A Snippet of Seattle Public Transportation

44 Bus BallardA couple of weeks ago my dear dear 1999 Honda Civic started making strange noises and shaking. After a visit to the mechanic, she was diagnosed with the car version of pancreatic cancer: the head gasket needed to be replaced. I’d been holding onto her for a while because she belonged to my grandmother, may she rest in peace, and subsequently my sister who upgraded to a nicer car last year. The Honda is currently parked in my work garage and in the meantime I’ve been using…wait for it…SEATTLE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (cue the horror music).

Last year when I lived in Ballard I rode the “ghetto limo” on a daily basis, to and from my job in the One Union Square building. All I can say about that time in my life is thank Jesus for headphones. I was getting harassed constantly with them in. I can’t imagine how many crazy people would harass me without those precious headphones. People who are soaked in urine and booze and carrying a bag of garbage really do LOVE to sit next to me. And when they turn their toothless, bloodshot, picked-at faces toward you and say something menacing like, “I bet you hate black people,” all you have to do is point to your headphones and look out the window.

Anyway, having to take the bus the past week has really brought out the PTSD. Just yesterday this happened:

I was waiting for the 44 on 15th and Market when the bus zoomed up, cutting off a car trying to cross the intersection. The bus pulled up in front of a plot of dirt and phone wires rather than the normal cement. The bus driver was a skinny woman with two long gray braids. I boarded, scanned my Orca card, and sat down in one of the front seats. An older woman, in her late 70s perhaps, was standing with the aid of a walker and shuffling towards the front. She was wearing a filthy blue medical mask. When the bus driver saw her she yelled, “No we can’t lower the lift right now! You should have told me earlier!” Then the bus driver grabbed the walker and carried it outside of the bus. The older woman held the hand rail and gingerly took the steps one at a time. “Thanks for telling me ahead of time,” the bus driver said sarcastically as she sat down again in her seat. The older woman, now clinging to her walker, looked back and said “Bitch.” The bus driver put the bus into drive and hollered “Love you too!” before closing the door and racing off again.

I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed. Everyone just had their headphones in and were looking out the window.

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