Thursday, December 31, 2009
HAPPY DECADE'S EVE!
visual: lululemon black Groove Pants with a green plaid waistband matching my green plaid headband, bright orangish-red tank and black Shape jacket groove to the bus in my ever so comfortable UGG boots and green stunner shades.
I am feeling a bit rushed today as I scoot out of my apartment and head to a new bus stop. It is actually much closer than my Rapid 720 Bus stop. I would estimate roughly 32 steps from my front door to this local bus stop. Now, you know my dedication to the Rapid bus versus the local bus line, but I am open minded as I wait for the Big Blue Bus #14.
Reason for new bus stop is my NIA dance class I am attending this morning is on a different side of town. I have requested the Irish River Dance theme, hence my green plaid attire! Very exciting. New dance moves to end my 2009 and a new bus route. Watch out 2010!
My bus arrives right on time and I jump on and greet my very friendly bus driver and wish him a Happy New Year's Eve. Not a soul on the bus, just me. Strange. Very clean bus, yet almost sterile. Our Metro line has to get some life in it. Pimp my Bus Ride, MTV!
We twist through neighborhoods at a rather rapid pace. A longer route than usual due to the local line and all its stops, but still good timing. We pick up a handful of passengers here and there. An older woman sits across from me with these huge reading glasses and a larger purse, a group of kids jump on and move towards the back and a couple other strangers scatter to fill my new bus.
Now, the woman across from me is silent for a bit then dives into a conversation, with herself. There is a young gentleman sitting near her and we glance and smile at one another understanding the present moment. She is speaking about X-Rays and pains and health conditions. I notice she is talking to someone, not necessarily just talking to herself. So interesting. I always wonder about people who speak with themselves on the bus. Are they talking to themselves? Are they speaking with someone that they believe is sitting and/or standing next to them? Are they talking so I might respond? I guess they never get lonely as they always have someone to talk to at all times.
Regardless, she rambles on. As we approach her stop she stands up ever so gracefully and asks the bus driver to be as close to the intersection near her bus stop as possible, as she is just so tired. He complies. She nods and goes back to her seat.
How nice of the bus driver to allow her a little less walking time. So friendly.
We approach her stop and she stands to exit and reaches for the hanging loop for balance. However, she somehow loses that graceful balance she had just exemplified and swings around and falls on the younger gentleman that was sitting near her. She literally falls straight into his lap and flails around for a moment. He helps her up. She apologizes, saying she did not mean to do that and gathers herself to depart.
I am in shock. I wish I had a video to connect to this - as I would reenact the entire display for you. visual: Feeble older woman. Huge reading glasses. Large purse. Slowly stands up and reaches for the loop. Imagine a large rope that kids swing on in the movies then drop in a lake. Or a monkey hanging from a tree and swinging from one long arm. That is what she looked like: She held on tight and just swung around and RIGHT into this man's lap. Crash! Old woman arms and legs flailing around and the man's eyes wide and trying to help her up.
I think my mouth dropped open. It was like a car accident and I could not avert my attention for the life of me.
As she departed, I look to the man who had just helped her off of his lap and we both start smiling and quietly laughing as the image replays and we contemplate, "did that just happen?".
I really have to wonder if it was an accident. The bus did not stop all that hard. And, as an avid bus rider, you learn the ways of a moving bus. Especially when you are holding on to the loops for balance!
Thus, I ponder. I think about my life and human touch. I probably receive an average of six to ten hugs a day. That is a lot of love in my book. When I am with my family or friends, the number sky rockets. I love the energy transfer and the affection that comes with the human touch. Be it a warm embrace, a shoulder laying on another, holding someones hand or even a high five - it comes from a place of acknowledgement and love. And that is really what we all want at the end of the day, love.
In the one of my favorite films of 2004, Crash there is an incredible quote pertaining to this exact occurrence with the older woman on the bus:
"It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something."
I agree with this completely. People avoid all human contact. I really believe that woman fell on to that young gentleman on purpose. She needed love. The energy transfer. Human touch.
One of my first bus experiences in Santa Monica was with a homeless woman in sequence pants asking me for a hug at my bus stop. She just needed love. If only for that moment. And I sure hugged her.
What would life be with out that interaction? Reach out and love someone today. Literally share the human touch and truly feel it.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
visual: Hot pink lululemon athletica fleece over my gray knit leggings tucked in my lite gray with purple striped legwarmers step quickly in my blue Haviana flip flops to the bus today. A heavier purple backpack slows the process as my yoga mat is strapped in and I am ready to take the day.
