Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nose Picking in Public? My New Hero!

So today on the bus....

visual: A bright blue winter cap atop my head, purple lululemon backpack lightly packed with a notebook, my daily planner, beef jerky, and my sustainable cups, gray comfy pants to accent the gray lululemon emblem on the one and only avocado green jacket with the amazing Elvis collar sit in the front of an afternoon bus today.

While I am exhausted from managing the busy pre-Black Friday shopping rush at the store, I sit on the bus in a wonderful mood thinking about my redeye plane this evening to my hometown in Houston, Texas. I am elated to see my incredible family, eat until the spandex in my pants really cannot stretch anymore, kiss my 12 year old sister's cheeks till she rolls her eyes over and over, share a legal alcoholic beverage with my beautiful 21 year old sister, and laugh until tears dance down my own cheeks with my crazy-in-love parents!

Thanksgiving. A beautiful holiday it will be.

With these dancing turkey legs, visions of sweet potatoes and oozing derby pies filling my thoughts, I am almost oblivious to my current bus surroundings. The man reading the newspaper in his sports coat and jeans in front of me, the older Asian woman in her ivory puffy jacket sitting next to me, yet as far to the edge of the seat and away from me as possible, and my bus driver who keeps yelling at the traffic by the 405 freeway (which is just very unpleasant and almost scary as his bus passenger). Then, all of the sudden I am rudely jolted from my holiday-dreaming when the aforementioned man with the sports coat literally start picking his nose.

Yep, full on pick.

It was definitely not a scratch. He was full insertion of finger in nose, digging for gold. I mean, what do I do? Turn away? I have nowhere to look, he is right in front of me. Look in disgust? Shudder? Well, I did all those. Of course, I chose that seat facing the front of the bus while the seats directly in front of me are facing the aisle. I could not have a more clear view of this sports-coat-guy and his disgusting display of nostril action. And he has to know that. Has he lost his peripheral vision? I am RIGHT HERE.

How do people do that? What if I would have literally seen something come out of his nose? Oh my God, I feel sick. I mean, I feel sick thinking that he might have touched the coin insert station or my seat! Where is the humanity in this place??

Then, I begin to wonder what it must feel like to not be embarrassed or worried about what other people might think. I mean, that sports-coat-guy did not care at all if I saw him mid-pick. He was going to town. In the long run, it didn't affect his life. I am the one obsessing about it here on the snob blog. Or snot blog, for today's notes.

How absolutely free-ing.

If you think about embarrassment and who you are in the life moments, it is so much ego. So much about trying to look good for some dude in a bar, your boss, or some random girl dressed in too many bright colors on an LA bus. That sports-coat-guy was in all actuality, very powerful. He just did not care. He had something bothering his nose and went for it. Took care of business, picked the newspaper back up off his lap, and took the LA TIMES crossword by storm. I become in awe of this man I had moments ago been ill from.

For the past couple of days, I have literally wanted to jump out of my seat and start singing holiday music down the aisles of the bus. I hold out as long as possible but always seem to break early November with the Christmas music. I know, so early. But so fun. On my bus karaoke, maybe I will rock out with a little NSYNC Christmas Song or Mariah Carey, All I Want for Christmas - I might even get my pelvis in it and bring out Elvis' version of White Christmas. But, I don't for so many reasons. What if people hate me? How embarrassing? What if people tell me to stop?



Or, how awesome! I might make their day and send them off in the spirit of the holidays with love and cheer. They might smile and laugh until tears dance down their cheeks. They might even sing with me. I see the wave starting, some clapping going on. The guy in back breaks out his guitar and some crazy starts playing the drums on the window....

Oh, I envy you sports-coat-guy and your ability to pick your nose in public. Not that I want to be disgusting and publicly display my own nose challenges. But, your powerful, fearless and ego-less attitude for life is one of inspiration and replication!

As I exit the bus, I nod and find myself thankful for my new hero. I commit to getting over myself, dropping the ego and being fearless, and one day soon, singing the Christmas songs down the aisle of the LA Metro!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Very Unique and Open Type of Love

So today on the bus....

visual: I am bright one on the 6:05pm rush bus number 720 back into Beverly Hills. Overstuffed purple lululemon backpack complements my lululemon navy hip pants with a flattering flare feature over my blue Asics, gray seamless tech top and HOT PINK ear warmers that match my HOT PINK arm warmers that propel my leap through the inviting double doors of the bus.

I rarely ride the bus in the evenings. However, with daylight savings and a new motivation to go to the lululemon run club, the fast approaching black sky and crescent moon catch up with me today. I head to the bus at 6:00pm in the dark and breezy air. I think to myself, prime time for the people leaving a long day's work and heading home. Should be an interesting ride.

I was right. The bus was packed. I had to stand by the exit door for the first couple of stops. A full house! Slower traffic stresses me out - I might actually miss this run club due to LA drama I wouldn't be too upset. Nonetheless, I distract myself with the sleepy passengers, crazy homeless guy in the back yelling, and the absolutely terrible TrasitTV blaring educational information, asking questions such as: What is the bone detached from any other bones in the human body? What does the German word stumphhose mean? And lastly, what is the World's largest seed? (Answers: Hyoid in the throat, tights, and the Coco de Mer, or a double coconut). Does anyone on the bus want to know that?

Anyways, I keep looking around. You know, for someone to inspire me. Shock me. Talk to me. Scare me, even.


We make a third stop on my route and quite a few depart. I snag a seat right up front before the oncoming traffic of more sleepy passengers, homeless people, and obnoxious cell phone users pile in. I smile at an older man who sits in the next row of seats by me. My seat is actually one of those that faces the aisle versus the front of the bus. I see all the oncoming passengers and you know they see hot pink me. Now, my smile quickly fades as I notice that this man now perpendicular to me is BLOCKING anyone to sit by him in the open seat. He is sitting on the outside seat as to have two (2) seats for his ride. I say to myself, hey, this is not an airplane, dude! It is the LA Metro! I immediately shun him. Share brother!

