Sunday, June 5, 2016

Portland women (or, Blowing smoke)

The 10 never fails to deliver on providing an engaging experience. It certainly has its own identity, which tends to be more light-hearted, humorous, familiar, and just generally easy going. That contrasts with some other routes which always seem to be a little on edge, with frayed nerves on the verge of breakdown. Of course I'm only generalizing and things can switch on a dime. After all, people are people and we're all in the same bus.

Our first southbound, we pulled up to Oakland Park Blvd. While servicing the stop, I could hear a whistle. Sure enough, it was one of my homeless regulars, standing in the median with heavy traffic whizzing by. County policy forbids 'flag stops', which means waiting for someone to cross the street through traffic. This is for good reason; that's how accidents happen. I started to pull forward when the light turned red and gave the whistler a reprieve. He slid in an increasingly rare free trip ticket and when it spit back out he slyly pocketed it rather than reinsert it. Who knows how many trips that ticket was eventually stretched out into. Cleaned up in his red polo and shorts, he had a court date downtown and was cutting it close.
"Can you believe they busted me for having an open Corona on the beach?" he offered up.
I had to sympathize with him since according to their ads Corona is made for the beach.

On the northbound we were just entering Pompano and I could see a familiar gray head.
"There he is, the Weatherman! What's the forecast today?" I greeted the regular.
Though surprised to see me, he didn't miss a beat: "Chili today, hot tamale!"
He's got a catchier one-liner which I still need to catch accurately before writing it down, but suffice to say it's along these same lines.
"What do you call baby potatoes? Tater tots!" he sneaks one more joke in before exiting, followed by the most raucous laughter at the sheer inanity of it all.

Up the line at Hillsboro, a clean cut guy is complimenting a young woman and getting nowhere. She ignores him completely, getting the best of him, so he comments out loud:
"The women here are so conceited! In Portland they're so much nicer!" along with some choice words about vain local women and wish you a good day, Miss.
Of course these sorts of diatribes rarely have the desired effect and that held true in this case.

On the southbound, a girl with model good looks is asking me questions at length and in detail to the point of obvious flirtation. She even follows me off the bus at Central Terminal, with a winning smile and gentle hand taps. She presents herself as a visitor with limited English, but she's communicating quite clearly. I assist her as best I can, with SUNsational Service.

At some point a woman boards with a fine looking service animal. Gray, short hair, and a rhinestone-studded muzzle. These are working animals and they know their place; she scoots under the seat and is perfectly silent.

The bus we're rolling in this day is notorious among the fleet for its heavy exhaust. I'm talking billowing black clouds when the accelerator is applied. It's enough that you don't want to be nearby if you have your convertible's top down -  or if you're on a scooter. At Commercial sitting at a red light, a guy jumped off his scooter and came running up to my window (which I always keep open regardless of temperature).
"Hey, did you know you're blowing a lot of smoke?" he kindly informed me.

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