I had one of those mornings where I walk out the doors and the sun is not even up yet as it was so early and a bit overcast. I feel as if I am forgetting something. Upon turning the corner from my street, I had to double check for my keys. Six steps later, make sure I have five quarters and my wallet. Seventeen steps later, did I bring my daily planner? Took me forever to get to the bus stop with all the double checking. What kind of day is this going to be?
I arrive on time and wait patiently. It is chilly compared to the past couple of days and I am now reconsidering my flip flop choice, as my UGG boots sit behind that locked door in my cozy apartment. The bus approaches, no decision making there. 720 all the way. I am on and ready to roll. Thank You Ms. Bus Driver and front seat for me this morning with the heavy and somewhat cumbersome load.
In observing my bus trek, I see a woman with quite a few bags in the first row and a gentleman in a snowflake sweater near my seat. I am smiling and nodding, but no eye contact and no response.
A gentleman approaches the bus driver in between stops. He is carrying a bottle of something and is whispering to the bus driver. I lean in a bit and they are talking about a trash can. I catch a glimpse of the object in his hand, it contained some type of drugs or curios substance. Must have fallen out of a previous passenger's pocket on their ride. I lose stuff all the time: water bottle, sustainable coffee cup, journal, candy cane.... So we pull over to the nearest sidewalk trash can and the gentleman throws it out.
How epic. A drug find on my early Metro ride, and a cool enough citizen to get it off the bus, off the streets, and in the trash. Bus riders saving the World!
At the next stop, a kind gentleman sits down in my row. One seat open between us, we greet one another and begin conversation. He is very cordial and I recognize the vibe. He reveals his Midwest roots from Illinois - I knew it! I told him I went to school at Indiana University and I was a Hoosier at heart! Immediate connection. It is a Midwestern thing.
We talk about his life in LA. He used to be in the Air Force and he smiles a lot. He shares his goals and talks to me about his plan to be in Montana on a farm with two horses by this time next year. I share my goals and a move away from our sunshine city in my future and reveal that the Midwest or Colorado is calling my name. He is delighted. Look at us, goal setting on the LA Metro. My favorite pastime in life, goal setting.
My exit approaches and I wish him well in his future in Montana. We depart and I feel somewhat uplifted.
As I head towards Beverly Hills, I think about my past year, my present bus-riding, yoga-loving, people-meeting life, and my future. I love that I get to leave a conversation on the bus that inspires me to polish up my goals for the fast approaching New Year, New Decade! We could have talked about the weather or the economy, but we chose to talk about how incredible our lives are and where they are going.
Talk goals with someone today. See what you find.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
visual: My bright green sunglasses covered by my dark brown hair that I am actually wearing down today with the most bright of a hot pink racerback tank over a lite grey pair of lululemon sweatpants hiked up to capri length to showcase my bright blue flip flops, waiting groggily at the bus stop today.
I lack the usual jump in my step today. I am coming down from the holiday bliss and craze, if you can have both at one time, I did. I approach my stop to notice that there are no other passengers waiting, I always take this as a sure sign that a bus has just passed and scooped everyone up. I inch closer to the 711 convenient store and consider a taquito! They have a large poster up in the window with a Sherlock Holmes Movie ad with the taquitos showcased on that same poster. Odd. However, my logic tells me, "well, I just saw Sherlock Holmes last night, so I should probably have one of those grease-filled, crunchy and delicious taquitos. I mean, they are combined on the advertisement! It only makes sense.". Ridiculous what we can make ourselves believe. I opt out for a protein bar and regret every bite as I wait for the bus.
A couple stragglers finally arrive to wait with me at the bus stop. Sundays are a slower day for bus traffic in the afternoon. The bus arrives and we all jump on.
The bus driver is handing out some type of pamphlet to everyone. Somehow, I get skipped. I guess he did not want me to have this coveted bus news. What if they are offering free days? What if my route has been changed? What if my blog is featured in that pamphlet?
I venture towards the back of the bus today and ride along in silence. I was chatting away on my cell phone at one point, but I quickly disconnect the phone call after someone sits down next to me. I gaze around. My normal take on the bus. But today, I feel different. Something is not clicking for me. I don't want to say hi to the woman next to me. I don't want to just go up and ask for a pamphlet. I don't want to change the World today. I feel so tired. How weird?