As I avert my attention, more people continue to sluggishly gather on the bus. Another older gentleman enters the bus, much older than the seat-blocker next to me. He has that elderly lean where his body is permanently bending forwards. He is wearing the most amazing brown holiday zip-up jacket made of old school polyester and a tweed Beret atop his little head. He comes in for the seat next to me and begins the strategy of his seat-taking process: hand on rail, foot towards seat, 180 circle, about to fall in butt first....

I reach for his wrinkled and surprisingly very warm hand and guide him in to the seat next to me.

He gets comfortable with a couple squirming movements and looks over at me with these eyes, crystal clear blue on the outside and hazel towards the pupil. Against his tan skin, I bet this bent over man was quite the looker at my age. Before he can thank me, I tell him that I really love the retro jacket. I deem him "trendy and hip". He smiles and thanks me, telling me in a thick accent that he has had it for quite some time - probably long enough for it to be in style, out of style, and now back in style. Funny guy. He then tells me out of the blue, "I wish you health, wealth, beauty, happiness and all you desire in life. I do". So profound, yet random. So many great adjectives he just bestowed upon me. I am touched.

I move my pink ear warmers up and off my ears, lean down, way way down, to peek under his Beret and get on his level. I tell him thanks and wish him the very exact same in his life.

We proceed in conversation. He asks about my cultural descent, my degree in school, my current job situation, if I am a movie star, if I am happy? He reminds me how lucky I am to have a job and be making money, that I am a nice girl, and that if I become a movie star, he will be sure to see my movies.

I laughed a bit, especially at the movie star part. I did notice that in answering all his inquiring questions, I smiled the entire time. Mostly speaking to him my wonderful life and how I am very happy. Which, I am.

I find out his name is Enrique. He is from some country I definitely could not understand from his accent. Somewhere in the Middle East, South of Russia, I am going to guess he claimed Armenia. I had already asked him twice and was uncomfortable going for the third clarification, so I do the nod and smile thing. I notice that he also nods his head quite a bit, and I begin to wonder if he even understands me? While I literally have to lean down and in to hear anything he is saying, I figure the smiles can be our common language when we find these communication barriers.

After a few sentence exchanges, he came out again with, "I wish you health, wealth, life, movie star, and all that you desire".

This I understand and I thank him again and pull the bus string for my approaching exit. "Stop Requested" shouts the recorded bus woman's voice. I'm getting good now. Conversations, a night bus ride and my own stop requests, who would have ever thought? Not me!

And then again as my bus begins to slam on the brakes, same lines as before: "I wish you health, wealth, gorgeous, money, movie star, happiness...." I think he could have gone on and on with the mix of heartfelt adjectives and nouns, but I had to cut him off. I leaned over, hugged his very bony shoulders hiding under the trendsetter polyester jacket and air kissed while cheek to cheek a good bye. Wishing him a beautiful life, I jumped to the rear exit waving another good bye to all the onlookers who had silently joined our lovely conversation through not-so-secret observation.
As I hustle out and into the 90210 streets, I hear old man Enrique tell the other passengers, "She kissed me, she kissed me!".

I smile. Amazing.

I do not know what the deal is as of late, but these old gentlemen of Los Angeles are really throwing me for a loop these days. Enrique had kind eyes and three times wished upon me greatness. He also promised to support me if I ever was on the big screen and left me in the best of spirits for my evening jog.

And yes, I made it to my run club on time. Ran my hot pink heart out and decided that I am so happy with these chance encounters that really touch, move and inspire me. These old, dear and deep souls....showing and sharing a very unique and open type of love I have never seen, much less experienced before. Is it luck? Is it God? Is it just nothing?

No. No.

I realize that in my life now, I get on a bus, go for a walk, get a coffee, go for a run, go to work.... and I am actually out looking for that greatness. For that wonderful and amazing. For inspiring and heart-strings-pulling. And, I find it. In my life. Just because I am seeking them out. Demanding them to get on my crazy ride.

And lately, the amazing and inspiring, wonderful and empowering, breathtaking-right-when- you-don't-expect-it-beautiful-life in your face ... usually appears in the form of a gentleman between the ages of 74 and 82 on my bus.

On my life bus.


What do you find on your life bus?

Are you even looking for them?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Men On Wheels, Part II

Part II

So today on the bus...

visual: Same hot pink lululemon cozy fleece pullover, full length spandex pants, green and navy Nikes, purple backpack, bright ocean blue headband, disheveled Princess Leah buns after a long day at lululemon 90210, rocking out to my lime green iPod shuffle. I wait on Wilshire Blvd to head home.

I step up to the 720 bus, thank my younger and almost handsome bus driver (if he would isknay the black leather bus-driving gloves), ready to roll from Beverly Hills to my cozy apartment in Bretnwood to get my workout on. Not many on the bus to engage with, so I continue to rock to my iPod.

I smile the whole bus ride home. I had a really great day at work. Beautiful weather. The holidays are here. I'm just beaming. And on the weekends, there is less traffic so my bus is FLYING back to my neighborhood. I'll be there in no time. Sing on about Heaven, Brett Dennen, sing on!

Well, that was short lived. Still rocking to my headphones, I am startled when I see everyone departing. I don't know how I do it, but I seemed to have jumped on the bus that stopped short....again! GREAT! I have to walk the rest of the way home....again. My young bus driver is not so cute anymore! I force myself to stay in good spirits from my great day. I knew I had charged my iPod last night for a reason, so I could speed walk all the way home to Aretha Franklin, MGMT and John Mellencamp shuffling in my ears. I deemed it a warm up to my upcoming workout.

As I walked under the freeway and up the hills, I thought, "nope, there is something more". Why am I walking home as all my buses continue to fly past me? How did I really get on that bus that needs a break AGAIN? I was really appreciating the bus speeding on its way and now this?

And then, there he is.

I turn the corner outside the Veterans Center to a an all out old soldier gathering to protest for the land gated behind us. Sitting in his motorized wheelchair waving an American Flag is an World War II veteran, Stephen. I smile, stop next to him and remove my headphones. He takes my hand and asks my name, shaking the held hand profusely. He is covered in crumblies down the front of him - I am guessing from his recent lunch and/or snack, and he is modeling these amazing old-man-version of hip and cool aviators.

I engage in conversation with him. Asking about the protest and letting him have some of my beautiful time. He shared that they were fighting for the land to be a center for the Veterans and homeless in the city. He shared that he had fought in WWII, the politics in the administrative system over the land, and that they were getting close to winning the good fight. You know old people, they go on forever. Which I love.

