Monday, March 21, 2016


This year I'm going without a theme. In years past, I've always gone to something like, “Music” or “Humor” and it wasn't entirely successful. This year, I'm just tossing the theme out the window and will write about some of the things that are still going on in da 'hood, and some music and humor. Just not in any particular order, or with any formal idea in mind.

Part of this is, I suspect, pure laziness, and part of it is that I've been trying to work with an idea for a “serialized novel” that seems to have some legs to it, so the focus is there for the time being.

I do however, always enjoy doing the A-to-Z Challenge and writing (I hope) short, and pithy little posts, so we'll see where we end up, shall we?

I may write about some of my fabulous bus trips in and around Tampa's 'hoods, which are every bit as horrifying as they sound. Last week, we had our “Safety First” kinda bus driver, which was a hoot, because this cat will NEVER make the bus kneel when I need to get off. Since I have very little depth perception, I've been lucky that I haven't bashed my teeth in on the pavement falling out of the bus. I have to REMIND him to make it kneel, although he can see I've got a cane and dark glasses. During our last encounter, there had been a messy accident at the intersection of MLK Blvd. and Nebraska Avenue.

It was just Alex's and my luck, too, that they parked this big, honkin' Fire Truck with it's butt sticking out across the two southbound lanes. They could have pulled up closer to the smashed up cars, but I'm guessing there was leaking gasoline. Thankfully, no one was injured. The police had a fine time directing traffic, though. There was a bit of dancing going on, 'cause Nebraska Avenue.

Five cop cars and a giant-ass Ladder Fire Truck showed up to block the south-bound lanes of Nebraska. We sat there while this idiot dithered about what to do; go left over the median, beside a semi, which just helpfully stopped, straddling both lanes of Nebraska, just north of the intersection and put out a bunch of hazard cones, 'cause Nebraska Avenue, which would have been totally okay, as the cops were directing traffic and would have let us through, or go up on the curb a little bit on the right-hand side of the semi, which would have been okay, because one other bus had already proven it could be done.

But, noooooo. This guy had to fuss and fume around like we were in some perilous situation that would end in a fiery death, if we moved so much as an inch. Some guy on the bus had driven big things in the Military and was trying to coerce the driver into (gasp!) taking a right turn, just before Nebraska and going around the Auto Parts Store, but the driver wasn't sure he could do that, without... tipping over the bus, I guess? On a normal 90° turn? So Military Guy was frustrated. The whole bus was. There were several women who were just coming off shift from the Hospital and I'm sure they were ready to get off their feet. I'd had a long day at Clinical Research and was tired; my essential tremor was misbehaving (stress and lack of sleep does that) and besides, “Mr. Safety First” was a misnomer and he was pissing me off.

A Hartline bus at the Marion Transit Center. When there are twenty buses coming and going all at once, it's like this giant bus ballet, with buses screeching and whooping, farting, speeding up, slowing down and stopping on a dime and it's really something to be a passenger. It could be a GREAT carnival ride.

So, the driver called the Bus Supervisor; some cat that drives around in a little official car, supervising buses, I guess. And he did so, because I think he figured he was about to lose control of the situation. I had already loudly suggested that one of us get off the bus, walk 50 feet to the cops and tell them we were either being kidnapped, or held for ransom. It got a laugh from everyone but the driver. So, the Supervisor showed up and “led” the bus, after talking to the driver and after giving a talking to Military Guy. The Supervisor led the bus to the same exact 90° right turn, that the bus driver could have turned down an hour previously, without the help of the Supervisor. The Supe then led us past a left-hand 90° turn, which would have put us out on MLK and closer to our destination. As we crept past this turn, I hollered out, “What!?! Is that turn too tight for ya?” I was really acting up. Shame on me. Not.

The bus came to a halt. The Supe got on the bus, and started chewing out Military Guy, again. I guess Mr. Safety First had tattled on the phone to the playground recess Teacher, like we were all in 3rd Grade, but he got the wrong miscreant. I 'fessed up, and said “I wouldn't be so irritated if this schlemiel would kneel the bus like he's supposed to, every single time I get off this damned bus!” The Supe looked daggers at the Mr. Safety First and just got off and got back in his little buggy car and led us off to our destination, home.

The Supe's car. It totally doesn't look street legal to me, but hey! What do I know; they're probably cutting corners, to save money.*

Sure enough, I had to ask Mr. Safety First to make the bus kneel, AGAIN, before I could get off of his stupid bus. Some people may think I'm making a big deal out of this, but it's truly hard to see other people with canes who have physical disabilities and then have to remind this guy to lower the bus for them. Certain disabilities tend to cause militant behavior in the person with the disability and for good reason. I can't always rely on people respecting the stick and the glasses. So, I'm wary.

Anyway, this is a big longish for an A-to-Z post, but it's a Not-Theme Reveal, so I thought I'd indulge myself. I am looking forward to the A-to-Z Challenge of 2016, whatever it is I write on; I'm going to do my best to make it fun!
*Totally kidding. That was for (Believe it! Or not) "Bus Fest" a few years ago!
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