In exiting the bus I rush across the street where Santa Claus and his Reindeer still float above on their clothesline above Beverly Drive. As I enter into Beverly Hills, I feel so out of sorts.
In realizing what just happened, I scoff. I just had the most awful attitude on the bus. Selfish. Tired. An almost ugly attitude. Okay, it was just plain ugly! Wondering why the bus driver didn't give me a pamphlet? Did I even thank him? Not saying hi to the lady beside me, as I had felt she had given me the up and down look of disapproval. Being secretly jealous of this older gentleman's jumpsuit and shiny jacket he was wearing - so 80's, so out there, so awesome!
Who was I in that moment on the bus today? I don't even recognize her.
And there it was. My answer. I had made that choice today. Made the choice to be Oscar the Grouch, no longer found on Sesame Street but clad in lululemon atheltica on the Metro Rapid 720! I did not want to change the World today. I did not want to be out for greatness today. I had given up for that very life moment.
Who I am being every day is a direct correlation to who I am for the World, my family, my friends, my team at lululemon, strangers on the bus.... for myself. If I face a day with a bad attitude, that is exactly what that day gets. I am thankful for the distinction. I am thankful that I can look at who I was on that bus today, shake my head, and choose a different attitude right now at this very moment.
We all have that choice. Make the distinction. I quote Mahatma Gandhi, "Be the change you want to see in the World".
On my bus today, I blended in, sat back, and did absolutely nothing.
On my bus tomorrow, I will change the World.
Friday, December 25, 2009
It is funny. Out of all the streets in Beverly Hills decorated with snowflakes and twinkle lights over the street, my bus stop got Santa and his reindeer. (See photo taken by my Blackberry upon exiting my Metro Rapid 720).
I am a holiday junkie. I listen to the Christmas jams before the Thanksgiving meal is done. I spread cheer and I love what it means for the World. Family, a much needed break from work, school, life... Love, gratitude and parties!
From this Snob On A Bus' heart to your heart, "I wish you health, wealth, happiness and all the love in the world" this holiday season.
Be thankful, go green, set goals, and live with intention!
Snob On a Bus
Friday, December 18, 2009
visual: A vision of all black waits for the bus today until you scan down and see the HOT PINK legwarmers over my green and navy Nikes. The lululemon holiday tee is worn again with inspirational quotes reading, "LOVE" and "Do One Thing A Day That Scares You" loudly across my chest. Green sunglasses and the purple backpack accessorize this ensemble as I rush to catch the bus.
I had no idea it was as hot as it was outside today. All black and legwarmers caused for a slight glow as I power walk to my bus stop. My empty stomach is speaking some type of absurd language as I approach the stop in front of the 711. Pavlov's Theory kicks in as I recall the insanely gross but somehow delicious taquitos they serve for $1.09. I panic as my stomach is screaming and my bus is not in sight.
I make the choice!
Purple backpack bouncing and sweat glistening, I approach the counter, "I just need one taquito! You pick the flavor and please do not make me miss the bus". The man at the counter rushes to get my snack and as he is slowly and carefully placing the sanitary blue gloves on his hand, my bus pulls up outside. PANIC. "It is here! Just throw it to me, please!" He rushes and we exchange money for disgusting grease in the shape of tortilla and what seems to be meat. And I literally run for the bus and made it just in time.
Well great. Now I am full on sweating, thank goodness I am wearing all black. I step on and the bus is slammed. My memory bank shuffles to my annoyance of McDonald's smell on the bus, so I smash my 711 snack in my backpack and stand at the front.
The bus driver takes off with a vengeance and I fall backwards. Yes. I fall into the person in the first seat, ever so lightly. Really!?! I apologize and face forwards.
These four people are conversing so loudly, so they avert the attention from my fall. What a trip this has been already. As I eavesdrop, per usual, I am so elated to hear people making friends on the bus. The four strangers had not met and were so excited. I smile for the bus networking I see here. A true bond. A mini bus party, if you will.
As we approach our next stop, there are two men in wheelchairs waiting to ride today - we all must exit the front of the bus and stampede the aisle to the back. I find a seat and await the long line of passengers at this stop. Afternoons are so crowded! They continue to rush through and an older woman with bright blue eyeliner walks by. I offer her my seat and move further back on the bus. I am now seated across from the new and very, very loud friends.