Cars passing us were honking to help protest and he waved that American flag every time from his chair.

As our conversation began to end, he thanked me time and time again for stopping to talk to him. He then asked me for a hug. As if I could resist, I leaned down to his chair and wrapped my long, fleece covered arms around his older body and wheelchair holding him upright. Heart to heart.

Stephen asks me mid-hug, "Am I allowed?"

Not knowing what he meant or if he was just politely reinstating the hug permission, I say sure. His face turns and he kisses my cheek and gives me a squeeze. I smile and let go. Tap his shoulder, thank him and continue to walk home....enlightend again today.

See, I knew there was a reason that damn bus stopped short making me walk that extra mile. And I knew better! It wasn't for any cardio burn.

So Part II of my day is really a testament to Part I with dude Jared in his wheelchair begging not for my money, but for my time and friendly conversation. Putting into practice what I had learned that morning at my first bus stop, I gave that precious time and conversation to Stephen on the walk home when the bus stopped short. No judgement. No annoyance. No fear of begging or financial support for the cause. Just love.

And it was really, really beautiful.

Men on Wheels, Part I

Part I

So today on the bus....

visual: Sustainable coffee mug in hand full to the brim with a seasonal favorite, peppermint mocha, larger than life pink plaid sunglasses, bright ocean blue headband, Princess Leah buns, hot pink lululemon cozy micro-fleece pullover I scored in Vancouver under my favorite purple backpack, atop full length lululemon pants with fancy snaps up the side and bright green and navy Nikes wait for the bus today. I am dressed for a winter wonderland, obviously.

I stayed up way too late last night and stumbled out of my cozy Brentwood apartment early this morning in just enough time to hit up Coffee Bean on the way to my bus stop. Moving slower than normal, I kick the Nikes in high gear and get to speed walking, wondering what the bus back in the good ol' U S of A will bring today.

As I cross the street to my normal bus spot in front of the convenient 711, there are a couple people waiting at the bus stop. I always take that as a good sign. When no one is waiting there, I figure I just missed the bus. So, off to a good start and still on time.

I approach the bench and there is a character rolling around in his wheelchair circling the bus stop. He is a total dude with longer hair, tan skin and a bum leg wrapped up in what looked like an old, dirty turquoise sheet. He throws me that 'hang ten' sign that only true dudes can pull off and a head nod.

Now, don't let the 'dude' label throw you. He probably hadn't showered in like two (2) weeks and I immediately labeled him in the homeless category. They seem to congregate around the 711, I never know what that is about. 711 is not cheap, they charge for that convenience piece. With that being said, I immediately figure this dude is going to hit me up for some money. He says hello, I say hi and smile while looking further down the street for my bus.

He introduces himself as Jared. I respond and tell him it is nice to meet you. I do believe it is nice to meet people and know their name.

He then asks me to remove my sunglasses. I oblige and he proceeds to tell me I look like a Penelope. Weird. Engaging further, calling me Penelope, we talk about what's in a name. Like a modern day Romeo and the bus stop. What a name means and why some are popular. I explain to him that the Subway Jared has really stolen his thunder these days. However, I remind him that Jared Leto was a huge heart-throb years back. He smiles, agrees. He does that surfer dude hair flick, informing me my real name is ya know...okay. Ha ha, thanks.

My bus 720 arrives and I begin to walk towards the entrance bidding Jared a wave good bye. Thinking to myself, here comes the money request - he glances back up at me from his wheelchair, smiles, and reminds me to have a really beautiful day and rolls the opposite direction.

SLAP! Right across my snobby face. He was just wanting a smile and great conversation. And the whole time I am thinking he was going to ask for my beloved quarters. I scoff at myself on the bus and shake my head in disappointment.

Its like the good side and the snobby side of me play Hide & Seek. Some times, the good side is hiding in the best hiding spot ever, where my snobby side just cannot find her. And other times, my good side prevails and I am this possibility of love and world change. Hugging strangers, saving the world while running and smiling, or spreading holiday cheer.

Jared did teach me a radical and old lesson today. And do note: I did treat him nicely. We laughed and shared a great conversation. I was friendly. Its that inner voice of fear and annoyance if he was going to beg me for money that bugs me the most. Who I was being while we were conversing? Judging a book by its cover. I could have been present to the fact that he is a human being. Sharing his life. Really, only begging for time. For those three (3) minutes I had to spare. And in the three minute conversation, he won me over. Changed my life view. And ultimately inspired me to greatness today.

Thanks dude Jared.

Who have you misjudged today? Who did you not talk to because they could potentially appear to be something they are NOT even close to at all? Let a dude rock your world today.

Be love to

Snob on a Bus in Vancouver, eh?

So today on the bus....

visual: Rockin' my denim lululmeon leggings that have that amazing moisture wicking and suck-you-in power, tucked into my dark brown water-logged UGG boots with the pockets on the side, bright green lululemon jacket (again) with a seemingly tie-dye appeal via sideways rain, salmon colored scarf protecting my neck from a chill, glittering gold headband spreading holiday cheer atop my head, three (3) maps of the city emerging from my cranberry colored wallet, grey mittens with a pink heart button, ALL underneath a navy blue Four Seasons Hotel umbrella waiting today on Howe St in Vancouver, CANADA.

That's correct everyone. just went INTERNATIONAL. Big things over here.

So, now that you have the visual of me, let me paint you a little picture of Vancouver, Canada. For those that have never traveled there, read on and take notes so you know what to pack and what was evidently missing from my over-packed, over-sized, charge-me-extra-Alaska-Airlines-suitcase. It rains in Canada. A LOT. And just when you think it might stop, it starts again. And the sun never came out once. Pack an umbrella. Pack rain boots. Pack everything you own that might be waterproof. No, no - not moisture wicking. Water proof. Learn it. Live it. Love it. I promise.

Okay, enough about the rain. We all know I reside in Los Angeles where you can wear tank tops in November, sunbathe in January, and never think twice about an umbrella. I could literally wear flip flops for the rest of my life.

