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The Slice

Posts tagged: bus passengers

Spokane wildlife

He might have been over 6 feet tall, but the thing you noticed was what he had on his head.

It was a furry, face-covering hat/mask that was supposed to look like a fox or something. It was sort of like this young man had his own head inside the head of an extra-large plush toy. And he was carrying a painting or something.

I was behind him as he boarded the 1:50 No. 43 downtown.

The driver, a friend of mine named Scott, looked at this fellow ahead of me and calmly asked a question.

“Are you a service animal?”

 “Yes,” he said.

Scott said that was good to hear, because otherwise he would have to ride in a cage.

As service animals tend to do, the fox-head kid minded his own business and rode all the way to the Albertson's at 37th and Grand.

Blame game

The 1:50 No. 43 bus going up the South Hill was Third World full.

So I stood and held on to a strap up near the front. How urban.

I didn't mind my position because the driver is a friend and my proximity allowed me to visit with him a little.

Then, near the end of my ride, things took an odd turn.

With the bus heading east on 37th, an elderly woman pulled the cord for a stop. She then marched up to the front and complained to the driver that she had requested a stop at Arthur, which we had now passed. The driver politely informed her that her tug on the cord had come too late for that stop and that the next one was at Perry.

She continued grousing, and the driver calmly pulled over and offered to let her off between stops. She still wasn't happy but said she would go ahead to the stop at Perry.

And at some point she gestured toward me and said “I couldn't see because of this man.”

The driver, in a joking tone, said, “Oh, yeah, THIS guy…”

Only she didn't realize he was kidding, and she continued to go on about how I was obscuring the view from where she had been sitting, et cetera.

I have some experience with being patient with elderly ladies. But I came close to offering her my own frank analysis of how we had arrived at this state of affairs. I didn't, though.

All I need is for some other passenger to then go around telling people that he or she had seen Paul Turner yelling at an old lady on the bus.   

Face time

The 2:20 No. 43 bus was crowded this afternoon.

I was aware that someone had sat down next to me. But I wasn't in the mood to visit, so I kept reading a news story on my phone.

Eventually, I looked up and realized my seatmate was someone I know slightly — Richard Rush, the former Spokane city councilman.

We didn't talk much about his close loss in the recent election. And to the extent that we did, he didn't seem bitter. Though it's always hard to tell about these things. I know I would find it difficult to be gracious.

Mostly we talked about Spokane's late-arriving winter, walking vs. riding a bike and about the South, where both of us have extended family.

I know there are people who can't stand Rush. Once on a www.spokesman.com story about a bicyclist being killed in a traffic accident, a classy anonymous commenter said it was too bad Rush hadn't been the victim.

But I admire someone who gets involved in public life and doesn't just sit around pissing and moaning with his friends.

There are all kinds of losers in our society. But not winning an election doesn't necessarily make you one of them. 

The odds were in his favor

A little boy waiting outside the STA Plaza said “There's our bus” every time one approached or went by.

“No, not yet,” said a woman I assumed to be his mother. Over and over.

Eventually, though, he was going to be right.  

Today’s reason why…

…most of us wouldn't last as STA drivers.

The joys of arguing with riders about which kind of coffee containers are allowed on the bus and which aren't. 

Spokane, Washington 2:41 p.m.

She didn't seem like someone who would turn heads.

She had on a silly amount of makeup. And it did not appear that her eyes were ablaze with the sparks of a special personality. But she was a young woman who seemed fit.

So when she asked a route related question, to no one in particular, these two guys sitting near her on the No. 43 bus lurched into action.

They were not together. I'm tempted to call them Dumpy Guy and the Knit Hat Man. But that sounds demeaning. So I won't.

Let's just say they both know their STA route schedules. And they were happy, delighted even, to share their knowledge of the timetable with her.

They were, in fact, showing off.

Hey, it's what a lot of guys do.

I don't think I had ever seen exhaustive knowledge of the bus schedule used in an attempt to impress a woman. But I have now.

And though a bit obvious because of the feverish presentations, it was not obnoxious.

One of those guys got off at her stop, but my window was too grime-caked for me to see anything.

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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