As the last few passengers seek a seat, a younger man's backpack brushes against one of the loud ladies with the tallest ponytail I have ever seen. And wow, did she ever make a scene. Complaining about people and backpacks and respect.
Finally, we all get situated, she calms down and the bus continues on on its route. I see a girl across from me reading what I have written on my shirt and smiling. I love that - all this time I complain about no inspiration on the bus advertisement, not realizing I just have to wear it! Amazing.
I comment on her book; she is reading "Eat, Pray, Love". I adored that book, such a great read. We converse about the author's travels, adventures, and style of writing. Then that awkward silence happens when we can no longer talk about the book and we both start looking around aimlessly as the loud people continue to jabber on and on and exchange phone numbers.
A dude to the right of me comments on my outfit, "Are you going to aerobics class?".
I chuckle and inform him I am going to my place of work, in which we sell yoga inspired athletic apparel. He comments that he has not seen legwarmers worn for normal wear and we then begin to talk about the 80's comeback that is taking place. Mind you, I have been wearing legwarmers for years. A trendy snob I have never been. Maybe a new era for me....
The loud friends continue to converse and conversation moves into some medical speak about milligrams and needs. I am beginning to wonder if this beautiful networking on the bus is more than what meets the eye. I disregard and check my Blackberry emails.
An older man enters the bus and I offer him my seat and begin to move to the exit for the next stop. Oh goodness me, if my backpack did not barely brush the loud ponytail woman. She goes off again, on me this time. "Watch it, you gonna knock my prayers outta me...you people and backpacks...". Ranting about disrespect and all this nonsense. Ironic, as I did not see her give up her seat for anyone, yet when I try to be nice, she has to freak out. I want to rear around and give her a piece of this, but before I do so, a nice man standing in front of me looks at me and says, "She just runnin' her mouth, ain't she?" and we both smile.
The dude who loves the 80's comes to stand by me at the exit and we discuss the bus. He is riding because his car was impounded yesterday. I told him I just ride to get from point A to point B. Truth of the matter. I share my bus knowledge and he jumps off when I do. I thank my driver, and we carry on. He asks where I work and we depart with a nice handshake.
I mean, what a bus ride today. I almost fall down. I get yelled at by the loudest woman on the bus. And, I get hit on.
I am exhausted before I even get to work. And my taquito is getting cold in my backpack!
I don't really think I even had time to learn anything. The bus was absolutely crazy today, at some points awkward and at others just scary. A lot was going on and my mind was just running. I cross the street just laughing.
So much of the time I want to live with intention, set goals and be something great for this World. I guess, I often forget to just live life. Just enjoy the ride and be present.
What a crazy way life chose to reminded me how.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
visual: Bright purple plaid rain jacket compliments my purple backpack atop my navy blue lululemon hip pants rather nicely. Rocking the green sunglasses - even though it is overcast - but they match my green shoes, so I make it work while trekking to the bus today....
It has been an odd past few days with rain in Los Angeles. Like real rain. People in LA get weird when it rains. First and foremost, they cannot drive in the rain. Period. Second, it is like the sunshine is their vitamin pack for the day - so everyone is kind of groggy. And lastly, the bus kind of smells like raunchy mildew when it rains. Unpleasant, but we deal.
So, I am on the bus today. My bus that is, the Rapid 720. And, I am really loving my color combination - I do feel like I can wear purple and this plaid is just out of sight. Great job lululemon athletica. I tip my headband to you.
Riding along and nothing interesting, surprisingly with all the bad drivers and energy shifting. Well, I am proven wrong, there is a woman wearing a winter cap with white snowflake designs, sweatpants, a visitor sticker, and carrying some large garbage bag for a purse. She decides to stand at the front and distract my bus driver with some ranting and raving. I smile. The bus driver is not responding but she just keeps going on and on. I love it.
So she starts digging in this garbage bag, right? Yelling and searching.
"Does anyone have change for a dollar?", she screams to the bus.
I am in shock. Someone actually talking to the people on the bus collectively. I dive for my wallet in my backpack. Yes, my wallet is purple. I search for coins.
"Does anyone have change? Hello! Is anyone listening to me?", she yells again while digging.
I laugh. No way did she just quote my last blog post lesson!
"Yes, yes! I am listening! And, I do have change for you", I reply from the middle of the bus and begin to walk towards her up front.
As I am standing there with my wallet open and counting dimes, she reiterates that she needs change for a dollar. Twice. I comply and hand her 11 dimes. I am in a good mood and figure I can give her one to grow on.