So, here I am at the bus stop. High of 44 degrees. Having to have layered just about everything I packed. So not only am I wet, but I'm chunky from all the layers. Yes, soggy, chunky and snobby waiting at the bus stop. Thank goodness for my glittering headband or I might have forgotten about my holiday cheer intention. "Have no fear, spread love and holiday cheer!" A nice portly man is waiting at the bus. I ask him cheerfully where he is going and which bus he is taking? He claims some crazy number and then asks where I am from and then all that is LA and its stereotypes and famous people. Same questions the whole trip...Thus, I jump on the first bus to pull over. Lucky number 7.

Here I go. Giving it the once over. The up and down glance that girls give other girls at parties. Oh ya, you know what I'm talking about. Sizing up this massive motorized public transportation system. I step on. $2.50!?! A bit steep, eh? I insert my coins, thank my Canadian driver and enter a cleaner, more spacious, less heinous fabric seats, wet version of my bus system. The TransLink is what it is called. I sit in front to observe and find a seat that is actually facing the back of the bus. So I am staring at all these Canadians and riding backwards like a roller coaster. Kind of a lot pressure. Spotlight up here. I secretly enjoy it. Damn, why doesn't LA have this? Pshhh, everyone would want this seat, duh! Point TransLink Canada.

I get up and ask my driver, "So, where does this bus go?" He looks at me strangely and responds, "Umm, 4th Street". I have no idea where that is. It is not on any of the three (3) maps the concierge desk gave me. A silent panic, I nod and respond, "Cool!".

I step back and take my backwards facing seat and continue to look around. It is a lot cleaner. Fewer people are riding this number 7. Canada chose blue as their choice of color for the seats, I don't mind that. Nicer than our 80's design seats. Surprisingly doesn't smell, even though rain can have that effect. There are hanging handles for people who stand. Safety. Smart. The middle aisle is actually larger. So one side has a one seat-er, leaving more space for people to stand. I ponder this.... I came to the conclusion that all these WET riders do not wants to sit down next to one another with their layers, rain coats, umbrellas - all that is Canada living. Which by the way, no where to put my wet umbrella. I just had to hold it. Point LA Metro.

Well, after a couple stops I begin to freak out. Where will I end up? What if there is no bus to get me back to my hotel, my over-packed luggage, my flight.... So, I decide I will just exit and trek it back. In the sideways rain. With my non-rain gear. Get real with Canada. Done.

After a mile or so, I stand up with a couple other riders and jump off back into the rain. Breathe it in. I mean, I guess I never deal with rain, so for this half a second I can enjoy it. A nice man rocking a beret interrupts my rain dance. "Did you need help finding where to go?"

I smile and look him deep in those Canadian blue eyes and thank him for his generosity and inform him that I am just exploring and rain dancing. He tips his beret, smiles and moves on. I am momentarily flabbergasted. How wonderful of him to check on me after he saw me conversing with the bus driver about the heck this bus number 7 ends up. Nice people up there! Point Canada!

So, I rode the bus in Canada. I ventured out and danced in the rain when I could have snuggled deeper into my feather-amazing bed at the Four Seasons. I met nice people and have new ideas to send to the LA Bus line about space, safety, and fabric colors. I got the chance to explore the city in a way I never have before. On a bus. In the rain. Like a local!

So, do one thing a day that scares you. Hell, I was scared on that bus. I was soggy in the rain. I always, always, always get lost and I look like a wet dog in a downpour! Where was that 4th Street? Who knew? I didn't! But, I took the adventure. I met nice people and me and my glittering headband spread that holiday cheer!

Have no fear and spread that cheer. CHECK!

What is your adventure today?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scent-ual Healing for the LA Bus System

So today on the bus...

visual: Pink plaid sunglasses protect my snobby brown eyes from the bright LA sunshine warming our Cali November close to 80 degrees! Thus, lululemon neon orange racerback tank, herringbone brown pants, bright purple backpack and royal blue Havaianas sandals showcasing my shiny, glittering pedicured toes, step onto the Metro 720.

I recall my days as a novice bus rider on my first exciting bus adventures. I had wondered if I could consume food, talk on my cell phone, or even bring a beverage on the bus. Well, these riding regulars have taught me the I must ask:



Why does the bus ALWAYS smell like McDonalds?


I mean, 7.2 out of 10 times that I ride the bus I am hit by the likes of a semi truck, a semi truck full to the brim with McD's french fries, chicken nuggets and $1 cheeseburgers. It is like Las Vegas rumor that they pump out oxygen in to the casinos. I am beginning to think Ol' Man McDonald has some marketing deal with the LA Bus system with his own french fry perfume. Trying to get all of us environmentally friendly and quarter dropping bus riders ordering from that convenient dollar menu.

Oh no, you're not getting any of this girl's quarters!

So today on the bus, I sit down in the elevated seats right before the bus connects with that scary accordion piece to the caboose section. Sidenote: the best part of these seats is that if you are a bit shorter or sit all the way back - your feet might hang & dangle. There is nothing like a high enough seat where your feet get to hang & dangle. Now, I prefer this seat to be at a sweet bar sipping a lychee martini across from a handsome suitor, or atop a local favorite hike, Runyon Canyon overlooking the greater Los Angeles skyline. But hey, we take what we get, right?

Anyways, across from me on his elevated seat is an interesting character. He is chatting with himself and staring off into some odd space. More like a dazed and confused sort of stare. But of course, crinkled tight right next to him -McDonalds bag! I wonder if he has convinced himself that the tight crinkle-action at the top of the thin, grease-soaked paper bag is actually going to hold in the intrusive smell. Does he even care? Does he think about my nostrils? My bus-riding enjoyment? NO! Oh man, I feel like the smell of those golden, greasy french fries infiltrating my bright neon top!

So then, I distract myself and get to thinking, what smell would I actually like to smell on the bus? What would make my bus-riding experience top notch? And there it is, I am BRILLIANT....

