Monday, November 30, 2009

If I didn't ride the bus...

If I didn't ride the bus I wouldn't have met John this morning as I walked to my first stop. He commented on my lunch box and we shared a conversation of appreciation for the era of the lunch pail. After that he asked me for some money to go to Jack in the Box. I hope he walked away full.

If I didn't ride the bus I wouldn't have met Reuben, an aspiring DJ. He told me about some past bad decisions that derailed him for a while and of the importance of having a hope and a dream to keep you going in life. Reuben shared his hope and dream with me, I hope things work out for him.

Tomorrow is a new month and I've got my pass in my pocket...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Context makes the man

Sometimes context makes the man. This morning I was standing with an older woman at the bus stop. We were having a friendly conversation when I tried to introduce myself and asked her name. She refused to tell me. I fully respect her discretion but couldn't help but think that if we were having the same conversation 20 minutes later I would be in my job at the church and she would gladly give me any information about her I asked. Context strikes.

A few days ago I was on the train and a guy complimented my bag, telling me how nice it is and asking me where I bought it. I have to admit some of my first thoughts were that he was going to rob me. After all it was at night on the DART and I was alone. If I had met the same guy and he had made the same comments to me somewhere in Northpark Mall I wouldn't have questioned his intentions at all. Context.

"Hi, I'm Brian"

Have you ever tried starting a conversation with a stranger in a quiet elevator with other people around? Pretty awkward huh? That's basically what it's like trying to talk to someone on the bus. My current strategy is what I like to refer to as "go for broke" mode. When in close proximity I stick out my hand and say, "Hi, I'm Brian" and try to flow from there. My favorite response so far was Sunday morning, an older lady looked at me funny and said, "What?"

So I went three days with no bus time last week and must admit that I missed the DART. I got back on track yesterday and am staring at a nice four day "no driving" stretch.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Red Line, Blue Line what's the difference?

In the color wheel red, blue and yellow stand apart from each other in purity being completely different as they offer their unique contribution to the spectrum known as visible light. For those of you who are curious the red, blue and green lines of the DART rail system are quite different as well. I discovered that the hard way today :)

Walking from work to the rail tonight I met Anthony, a middle-aged man on his bike. As we crossed I-75 he asked,
"Is this 75?"
I said, "Yea," then paused.
"Where are you going?" I inquired.
"Plano" he answered (we were at Mockingbird).
I paused again, "You know the train goes up to Plano and it's pretty cheap."
He said he rode his bike down and he figured he'd ride it back. Off he went.

My day started at the bus stop watching the pastel hues of the sunrise as the great ball of fire broke through to light another day. It now ends as I head home 13.5 hours later to a clear, starless Dallas night. I think I'm becoming a man of the city. Good night Dallas.

Among the people

The bus has a way of slowing life down; waiting at the bus stop, riding a slow/indirect route home and then the peaceful walk home from the drop off. It takes a lot longer than driving but the change of pace is welcomed and only trumped by the change in scenery and experience (people/places).

I like being "among the people," meeting people along the way. Today I met a guy from Gabon (West Africa) whose been in Dallas for a few months and is trying to get a grip on English. We chatted for a bit and went on our seperate ways. So far life outside the "mobile isolation box" has been pretty good.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ants in my pants

A beautiful day outside. The bus plus a short and pleasant walk got me to a great park where I spent some time. In the process I met a cool guy named Chester, his job is holding a sign outside the mall advertising a "going out of business" sale. We didn't get to spend a lot of time talking but I could quickly tell he was someone I could enjoy watching some football with and talking life.

I met another dude, Daniel, as he helped me spot and remove the ants that attacked me. (I was sitting on a great strip of grass waiting for my bus and started feeling itchy, apparently because I had sat on an ant bed.)

While waiting at the bus stop I had a realization. Have you ever sat and watched busy traffic drive by? It's funny watching these big machines carry people around by themselves. I had a professor that enjoyed referring to cars as "mobile isolation boxes." It's amazing how much we can miss out on when we spend too much time in those boxes.

Sliding Home

Waiting to go to school with a bunch of Nepalese kids, getting a few rides from some overly gracious friends, a fair amount of running, late buses, late for work, missing dinner with friends and a LONG walk. A few highlights from day one.

Nothing like being the newcomer. I had to get help swiping my bus card and breeched bus etiquette a time or two but there's grace and I'll take it.

Today left me thinking about how much control having a car gives us; to come and go as we like. The bus on the other hand leaves you on someone else's time table which is not always predictable or convenient and sometime you just can't do what you want. The bus helps takes me off the throne for a little while.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 1 - Don't forget your lunch box!

Last night I bought a DART pass for the month of November. I'm getting ready to head out and not sure what to expect. I'm probably most curious to see how the Batman lunch box goes over :)