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Posts Tagged ‘commute’

Friday Fun! (Creepy Sprouts Guy)

December 17, 2010 9 comments

Hello my lovely readers and welcome to the new readers who found me through the Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge I’m hosting for 2011!

When you take the same public transit to work every day at the same time, you start to get to know the people on your route.  Generally, not through actual names, but you recognize them and their behaviors, and if you’re an Amanda, you start to give them appropriate nick-names.  Stargate Chick. (She wears an SG-1 patch on her jacket. No, I am not kidding). Hot Scrubs Guy (Um, nuff said?)  Fast-talking Latinas (They always talk to each other really excitedly in Spanish, and I am *dying* to know what they talk about every morning).  The most interesting by far though is Creepy Sprouts Guy.

Creepy Sprouts Guy wasn’t always on my route, and I didn’t notice him when he first appeared.  One day I got on the bus and spotted an empty aisle seat in one of those two seat sections.  I walked toward it and just as I was about to sit, I realized that the guy sitting in the window seat had one of those boxes of sprouts in his lap.  But it was open.  And he was eating them.  By the handful.  Without even thinking I went from ass about to sit to ass quickly standing up and walked to the back of the bus and stood holding the bar.  I wondered if I was over-reacting.  I mean, it’s not that odd to eat sprouts directly from the container on the bus, is it?  Wait.  I couldn’t even think that with a straight face.  I mean, you’re not even supposed to eat on the bus, let alone eat sprouts straight from the container.  Maybe he was running late, and it was the only thing in his fridge, I attempted to rationalize.  A couple stops later, I noticed an older gentleman coming onto the bus.  He headed for the empty seat next to Creepy Sprouts Guy and did the exact same start to sit but then change to standing mid-sit move that I had done a couple of stops earlier.  Clearly the creep-factor was not just impacting me.  By the time we got to my stop, the bus was almost entirely full and still not a single person was willing to sit next to Creepy Sprouts Guy.

The next day I got on the bus and saw the same guy.  And people?  He was eating sprouts. Again!  Intrigued now, I’ve been quietly sneaking glances at him every day.  He’ll put his sprouts in the seat next to him and just grab them by the handful, eating while staring out the window or reading a book.  He’s freakishly skinny.  Like, I can see his collarbones and wrist bones through his winter clothing skinny.  I want to walk up to him, grab the sprouts, and inform him that maybe a bagel would be a better breakfast choice.  He’ll deliberately move his sprouts away if he sees someone needing a seat, but no one will sit next to him.  I can’t explain just what is so creepy about the sprouts eating.  It might be the way he does it.  Slowly.  Deliberately.  As if he’s eating the best cake in the world and the rest of us are clearly stupid for not partaking in it as well.

Then, as if he wasn’t already odd enough, in recent weeks right when our bus gets to a certain bridge, he pulls out one of those old-school combs with the wide-set teeth and combs his hair that’s so blond it’s almost white.  This wouldn’t be so odd, but he has a really short haircut, and the hair clearly doesn’t need to be combed.  He’ll give a few slow, deliberate motions as we cross the bridge, then as soon as we’re over the bridge, he puts the comb away and goes back to eating his sprouts.

My confusion and fascination over his behavior is reaching the point where I just might have to attempt to strike up a conversation with him.  Although I have yet to think up an opener besides, “Morning! Nice day for a bunch of sprouts, eh?”

Friday Fun! (Graduation and Strategizing Season)

December 10, 2010 8 comments

This week I finally finished all of my graduate work not only for the semester, but ever!  My MLIS will be officially awarded in January, but as of this week, I don’t ever have to do homework or go to class again!  I am so excited, not only to finally be done, but to officially be a professional librarian.  🙂  Not to mention that I’ll have more time for reading and writing for fun, hehe.

In other news, the winter cold has finally hit Boston.  I am so glad I managed to find a nice, cheap pair of warm boots just in time.  My pair from last winter fell completely apart by the end of the season.  I blame salt and all the walking I do all the time.  Thus we have entered what I refer to as the strategizing season.  Bostonians start walking that line between looking cute/fashionable and actually being warm.  There of course is a whole urban dweller look to being warm though.  The multiple layers.  The knee-high boots for the ladies.  The various versions of gloves that still let you use your smartphones and iPods.  My personal favorites are the commuter gloves that you let fold back the fingertip of the glove to use your smartphone, but glomits (fingerless gloves with a mitten flap you can fold back) seem to be the most popular on the bus.  Personally, I currently have two pairs of fingerless gloves.  I need to get the commuter gloves.  My fingers can’t take it.