I think that the LA Metro Bus System should partner with the people at Yankee Candle Company! They have every scent possible. Fresh laundry smell, Man Cologne smell, Holiday smell, Ocean Breeze smell....the list goes on and on. Here I am, sitting on the bus - gagging over this McDonalds odor, when I could be sniffing the likes of Coconut Rain, Pumpkin Pie, or perhaps a Fall Festival...on a public bus! Now, I do know that the candle scents can be somewhat powerful. No problem - we pick a mix of neutral scents and form a 'BUS Collection' label. I am talking something lite - mix a bit of Lavender or Lemon Grass. Maybe a little Balsam Fir for the Holidays. Perhaps the RUSH bus could have a different scent from the slower buses. The possibilities are endless! ANYTHING but McDonalds, feet and the 80's fabric smell. Oh, I cannot even imagine if it actually rained in Los Angeles - I know this bus would NOT smell like Coconut Rain and that is for sure.

Tag line: Yankee Candle Company Bus Scent Collection..public transportation with scent-ual appeal. The radio jingle could be a play off Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing", yet sing "Scent-ual Healing". The commercial could star me stepping up from the sidewalk bus stop by the 711 and Baskin Robbins to a Coconut Rain Paradise with elevated seats and unscented McDonald's bags.

I could go on....

Last note, I think the bus should consider the Vegas idea of the Oxygen injector. I mean, the amount of people that sleep on the bus is incredible! Don't they miss their stop? How does their neck bounce around like that? Why is their cheek smudged up against that dirty window like that? Different story, different blog.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All In a Day's Work

So today on the bus...

visual: Bright blue lululemon ultra shorts, a deep red-ish orange long sleeve shirt, my avocado green jacket (again), purple backpack packed to the brim, and my VANS slip-on sneakers (that have really seen better days) walked on to the bus today. I was a plethora of color and almost a bit chilly as Fall is finally approaching LA.

I would like to note, I have made it a habit to thank my bus driver EVERY time I step on the bus. Whether I get on with a smile and say thank you for taking my $1.25 in quarters, ask them how their day is going, or literally thanking them for driving me and my bus friends safely to our destination - I do it. I acknowledge that this very bus driver for the 17 minute (give or take) ride, has my life in his/her strong, cat-like maneuvering-through-traffic, trusted and experienced hands.

And then I find my seat. And there, I think....

It was all about me today on the ride home from work. No conversation with my fellow riders, no judging, no analyzing...just me. I thought about the course of my day and who I had been all day as a moving citizen. And I mean, literally moving. I had run today, so I was a runner. That run had taken me to my bike, so I was a biker today. I got a ride to work today, thus making me a passenger in shotgun and a carpool-er. And now, I am on the bus. Look at me. Movin' and groovin' around LA in any and almost every way possible.

Its interesting thinking about all the different life characters we get to portray in our own special and crazy way....

As a runner, you own your part of the road. Of course, most of my run was in a bike lane on a larger, run-friendly path we call San Vicente Blvd. This awesome street takes you straight from my hood down to the beautiful beach! Best part, its all DOWN HILL baby! The cars rush past me, bikers tell me to scoot over, and walkers...I mean, if I am running, scoot over walkers! Some walkers just take up the whole sidewalk - I am like, really? Nonetheless, this is who you are. A friendly runner dealing with all that is on your road. I say friendly because I do say "hi" to everyone that runs by. Just me, my Asics, wicking lululemon outfit, ipod amazing playlist, and the people I get to greet on my pavement.

As a biker, you have a littler more pull. You are on two (2) wheels and moving at a faster pace. The cars allow you some respect. Hell, I would - they are just pushing a pedal up this damn hill, I am up on my feet rockin' this uphill resistance with no gears, sweating the whole way, and keeping up with traffic. They better make some room! And, I'm not using gas. Sweating and saving the Earth - all in a day's work really.

Later that day, as a carpool-er, its a three-fold of being really. You are riding shotgun, thus saving energy. You are sharing conversation with someone, thus having fun. And, you really do get there just a bit faster. So I have the save, the share and the speed with me. Keep in mind though, this allows the person you are riding with an active part in this character you are playing. I mean, I rode with a friend to work and we were just battling. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the ride and for him. But yes, I had to deal with a little negativity, some horseplay and then, finally, a great conversation. So now, I am getting to work faster, saving gas, and turning a negative energy in someone to a positive. I really do think I am a freaking X-Men character.

Last but not least, my snob on a bus time. I first give thanks to the driver, then I sit and I just get to think. I don't have to converse with anyone, if I don't want to. I can converse with anyone, if I do want to (well, and if they want to). I can have a conversation with ME about how ugly and so OUTDATED the fabric on the seats of these buses are - in my head or outloud really. People talk to themselves on the bus ALL THE TIME. I can sleep. I can take care of an email or seven (7) on the Blackberry. I mean, the possibilities are really endless as a snob on an LA bus!

So how do I connect this to life? I mean, I saved the world today if you think about it. Really, I did. And that is who I got to be, a freaking X-Men, fast-moving, environmentally friendly and people friendly world-saver! When taking on these different life characters, you get to OWN it. And own it I did! Mine all have to do with movement, but its all the same. So to recap my 'owning of life':
* as a runner, I party on the pavement with my ipod and a smile. Maybe a wave, maybe not.
* as a biker, I might inspire GREEN living in others and sweat in the race with gas-guzzling traffic.
* as a carpool-er, I get to save gas and change a negative to a positive attitude while getting to work quicker!
* as a bus rider, I get to think about ALL THIS, talk to myself, and share it with you!

So here we are, riding along in life. As a runner, teacher, swimmer, trash man, trapeze artist, dancer, lover, doctor, senior citizen, bus rider....whatever you are... for 17 minutes, for today, for the year, for life... how will you save your world, thus the world, while doing it?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Start Walkin' UGG Boots

So today on the bus...

visual: Slept in late today and ended up wearing a rather mismatched outfit. Of course, the lululemon pants, UGG boots and the best part, my lite blue family hoodie that we all wore for my Grandparents' 50th Anniversary Cruise. It zips up and my name in BOLD letters with the word, granddaughter typed underneath. Oh ya, move over for this granddaughter snob.

It was a cooler day in Beverly Hills today and I was so happy to be stomping around in my UGG boots and a liteweight jacket. Two of my buses arrive at my stop, so I choose the last one, as it seems to have a shorter line. I jump on the bus, ready to get home a little earlier than usual. Thank my bus driver for picking me up and head to the back.

