive a manual.

Well, I loved the Jeep, but I treated it rough, and after putting eighty thousand miles on it in four years, I finally decided to trade it in. I sold it to Carmax, and the appraisal write-up they gave me had, as a note, “Obviously well loved.” I still have that, somewhere.

10-01.celica.ltupict.500

So, in 2003, I traded the Jeep in for something different. I wanted something faster, and a bit more economical. I wound up with a 2000 Toyota Celica, a beautiful royal blue car that looked (and was!) fast as hell. I especially liked that my Celica had no spoiler, a feature I’ve seen on very few others. It was a fast, spiffy little car, but it was a big change going from a big Jeep to a car so low to the ground. This car was stripped: it had power steering, but that was about it — the windows had hand cranks, and I had no remote control over the doors. With it, I taught myself how to change a tire. I had two major accidents in it: the first, a guy in a pickup truck cut across traffic and I was unable to stop in time. About two years later, a week after Thanksgiving 2007, a deer hit me and totaled the car.

5ES

Car number four: the first brand-new car I ever bought, coincidentally, also from Carmax, which has a new-car Toyota dealership in Laurel, MD. I was very happy (for the most part) with the Celica, so I knew I wanted another Toyota. I narrowed my search down pretty quickly to either a Corolla or a Matrix, and the test drive settled everything: I left the lot with a 2008 Toyota Matrix. I only owned it for eight months: on July 4th, 2008, I sold it to my Dad, who was in the market for a new car.

It was also blue, same shade as the Celica, I think (perhaps a bit darker). It was also the first “grownup” car I bought — that’s a description that cannot be applied to either the Wrangler or the Celica. Four doors (and a hatchback), it was a great little vehicle that was far peppier than its boxy shape would lend one to believe. Also, it had a full bevy of features: automatic windows, tire-pressure monitors, seats that would scream if too much weight was placed on them without the seat belt being plugged in (let me tell you, this scared the poop out of me the first night I used the car for groceries and had a jug of milk on the passenger seat!)

So there they are — four loves of my life. Maybe someday, there’ll be a fifth, and the list will continue. For now, I’m happy to leave my transportation needs to my feet, buses, and the Metrorail.

Also: for clarification, all those pictures were found on Google — those are not pictures of the actual vehicles I owned.

i may have been drunk at the time, but i remembered her first

Last night, at the Bookstore, I was staffing the Information desk, which lately means that I was walking around the front of the store, pestering everyone in sight with “Hi, can I help you find anything?” Seriously folks, I’d rather let you browse in peace, but these orders come from the top — don’t tell me you don’t like it, write a letter to corporate.

Anyway, I noticed a somewhat familiar looking older woman jumping (skipping?) around in anxiety. I wasn’t sure why she was jumping around, or why she looked familiar, so I approached her, and she said she didn’t need any help, she’d just farted as a guy had sat down next to her on one of the benches we have up front. “He’s still there!” she said.

And then we had one of those, “Don’t I know you?” moments.

But my memory clicked first.

About a year ago, I went to an Office related happy hour at The Barking Dog in Bethesda. I made my departure at some point and made my way to the Bethesda Metro station, where I wound up waiting on the platform next to this woman, who’d been out biking. We both got on the train and had a conversation about, nothing, really. I remember that she’d used to work for Radio Free Asia (or something similar), and we talked about living in the District, and I told her that I worked at the Bookstore, and she mentioned she stopped in all the time.

In any case, she then remembered me and complemented me on shaving my head. “You look much more handsome,” she said, and, can I just say? Such a nice change of pace from the “You look like a psychopathic homicidal axe murderer” I usually get.

The service manager (which is a term to identify the supervisor or manager who is ‘on-call’ and responsible for all situations requiring a manager to resolve) walked over to see what we were having such an animated conversation about.

“I met him when he was drunk on the Metro,” she said.

“I was just a little tipsy,” I said.

“You were more than a little tipsy.”

I may have been more than a little tipsy, but I remembered you, lady!

In any case, last night’s encounter reminded me of something that happened last winter, and really, for some odd reason, made me realize that DC is my home now. I was running up to the bus-stop at 18th & K just as the light changed and the L2 began to pull forward. For some reason, the driver turned her head, stopped the bus, opened the door, and greeted me with a warm, “I was wondering where you were!”

WMATA rotates their drivers around, and she’s no longer on the route. And it’s odd, I think?, that it took a bus driver of all people to make me feel at home — not because of the job, but because, y’know, there’s really not a whole lot of contact except for the “Hi” and “Bye” at the start and end of the trip.

Her replacement wasn’t very familiar with the route on her first night — a passenger had to provide some direction, and I remember when another driver had trouble getting around some construction on Dupont Circle, and a few of us actually got out of the bus to help the driver negotiate a tricky turn the bus was forced to take.

Because, sometimes, community? It’s just talking to ladies with bikes when you’re drunk, and helping the bus driver out when his route is blocked and he doesn’t know the neighborhood. Because it’s always nice when a bus waits an extra few seconds, or some nearly total stranger compliments you.

is WMATA really the oblivious one, though?

One of the reasons I try to get to Grosvenor so early in the morning is because I know that after 7:00, the number 96 bus starts getting packed. Personally, I prefer not to be sandwiched between two people, so I try to catch the 6:30 #6 or the 6:40 #96 — and most days? It’s only about a dozen people, at most, onto one of those little RideOn shuttle buses at those times.

So, an hour ago, I saw this tweet:

I think i might fall over fr shock if one day the bus i take in the AM wasn’t overflowing with ppl… Wmata is so oblivious, it hurts..

This was posted about 7:15, and while I don’t know how rush hour is in other cities, when I get to Grosvenor at a little after 6:30? The trains heading into DC are usually pretty damn crowded already.

So I guess my point is — it’s kind of silly to complain about WMATA being “oblivious” when you’re the one complaining about crowded buses during DC’s rush hours. Here’s a solution: wake up earlier, and travel off peak. It works for me*!

*Of course, I get flex hours at work.