Then there’s the how to stay warm at the bus stop strategies.  There’s the stationary dancers who hop from foot to foot.  The leaners who attempt to block the wind by leaning against something.  This strategy makes sense at bus stops with a shelter.  At ones without a shelter though, they wind up leaning against a telephone pole, and I honestly think any warmth they feel is psychosomatic.  Then there’s the stoic crowd that I’m generally a part of.  We stand there firmly in one place either staring the direction the bus is supposed to come from glaring at it or employing the watched pot never boils concept and looking the opposite direction.

But it’s not just the commute that’s cold.  If you have to pay for your own heat, your apartment tends to be not as warm as one would like either.  The layering employed for the commute gets extended inside, only the coat is replaced with a sweatshirt in an attempt to trick yourself into thinking that your apartment is actually a bit warmer than outside.  At least there’s no wind inside.  Personally, I acquired an electric blanket to put at the bottom of my pile of blankets.  This means that I’ve been winding up in bed earlier and earlier every night.  Since the tv isn’t in there, this means a lot more reading is occurring.  I’ve also heard of other strategies, such as running the oven, doing jumping jacks, drinking tea repeatedly, running the hot water in the shower, etc…  Ah, winter.  How we’ve missed you.

I actually don’t mind the cold that much.  I’ve lived in New England my whole life, so I’m used to it.  I do, however, think it’s a travesty when it occurs without snow.  I love snow! You hear that, weather?  If it’s this cold out, you may as well make it snow….

Friday Fun (The Hill)

I’ve mentioned previously that in spite of an intense desire to be athletic, I am not, nor have I ever been.  I’m not talking about fit or in shape; I’m talking about that ability to just run up a hill or jump into a basketball game and not get hurt or…well, you get the picture.  Even at my most fit, when I routinely biked at least 15 miles a day and had rock-hard abs, I still got hit in the face with the ball playing backyard volleyball.  Heck, even when I would go running I certainly didn’t look good doing it.  When it comes to fitness, I am not gracefully athletic.  I am awkward.

Anyway, as part of my bid to get back in shape and relieve my anxiety and do good things for the planet, I’ve been biking to work.  Well, not all the way to work.  I can’t make it that far yet.  It takes two city buses to get to my job, so I’ve been biking to the bus connection, which luckily is just about half-way to work.  I live partway down one side of a very large hill.  In the mornings, I have a nice, gradual slope up for a couple of blocks followed by around five blocks of downhill easy awesomeness.  I’m sure you can see where this is going. 

In the evenings, I hit the hill at the end of my ride.  It’s like a giant middle finger taunting me about how much easier this all would have been if I’d just taken that second bus today.  I’ll be riding along, feeling pretty fit and great, passing all the cars stuck in stand-still traffic and happy in the knowledge that I’ve cut my commute time nearly in half.  Then the landmarks start popping up to remind me that the evil hill is nearly upon me.  Now this hill is not just a hill.  The top of it also happens to consist of a bridge, and bridges in Boston for some unearthly reason are narrower than the roads, which means cars that used to be arms-length away are suddenly at your elbow.  And this isn’t a pretty bridge over a river or a gully or anything.  No, no, it’s over the lovely commuter traffic on the Pike (translation: interstate, highway, Autobahn with a speed limit). 

So, I’m at the end of my ride, tired, hungry, sweaty, and there’s the hill.  I dutifully switch down a gear, but something’s fucked up in my bike’s gears and it won’t catch when I go down from 6 to 5.  I have to go 6 to 5 to 4 then back up to 5 for it to catch.  This makes me wobble for a moment in a way that makes the cars near me worry that I’m about to tip over into them.  (This is a fair concern as I did tip over into a car once when I was in highschool, but that’s another story).  Anyway, so after the wobbling, I try to regain my speed, generally to no avail.  And there I am, moving at a pace that eventually becomes so slow that pedestrians are passing me and giving me that “Why don’t you just get off and walk the bike?” look.  No matter how many gears I’ve moved up since starting this project (5, thank-you-very-much).  No matter how much faster I get.  No matter what, this hill is always just as difficult, and I always reach a near stand-still at the top of it.  

It just refuses to get any easier.  It refuses to stop making me look like an out-of-shape loser.  In a way, this hill reminds me a lot of my anxiety.  I want to just breeze through the day perfectly happy and not conjuring up new things to worry about and not get stuck in a loop of obsessive thoughts.  I want to get up that hill looking powerful and athletic.  But no matter what I do, no matter how I start the day, no matter how many times I tell myself this is going to be an awesome day and I’m going to do the right things and I’m going to treat the people I care about with the peaceful trust and respect they deserve, I still wind up sitting at home or in my cubicle at work with a racing heart and panicky thoughts powerhousing through my head.  

My anxiety is just like that hill.  It makes me look like an idiot and makes me feel real shitty about myself, but nothing I do seems to make me able to conquer it.  And yet, I get up each day and say “today is going to be the day I beat that goddammed hill.”  And that’s what I say every day about my anxiety too. Someday I am going to power through the ride and realize at the end of it that that hill felt non-existent, and someday I’ll be at the end of the day and realize that my anxiety is non-existent too.