The bus driver is a larger and loud woman. Her voice carries. Yelling something to an older man about the last stop or Westwood or something, I just brush it off, thinking she must have just been talking to that guy about his route. I ask questions about my stops all the time.

I find my seat and as the bus was not too heavy, I handle a business call while riding. Nobody gives me the evil eye, so I continue conversing, strategizing and planning a new blog venture. Man, the bus is loud though. And for some reason, it sounded like we were going through a NASCAR race track tunnel. Oh, well that is because my crazy driver decided to race past another bus.

Scared. For. My. Life.

Came out alive though. Ended the call, as I couldn't hear anything in our race tunnel and contemplate a quick cat nap before I go work out today. Sounds lovely!

Then, all of a sudden, my bus stop at its regular Westwood stop. Near UCLA and the Wilshire Corridor. Good location, makes sense. But the bus driver is yelling "LAST STOP". I'm like, no, no that cannot be right. That must be for that guy she was talking to. Nice of her to tailor this route for him.



I look around to my bus-riding friends who are still seated and just as shocked as I am. What is she talking about? I scurry off the bus, as she is still yelling and demanding our exit. I really was almost scared of her.

So, I stumble off into Westwood and realize the trek I shall make home. It is only a little over a mile, no big deal. My bus pulls across the street to a resting stop. I guess my bus driver needed her break, perhaps a little cat nap for her tired cat nap!

I walk. My feet are literally sweating in my tall UGG boots. Not such a great idea now. Oh no, now the shins are sweating! I WOULD choose the bus that needed a break. I would!

Bus 720. You have always been so great to me. And, now this?

Zooming past me, as I hoof along, are more of my bus 720's - I see thier drivers didn't NEED their break. I swear, four of them just went past me. But I am not about to pay ANOTHER $1.25 to go one mile. I won't do it! And damn, what is with ALL the litter on the sidewalks? Do we need more trash cans around here??

I finally let go of the bus that stopped short. In the duration of my walk, I ponder the life lesson here. What is it? Some times people just need a nap? Next time, listen when she is yelling about a last stop? Can you really be upset about a 1 mile walk??

Actually, I think it is something about an alternative route. Some times in life, the bus driver stops and doesn't take you all the way home. You have to walk, or ride your bike, or pay for another bus or call for help from a friend that lives nearby. We don't always get exactly where we need to be. But if you want to get home, you will figure out a way. It is who you get to be and where you choose to end up!

So, choose to curse and sulk at life, or come on boots, start walkin'!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ride With Me

So today on the bus....

visual: Awaiting the bus with the last bit of change from my fanny pack equaling exactly one dollar and twenty five cents, I am feeling good. With my purple backpack weighted down by one sustainable lululemon water bottle in the left side pocket, evenly balanced with my sustainable lululemon tea carrier in the right side pocket, I feel so very green and purposeful...

For the first time, I am taking the bus EAST of Beverly Hills and into a part of town I have yet to travel on the public transportation system of Los Angeles. I wait with my fellow bus riders for the RUSH bus 720 to take us deeper downtown. There is still something about the night riding that irks me a bit, but I shake it off.

I hop on the bus and flash the bus driver a smile and nod. After all, I am whitening my teeth this week, someone should see those pearly whites.

I get on the packed bus and it is standing room ONLY tonight folks. I squirm through the passengers that I guess have a desire to stay near the front - as the back of the bus has PLENTY of standing room. Squirm, squirm I go. I find a space near the exit and hold on tight to the pole. Visions of H1N1 scatter within my head viewing hand-on-pole, ehh I shake it off, too. Literally, right off that pole and lean for balance.

There are some British people riding the bus. A younger crew sharing stories and favorite movies. Laughing and just enjoying their ride. I lean back a bit - as to almost inject myself into conversation with this fun crew.

"Oh yes, I enjoyed the movie, Hangover too. Hilarious! Yes, I had to watch it a couple times to catch all the parts...". "Oh, I too am a Larry David fan, I just love Seinfeld....". "Yes, yes the weather here was insane today! That's LA for you!". "We Americans are pretty crazy...ha ha".

Well, that was the conversation I had with them in MY head. They were pretty enthralled with one another. I sighed as they left the bus together. The four of them rushing to whatever life adventure they had to get to.

How fun to ride the bus with friends. I could stare at the bus doors EVERY day and probably never see a friend of mine jump on. Unless that old man with those massive eyebrows got back on, my heart might sink. Anyways, how great would that be? Like when you are grocery shopping and run into an old friend and you talk over lettuce. Or running into someone at a bar and sharing a cold pint. Nope, not on my ride. Not on this bus!

More people should go green. Ride buses with one another. Takes the stress off driving. Take a load off. You can share a seat and a conversation with one another you might never have had if you were paying attention to the road or talking via cellular phone device. You can both have coffee and look at one another whilst still getting somewhere, location-wise and relationship-wise.

What a cheap date idea! I am taking a dude on a date with this snob on a bus on my favorite route. We are going to sit there and chat while getting to some amazing life adventure spot of our own. How is that for a date idea! Or a new reality TV show! Oh they have that one, the NEXT bus. Bummer.

Regardless, who's riding with me tomorrow???

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tangled Mess of Social Constructions

So today waiting for the bus...

visual: Navy blue low waist lululemon pants that flare just right to fit over my green sneakers that somehow perfectly match my avocado green jacket that I seem to wear every day and now cannot imagine my life without it, purple backpack, and blackberry up to my ear, I wait for the bus in the late part of the evening.

So I wait for the bus and am feeling super snobby tonite. I choose to be on my Blackberry device - maybe to disguise that I am actually waiting to take the bus home from a long day at work. "That girl wearing lululemon on her, she is not getting on that bus". Of course, every number I dial, no one answers. So, I just keep leaving messages. Feeling lame.

I am circling the bus stop like those vultures you see in desert documentaries on Animal Planet. Choosing NOT to sit on the bus bench and ducking around, hiding in my Elvis-like collar of my amazing green jacket. I wait on Wilshire and Beverly, a playground of my old life when I used to work in the entertainment agency world. What if I run into someone? Will they judge me? Will they offer me a ride home? Will they see me and not say anything because they feel awkward?

