I got up early this morning. My first driver of the day was supposed to be on the 19 line at Penn and Lowry in North Minneapolis at 8:03. I planned to drive up there, park my car, and ride into downtown, then back to Penn and Lowry with him.
I got up there a few minutes early and it's a good thing I did. When I got up there, I realized that Lowry is all torn up. So I drive around a bit, trying to figure out where the bus was detoured, where I could catch it, and the safest place to leave my car for an hour or so. That is not the most savory of neighborhoods, but I figured that the riff-raff would most likely still be asleep at that time of day.
As I drove around, I noticed a blue minivan behind me. It turned where I turned, which was odd, since I was sort of driving in circles. Then, as prepared to make another turn, it sped up quickly and came up along my left side. The minivan's passenger window was down. There was a guy driving and a rather lovely woman in the passenger seat, showing off her ample cleavage.
She said, "Oh! I thought you were a friend of mine!"
I laughed and replied that I thought their behavior was a bit unusual.
Then she asked, "Can I get into your car and talk to you for a little while?"
Well, I guess I was
a very Caucasian man in a new car, driving around and around a relatively downtrodden neighborhood known for drugs and prostitution. I'm sure it looked like I was looking for something
"Uh... no thanks! I'm.. uh... busy!"
And that was that.
I parked the car and walked to the bus stop. When the bus arrived (late), I noticed the driver had an arm full of patches (5 year safe driver, 10 year safe driver, 15 year safe driver, etc.) and a low driver number. NOT MY GUY. Right work, wrong guy. I drove all the way up to Ruter Garage and the dispatcher confirmed that he was not driving, but he didn't know why.
So I came home for a little while.
My next trip was going to be on the 5 line. I took a 21 to Chicago and Lake. I waited for that bus. And waited. When it arrived, I once again saw a suspiciously low driver number. NOT MY GUY. I confirmed: right work, wrong driver. I don't know where my guy was. Sick, maybe.
I took that bus anyway. I had planned to stop in at Wyatt and Christina's to watch some of the Vikings (stupid Vikings...) game, and that bus goes near their house.
My last guy, who was my first (on vacation) guy from yesterday, didn't pull out of the garage until 3:55, so I figured I could see the end of the game.
Kassie picked me up and dropped me off at Nicollet Garage. I got there about seven minutes before my guy was supposed to pull out. I walked through the drivers' room, into the bus bay, then back through the drivers' room to see him pulling away! Early!
The mighty and capricious gods of transit were surely messing with me in a very big way.
I called Kassie and she took me to Uptown Station, where I caught up with the guy I needed to observe. Amazingly enough, the rest of the day went well.
What have I learned in the last couple of days? Oh, I don't know.
I learned how frustrating it is to miss connections. You know I like to whine about the scheduling department. Well, I experienced several examples of the written schedule being extremely optimistic about the time a bus was going to arrive at a connection.
I learned that I'm going to ask someone who knows (like a full-time instructor) what I need to do to ensure that the object of my ride-along will be there.
And finally, I learned that the reason I'm not in favor of the word f**k in its many iterations is that stupid and ignorant people use and overuse it to the point of complete lunacy. I really, really got sick of that word in two days of riding the bus.
And yeah, I'm no angel, I know...