Friday Fun! (Biking, Gardening, Wii)

Hello my lovely readers!   I hope your week treated you all well.  It’s finally feeling like summer around here.  You would think the summery weather would mean timely buses, but no.  The T has made me late just as much as it did in the winter.  I take this as a sign that I need to speed up project Amanda bikes to work.  Last weekend, I attempted the route with my gal pals Nina and E.  It turned out I was only able to make it 8 of the 12 miles.  I’m going to have to work up to it.  In spirit of that, I’ve been planning on biking to my bus connection to start building up the muscles. 🙂  I had  yet to do it this week, partly because of rain and partly because I realized I need to figure out something to wear under my skirts while on the bike.  However!  I am determined to bike at least 3 days next week.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I transplanted my seedlings, which are now plants, into their permanent containers last weekend.  The containers are a bunch of different vibrant colors, and they really brighten up the kitchen!  Now I just need to start my strawberry plants, transplant my flower into a hanging basket, and start either onion or spinach (I have yet to decide which).  It’s all lots of fun, and I can’t wait to see the produce I (hopefully) get in the end!

I played Kirby for the first time this week, and I now get the appeal of that odd little pink blob.  It’s a lot of fun!  I also downloaded one of the super marios (he’s in a castle and goes into paintings….) onto my Wii.  It’s one I didn’t really ever play as a kid, so it’s all-new to me.  It’s a lot like a predecessor of Mario Galaxy, so it’s a bunch of fun.  Of course, I can’t wait to try the new Galaxy when it comes out next week!

I hope you all have lovely weekends.  I know I’ll be seeing at least a few of you tomorrow at malibtweetup4!  Yay!

Wolf Bite Wednesday (Snowbrellas)

February 3, 2010 4 comments

I’m starting a new weekly meme that I hope you all will enjoy.  I was inspired by a comment on my review of the book Ethan: Site 39.  The author stopped by and called it “the Wolf Bite,” which I found hilarious and promptly decided this needs to be a meme.

The meme will be a relatively brief and hopefully humorous rant about something that irritates me.  Hence the whole bite thing.  I will be trying for it to be witty and not whiny so you guys will enjoy.  Crossing my fingers, er, toes since I’m typing, let’s get down to business with the first topic: Snowbrellas!

I was pleased as punch to see snow greeting me this morning when I left for my commute.  Thoroughly enjoying feeling it land on my face and decorate my coat, I walked to my bus stop.  There I was met with one of my prime winter-time irritants.  No, not plow trucks or ice.  The Snowbrella.

The Snowbrella is what I have dubbed umbrellas when people carry them in the snow.  Long I have attempted to figure out what exactly possesses people to carry umbrellas when it’s snowing.  Do they not understand that the snow won’t soak through their clothing like rain does?  Have they never heard of the lovely concept of the winter hat?  Do they think if the snow touches anything but their boots they will melt?  Then I start to wonder if they’ve ever even ventured out in the snow without an umbrella or, god forbid, played in it.

The wonderful winter scenes of falling snow and the various snazzy hats and scarves people don in the winter are ruined by the appearance of these bulky snowbrellas.  They jar me from the pleasure of a season I enjoy with the association with the freezing rain of fall.  Not to mention that I then have to navigate not to get whapped upside the head by a snowbrella, because we all know how bad people are at managing where their snowbrella goes.

What the hell, people?  Acquire a winter hat, leave the snowbrella at home, stop ruining the scenery for everyone else, and enjoy the winter.  You live in New England, for heaven’s sake!  Enjoy it!

Plus, you look like a complete idiot hiding under your umbrella from the snow.

The Masterpieces App

November 13, 2009 2 comments

I recently acquired an iPod Touch, which led to me downloading some apps.  This means that the Oregon Trail app is competing with my current read for attention on my commute.  One day though while browsing the app store, I found one called “Masterpieces.”  It was around 20 books for 99cents.

I have no idea why I bought this.  I have a distinct aversion to eBooks.  I don’t care if that makes me an old fogey at the ripe age of 23; I much prefer holding the paper book firmly in my hand.  Not to mention that I hate staring at screens for fun when I stare at them at work all day.

Today though my bus was abnormally full, which led me to standing and holding the pole with one hand leaving one hand free.  Usually that’s enough to hold a book, but my current one has a broken binding and pages that have to be held in.  I also couldn’t play the Oregon Trail with only one hand.  All of a sudden, I found myself opening the Masterpieces app.  Just as I had chosen a classic to start reading, a seat next to me freed up.  Relieved, I sat down and pulled out my paper book.

I realized later though that although I was relieved to be able to read my paper book, I also was relieved when I was standing up that I had an option besides music to get me through the commute.

Maybe there’s a place in my life for eBooks after all.