These are the questions that went through my head as I scrolled through different numbers to continue to dial...

I paused. Smiled.

I took a seat on that damn bench at the bus stop. I embraced it. I let go of all the stories I had just made up. What I looked liked waiting at the bus stop. What it meant to be on the LA Metro. What my small cellular contraption might distract my audience from....

All crap.

I am waiting for the bus. I need a ride home and this is how I will get home. Who cares what other people think? Why do I care what I am riding? How can I attach all this nonsense to a motorized vehicle and my seat on it? All this meaning around social status.....

I shudder at how shallow I had just been. I reach for my five quarters and jump on my bus. With pride, I drop those quarters in, greet my driver with gratitude, and sit down with a new sense of meaning.

It is so easy to get caught up in the tangled mess of social constructions around us. We let them create our reality. I had felt so bad for myself. Had just gone and thrown a huge pity party for poor me waiting at the bus stop. Think of those five minutes of my beautiful life I lost feeling sad for myself, in which those five minutes I could have been putting toward something great. Such as, how I make a difference in the world? How tomorrow morning I am going to use my sustainable lululemon travelers coffee cup and GO GREEN? Or, who I was lucky enough to encounter, converse with and inspire today at work?

Choose to see that you are part of something beautiful.

It took me a couple minutes, but I got there.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Storytelling on the LA Metro

So today on the bus....

visual: Waiting for my 720 RUSH bus, I stare over the back of the bus bench longingly at the 711 wishing they carried Barq's Root Beer in their fountain machine. I chat with my dad via Blackberry while sporting my weeks-worn-in UGG boots with the snap pockets on the sides, indigo blue lululemon shorts (made for running - not bus riding), and a lime green jacket. No sunglasses today, as I cannot find them and I guess, cannot hide today.

So, I wait for the bus today for work, curious as to who I will meet today. I give my audience a once over; skinny, homely girl does not make eye contact, lanky bearded man with dark shades and leather jacket has that scary appeal, and short dude leaning up against the pole with his over-gelled hair seems too cool for school.

The bus arrives right on time. I jump on and take a seat in the front seats. They are wide open and invite me in. Lo and behold, bearded man with leather jacket sits right across from me. He is seriously wearing eight layers - as if we are in the middle of a snow New York. Scarf and all, carrying his drumsticks.

So, he engages in conversation with me in a half Pirate half English accent. Asking me how I am and where I was going? Sharing where he has been and asking for direction to the Greyhound Station in Union Square. In my head I am thinking, this guy really thinks he is in New York! So I get out the Blackberry and check out the Greyhound station via Google. I offer my new friend directions and hoping that is all he needs.

Well, it definitely was not all he needed. And little did I know, I was sitting across from a young and soon-to-be rich genius. This gentleman told me that he had become a doctor at the young age of 24 and had gone to teach as a professor at Berkeley. "The name's Dr. Ryan, he said". Nice to meet you. He continues, he left teaching a couple years later to pursue his real passions in the fine arts, showcasing his aforementioned drumsticks. He confides in me, leaning a bit closer off the seat, that he had played with the likes of 'Blood, Sweat and Tears', Sting, and Mick Jagger. Nodding and reminicing within this story, he claims he has a bundle of money coming in from overseas.

I, well, I am flabbergasted. I feel as if he is awaiting that starstruck reaction. I try to muster up the wide-eyed attention he deserved, but I was so distracted by the missing teeth on his bottom row and the grey pants that were nearing the color of charcoal due to lack of laundry visits.

Playing along, I shared how amazing it was that he followed his passions and dreams for the fine arts and really made a career for himself. He had really made it. He smiled and agreed in that weird Pirate Brit accent.

Approaching my stop, I thought about the story I had just heard. That is this man, Dr. Ryan's reality. But that is who he thought he was. On the LA bus, in dirty clothing - he was Mick Jagger's drummer and was once a professor at Berkeley.

I depart and give the man a good bye, "Good luck Doc!".

In all reality, he was just like me....and you. Telling his story while I live mine. I ride the bus because I go green to better our earth, and because times got tough and a car payment wasn't in the cards....errr or bank statement. I am going to change the world. And, I am a possibility of love for everyone in any capacity, whether they need directions to Union Square in Los Angeles, goal setting to creat a future, someone to just listen, or a necessary hug.

And, that's who I am. That is my story.

So, go ahead bus riders of Los Angeles. Tell me a story today....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hold My Hand

So today on the bus...

visual: Starbucks in one hand, holding up my navy blue beach cruiser in the other, I wait. Bright avocado green lululemon jacket, running shoes, hot pink head band, plaid sunnies...ready to take on this day.

So, I am waiting for the bus today and this cute older woman is waiting next to me. Not super old, but middle age old. Wearing larger glasses and a cute newspaper delivery boy looking hat. Her hands begin to flail around in the air, and all of a sudden, a similar aged man appears scooting across the street to stand by her side. They wait together. Next to me and my bike.

704 RUSH it comes truckin' along. The older couple jumps on. Per usual, I begin to sweat a little bit thinking about this bike-on-a-bus thing, but I go ahead and throw that beach cruiser on the front, like a freaking METRO genius. I jump on the bus with a little swagger in my step and find my seat near the front. The bus driver is hitting on everyone that steps up to his bus, but that is a whole different story. He even picked up some plaid shirted woman not even at a bus stop, now I know she didn't wave and I know that is against the rules.


So, I am sitting there riding along, minding my own business. Nothing too interesting. I'm in the front of the bus, so I cannot really see anything back in the back. I blackberry a little bit. We stop and go due to Beverly Hills traffic. A cute young girl with a half braided head of hair and half fro steps on hand-in-hand with her caretaker. I offer up my seat, as the bus is getting pretty full.


I get up and move to the seat on the other side of the bus, just in case. Of course, the caretaker takes the seat and continues to work on the little girls' hair. I smile because I knew she needed my seat and I had recognized that and took action. Yes, I am celebrating that.

So now, sitting next to me is that cute older couple that I had mentioned previously at the bus stop. I knew I had loved them from the minute I saw that old man scurry to his little lady. What I had not noticed at the beginning of my ride in my first seat was that these two were holding hands. Had been the entire time. I smiled.

