The woman in pajamas

I don't remember which route it was, but a few days ago my a bus driver was ridiculously COVID-conscious, for a date so late in the pandemic.

At every stop, he only allowed masked passengers to board at the front. He yelled that passengers who weren't wearing a mask had to enter through the bus's back door, and seat themselves at the back of the bus.

Of course, this resulted in confusion at every stop, because by bus rules everyone's supposed to board and pay at the front of the bus. Boarding through the back door is fare evasion.

At one stop, a maskless passenger waiting to board was so confused by the driver's shouted instructions, he stood still for a long moment before walking slowly toward the back door — too slowly. "Can't wait all day," said the driver, and pulled away, leaving the bewildered but slow-walking man behind.

The driver engaged in a running conversation with a woman in the chat seat (front right, sideways seat, closest to the driver). They'd both had it twice, and the driver insisted he was *not* going to get COVID a third time. They talked loudly about booster shots and symptoms and how they'd reacted to the jabs, and for the whole trip, the driver was wearing his mask under his nose.

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Waiting for a different bus on a different day, I was standing directly under the 'bus stop' sign, but looking the wrong way (at a pretty girl, of course). By bus rules, I should've been looking for the bus, and as soon as I wasn't, whoom, the #60 blasted by at thirty miles an hour. Didn't slow in the slightest.

The next bus was 12 minutes away, and it was late so I stood there waiting for almost twenty minutes. It was frustrating, but my own damned fault, so it made me laugh. I've laughed at other people for not paying attention at the bus stop. Why shouldn't I laugh at me when I'm just as stupid? 

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When the next bus finally came and I got on, a pretty Hispanic woman was sitting in the sideways seats up front. She was wearing heavy flannel pajamas, and slippers adorned with fluffy baseball-size lumps or pink and gray. No jacket, even though it's winter.

Cool slippers, I wanted to say, but being old and never much good with gorgeous women anyway, I couldn't find the word 'slippers' in my brain. I knew 'shoes' was wrong, so I hesitated, trying to find what I wanted to say. Finally it had been too long, and all I'd said was, "Cool," so I gave up and walked way, way to the back of the bus.

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Couple of days ago, riding up California Avenue, an especially mean-looking white woman got onto the bus. She was almost grimacing.

Oh, this might be good, I thought, and reached for my notebook. She looked so grumpy, anything might set her off, but she said a cheery "Good morning" to the driver.

Sitting down, she looked around, and tossed me a "Good morning" too. There were only a few people on the bus, and she gave everyone a "Good morning."

I smiled and nodded, and waited to see if she'd do something notebook-worthy, but instead she engaged someone else in a cordial conversation, grimacing all the way.

That lady's grimace was her smile, I decided. She looked angry all the way until she got off the bus, but she wasn't angry. 'Resting bitch face' to the nth power, that's all.

You think you can judge people, but sometimes you can't.

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Another errand had me switching buses at the airport, something I've never done before.

Several routes go to and through the airport, and I'd only ridden through, but hadn't gotten off there. Never before had I noticed that the airport bus stop is incredibly not convenient for anyone who's flying from or landing at the airport.

Sea-Tac Airport is a big place, the size of a small city. There are dozens of doors into the various terminals along the main driveway, and all along between all those doors, there are taxi stops and private shuttle stops everywhere, but the one and only public bus stop is all the way at the end, about fifty yards past the last door into the airport's last terminal. 

If you needed to go to one of the first terminals, you'd have to walk a mile from the bus stop. Cabs and shuttles can stop anywhere, even cars can stop to drop off or pick people up, but if you're on the bus there's just one stop, and it's way out of the way.

Why? Because the people who plan and build public transit never ride public transit, so convenience for the riders is the last thing on the agenda. 

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All transit should be free, I've said before and I'll say again. And we're about halfway there — that's about how often the fare-reader machine is willing to read my card and deduct the fare.

Which is fine with me. Now get to work on the other half.



  1. "and for the whole trip, the driver was wearing her mask under his nose"

    Just mindboggling stupidity. It's like pinning a diaper around a baby's knee and then complaining there's shit everywhere.

    1. I've always assumed people with an exposed nose (or mouth!) above the mask were QAnon idiots who didn't believe COVID was real. Seeing someone's nose *while* they're talking about never getting COVID again — yeah, that's mindbogglingly stupid, and from someone driving a 35,000-pound bus in city traffic.

  2. Sorry, I'm having post-anesthetic brain lapses. Whose nose was the driver wearing her mask under? I'm out of step with all the new gender designations, so, as I told the check-in lady at the hospital: he/him/his, but write it in pencil.

    johnthebasket (M-Washington)

    1. This one's on me, not on modern gender politics. The bus driver was a woman, but the best picture of a low-riding mask I could find on line was of a man, so I performed a literary sex-change operation but left a 'her' behind.


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