2:13 PM, May 15, 2007
Like a Dirty Hippie
In an effort to humor Jeff
, save some money, avoid parking unpleasantness, and get some natural exercise, I'm taking the bus all this week. Driving takes 12-15 minutes, but fills me with hate. Riding the bus takes about an hour and 20 minutes each way, including walking, and significantly shortens my day, but it's much more relaxing. I reckon that I save myself about a gallon of gas used with each day I ride the bus. That does not count lunchtime trips to Lees Summit, Blue Springs, Brookside, Waldo, or Midtown, which routinely push the daily usage to more than 70 miles. With gas prices currently hanging around $3.25 a gallon, that nicely prolongs the time I get to wait before filling up again. Who knows? Maybe in a couple of years I won't have a choice but to do it this way.
I took the MAX down to Brookside yesterday. The closest MAX stop(8th and Grand) isn't in the nicest corner of downtown, and on a sunny day like yesterday, has a pretty torturous glare. Also, as the majority of the route there is through downtown's lamentable northside surface parking farm, there isn't a lot of shade to be had as I walk with the sun in my eyes. Even at 7:15am, it was warm out, and in the unrelenting sun, it was uncomfortably warm.
I was hoping, when the bus pulled up, that I'd get a nice air-conditioned respite from the heat, but no. There didn't appear to be any climate control on at all. The adjustable windows on the MAX are at the top of the windows, and simply lean into the bus at a 45-degree angle. They don't stick out, or offer any other means of coaxing a comforting breeze into the bus. As such, the bus was a rolling oven, though none of the other riders seemed particularly annoyed by it.
The MAX was only slightly late in arriving in Brookside, and even so, I still had to wait a good fifteen or twenty minutes for the 63rd street bus to make its scheduled stop. When it rolled up, I hopped on, ecstatic to feel moving air in the cabin. The 163 runs very old buses, but they have windows that horizontally slide open to as much as four inches in each spot. This lets a lot of moving air into the bus. On such a lovely morning as it was yesterday, it was a pleasure to ride.
Determined not to take the MAX home, considering the heavily-used 163 is usually five minutes late to catch it, I took the 53 home. It uses the oldest buses in KC, and spends almost all its route in the largely-impoverished East side. With one brief exception, I was the only white person on the bus. This doesn't bother me, but it's definitely noticeable. But as slow and dilapidated as the buses are on the 53, it's still the fastest way downtown from 63rd and Swope.
It rained today. Hard. I went out to my car and pulled my umbrella out of the trunk. Assuming that the MAX doesn't turn the air conditioning on unless it's 97 degrees outside, and because I found another bus that has a shorter yet still reasonable transfer with the 163, I took the 51 down to 63rd today. It's the same bus I used to take
when I used to work down at 89th and State Line(the closest I've ever worked to home). Jeff and I joke to each other about it. When one person mentions the 51, the other always responds, "I love the 51!"
Well, I love the 51 all over again. The 163 leaves its starting point at 8:10am, and the 51 dropped me off in front of it at 8:04am. It could hardly have worked out better.
Anyway, as you were.