There I am sweating on the LA Metro. I have the flirty to a point of annoying bus driver in the front, some scary obese man in the middle area flicking off homeless people as we pass by - literally jamming his middle finger against the window and saying some craziness, and then right next to me, my amazing hand-holding couple.

Realizing that I would have not even had the chance to notice the beauty of these two wonderful people holding hands, sharing love, and just being love....had I not taken a job that I was passionate for, had I not turned in my car lease and bought a bike, had I not turned to the bus as a mode of transporation, and had I not given up my seat on that bus for the caretaker with the half-fro'd youngster - I breathe a sigh of gratitude.

Life's funny that way.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sharing is Caring

So today on the bus....

visual: me at the bus stop, rockin' all organic cotton lululemon today in my charcoal hip pants and new black 'bat wing tee' that I thought would sell out in minutes and convinced myself I had to own. A little flare with the hot pink braided belt low on the hips, bright purple nostalgic backpack and those 70's massive grandma sunglasses I love to sport. There I am, ready to ride.

It was a big day for this snob on a bus. I took the bus 3 (three) times today. Three! You read that right. I had places to go, and my wheels were the LA Metro.

So, I took my first bus today, the number 2. I did learn that the RUSH buses are actually much faster. The 2 stops at about every other block. No joke, I felt like I was learning to drive a stick again for the first time with all the stop and go, stop and go. And, I don't know if it was the hour I was riding or what, but man, there were a lot of late aged people riding the bus with me today! Thus making each and every stop that much longer, as they set their walker aside, or grab the railing for support, or mosey on up to the opening doors from the corner.... I appreciate them riding the bus, because Lord knows they have no reaction time and should NOT be driving moving that slow. They were friendly passengers, however. One woman just grabbed my hand and had me help her off the bus, no problem. Short, blue eyes, white hair, crunched over - thanked me and mumbled something I couldn't understand and was on her merry and very slow way. Bold those older bus riders, bold I tell you.

As for my second ride, what is the deal with people sitting on the outside seat? I am standing right here, MOVE OVER by the window. Your purse does NOT need that seat. I am a clean, law-abiding, and rather lively and almost lovely citizen. Scoot over and let's enjoy a conversation or at least take a load off, together. Fine, whatever, I'll just go sit in the back.

Nope. I will never sit in the back of the bus, again. Never. So, because of all these sit-on-the-outside-seat-so-no-one-can-sit-beside-you-people, I take a little jaunt to the back of the bus and sit between 2 gentleman, one rather small man and another jamming to his ipod. After a couple stops, all of the back-of-the-bus passengers move on and new friends fill in. One is talking to himself, oh man that was kind of awkward. Do I listen? Make eye contact? Where is my damn ipod? And, some sleepy passengers snuggle in.

Well, here is the kicker, I am sandwiched in the middle of these 2 men, right? And, of course, to my left is the talker, talking to him and himself alone. So, at one point in my trip, the smaller guy sitting next me proceeds to vacate his seat and sit near the crazy talker guy and not me! I mean, they had a seat between them and he got a window... But still, what?!?! Again, with people not wanting to sit next to one another? Don't we all just want love in the long run? Except you crazy talker, I can't go there.

My last ride was uneventful. I almost feel odd when nothing crazy happens on the LA public transportation system. Almost let down, I could say. It is like I am settling comfortably into the dirty seats, the finger-smudged windows and grumpy bus drivers. Weird. Give me something to write about....

Long bus rides short, SCOOT OVER people. Let's have a conversation and get real today. Let me in, or at least let me sit down next to you. Sharing is caring.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

So today NOT on the bus....

visual: me leaning over my navy blue bike, waiting for bus number 4. So exhausted, just rocking the brightest of blue lululemon pants, neon pink headband, sweat soaked face and a lingering headache from the previous evening's events. I wait...

So, I am waiting for the bus today late in the evening. I rarely ride the bus at night, so it seems to feel a bit different. I creep myself out and deem everyone waiting with me crazy, killers, or foreigners that are talking bad about me in their foreign language. So I am waiting, as instructed by trip planner, on the SOUTHEAST side of the intersection. Waiting, waiting....

I roll a couple circles around my bus stop checking out the signage - I really do not know how to read them. However, I did notice that my stop had the large number 1 and 9....but no 4. That's odd. But the trip planner has never steered my wrong before, so I wait a bit more.

Waiting... Waiting....

Well this is insane, I am on 2 wheels. I should just ride home. I am not that far, hell I just ran all the way down here.

Then, I look forward, and literally 6 paces away is ANOTHER bus stop. What?!? I have been at the wrong stop the whole time. Great! This blog should be called or really, And, why put the bus stops so close to one another bus-stop-planner? It could be confusing!

So, I switch my stop. Roll over there. I see a large number 4 posted along with a couple other numbers. I guess those signs do hold some value. Take note for future. Who knows if I even missed it already. And there are other bikers at this stop. I mean, there are only 2 spot for bikes on the front of the bus. Is this a line thing - do they go before me and I have to wait even longer?

Well, I give the bus 3 minutes and then I am just going to pedal my tired bum home - no bike light and no energy. Real smart idea. So I am waiting....

Hallelujah! Here it comes. Bus number 4. Me and this dude beside me get ready with our bikes. I guess the other bikers are waiting for a different line. Phew! So I am there, ready to pull the rack down and get on this big blue bus.

I am not even kidding, the bus flew right past me. I was so focused on the bike rack and my stop-mate with the bike beside me - I didn't WAVE them down. I had figured maybe my guy beside me would do it, but he is getting on the bus pulling up behind and actually stopping. I mean, maybe I thought that the damn bus would just stop ....we are at a BUS STOP!

Needless to say, I did not ride the bus today. I said to myself, you do not even deserve to be on the bus. You know the rules by now, you know to wave them down. I have no one to blame but myself, well - and my bike.

So for my punishment, I made myself bike home on the sidewalks. That's right. Exhausted and out of steam having to yell out LEFT or RIGHT whenever I come up behind the happy couple walking to their car or cute motorized scooter. I almost gave this one girl a heart attack. I hate the "Biker on your LEFT" shoutout...I just hate it!

What did I learn today? Read the signs. And for the love of God, WAVE!