Saturday, July 16, 2011

Daily Routine

I love the morning light. I like the way it brings a golden edge to everything it touches, the way it infuses the day with hope. Anybody who rides the bus must carry a mote of that golden promise with them because it takes faith to believe that the underfunded, under-equipped, and under-scheduled public transportation system will get them to work on time. Most of the time it does, but those days it does not can easily result in awkward explanations to one's supervisor, even job loss.

One day while riding the bus to work, I took a look around and saw people, themselves on their way to work, trying to keep roofs over their heads, food in their kids' bellies and clothes on their backs. They were people who do the "grunt work"  -- customer service representatives, accountants, maids for the many hotels downtown, waitresses and cooks in the restaurants, practical nurses and orderlies for several hospitals, personnel who clean the offices, security guards, baristas, et cetera -- a work force that is generally treated as if they are invisible that would suddenly be missed if they could not get to their jobs.

The "city fathers" tend to treat the system as if it were their proverbial "red-headed stepchild," to be ignored, abused and neglected. Generally, the buses seem to be regarded as the transportation system of the poor, the elderly (poor), the blind (poor) and disabled (poor). Visitors to our city invariably turn to the buses to visit our numerous  attractions and are, again, invariably amused and dismayed at the system's scheduling and routes. 

There have been recent efforts to improve the system, the drivers are usually courteous and considerate in sometimes difficult circumstances and, while cuts have been made in some routes, efforts were made to improve connections between others. Plans are in progress to build a light rail system and to add service to outlying areas. So ... maybe? 

We'll see. With the economy in doldrums and governmental squabbling, the city fathers may suddenly find there's a knot in their pockets and not be able to raise the stepchild's allowance. 

One can only hope.

"And now for something completely different."

The picture above is of another Speedway landmark, the Mug'n'Bun Drive-In on West 10th Street, which has been in business since 1960. The place has a national reputation for its home-made root beer as well as a menu chock full of every standard American drive-in staple one could ever think to order. The store's appearance is unpretentious, but the treats inside keep people coming back for more. Yum.


dive said...

Hoorah for public transport!
I know I've spent more time on my blog moaning about the trains than every other subject combined but I couldn't do without trains and buses.
Buses are the greatest place for catching random snippets of utterly bizarre conversations. Most of the short stories I've written started out from just such moments.

And yay for Mug'n'Bun! That looks an awesome place! I love the name, and the fact that they sell home-made stuff is so refreshing. I'd definitely go there if I was in town.

Speedway said...

Hello, Dive, thanks for your morning visit. I've started to look forward to them. I've also seen and heard things on the buses (on 3 occasions -- murder! OMG! I was bug-eyed and trying to play deaf and dumb). I watch people driving about in cars, talking on cell phones, encased in little cocoons to keep them from engaging with the world. Then, when they have an accident or something else occurs to break the shell, they're completely surprised. Also, they could save about $500 or more a month if they left the car at home.

I love the Mud'n'Bun root beer, especially in a frosty mug. I love it's non-corporate appearance. A local business done real good in world taken over by franchises.

dive said...

Murder on the buses! Yikes! Usually all I get is old ladies discussing their latest ailments.
Hoorah for local businesses! Especially ones who make great root beer.

Speedway said...

Oh, I need to be clear that I didn't see them Dive, heard about them from an old guy who knew where, when and by whom, then a young "banger" (not a sausage!) admitting, on his cell phone to a girl he was trying to impress "Yeah, I shot the dude! I couldn't let him dis me like that!" Basically, I tried to pretend I was a screw in one of the benches. Otherwise, people discussing their ailments is daily fare. One big annoyance is the inane (non)conversations people have on their cell phones that everyone else can hear. Yuch!

dive said...

A decade of spending seven hours a day commuting on trains gave me such a horror of mobile phones that I will never own one. Being out of contact in today's world is a luxury that I've become addicted to.