"Is that a dollar even?", she yells. I smile, tell her no and let her know I gave her one more, just in case. She blesses me and counts them out in her hand.
She then starts sharing about her visit with her son at the Veteran's Hospital. I get some of the most interesting bus friends when we go past that stop.
I am enthralled to know more. However, there is a woman taking photos and my winter hat wearing woman literally freaks out! She thinks she was snapped in a photo and goes haywire. She shares that she is paranoid. She does NOT like her photo taken. And then....
"God is with me! God will protect me! I have Angels and God", she starts to yell. She looks around to place blame and stares at the photographer. She looks at me and responds, "I trust you, you gave me an extra dime. But everyone else...." and she continues on this rant.
She finally departs at the next stop with her $1.10 in change. Still yelling about God and the Angels and telling all those standing on the sidewalk.
I take my seat. Eyes wide. What was that interaction? Man, I love the bus!
And here I go, pondering the meaning of life today. I wonder why that lady trusted me due to the extra dime? And, it was interesting how she ranted about paranoia and then shifted gears to let everyone know she is protected always.
I honestly believe that her belief in God and the Angels allow that woman to survive. She would go absolutely mental, well - even more so than she displayed - had she not thought that someone was loving and protecting her always. And I don't know, maybe God is on her side in more ways than one - with the Angels and all she was preaching.
It just leads me to wonder, do we all have some type of protection system we immediately turn to?
I know for me in my life, my family is most definitely one of those saving graces. I imagine if I was a crazy, winter-wearing-hat, paranoid lady screaming at some photographer, maybe I would calm myself down and start yelling about my family. How funny my Dad is or how he always, always, always says "I love you" when he gets off the phone. Or, how my Mom is such a rock in my life and literally makes me believe in me. And that my sisters are my best friends and will grow up to make this World a better place! What if I just started screaming that out loud. I wonder if people would think I was crazy or be jealous of my protection system. Maybe a little of both.
I think we all have those people, belief systems, love,... it can be anything in our lives that allow us to "calm down" in crazy situations, or in life. It is in those challenging moments that push us to the limit that we realize who and what they are.
For me, I like knowing my saving grace. My "I am in a rock and a hard place, throw me a bone here?" protection system..
Where do you go when you ask someone for change and are then paranoid about the photographer snapping your photo and that it just might be the end of all beings with that photo click?
I hope for you, somewhere safe, inspiring and beautiful.
And, I hope in turn, you are that for someone else, too.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
visual: Weighted down today with not only the purple backpack, but also the over-sized, over-stuffed magenta patent leather gym bag digging into my shoulders, I wait. Bright ocean blue racerback tank peeking out from under the avocado green lululemon jacket which match my bright lime green sunglasses atop the brown herringbone spandex groove pants, yes you read that right, herringbone - and green Nike's wait on Sunset Boulevard for a new bus on this new day....
Its true everyone. I branched out today. I took a Right off my street instead of a Left and went and found a new bus route. Bus number 2. It is a local line. Blue bus, instead of the vibrant red bus I know and love. A bit different from what I might be used to, but I was up for this new challenge.
It is almost funny when you get in a rhythm. You feel so committed to your bus that you have taken daily and learned to know and trust. You know its exact stops and quirks. You have found a home on that bus 720 that moves so rapidly and wonderfully through this city of Los Angeles. Yes, as you can now see, I am dating Bus 720. Thus, I share the pain to leave it for a new one....
But it was time. I had a new gym membership and was in need of a different route. So, here I go.
My green Nike's move swiftly through Brentwood Village towards Sunset Boulevard. It is such a cute yuppy shopping area in a really pleasant part of town. Mid-walk, I seriously feel myself judging...myself. I am walking with not one bright colored lululemon bag, but two! I felt like some crazy bag lady. So you know, when you ride the bus, you don't have any car space or scooter seat space available to store your, well, your life. So packed up tight in both bags was what I needed for a full day - gym outfit (plus running shoes), work outfit (plus trendy tennis shoes), make-up bag, party outfit (plus black boots) for the birthday dinner I had later, and quarters. Yep, feeling pretty heavy here.
So, let's be honest, I had to drop the ego pronto. I didn't have enough energy for these bags, my full day, this new bus route, and my "poor me with all my bags and no space to keep it" complaints. I smiled, shook that off and arrived at my bus stop. I am a lean, 'green', earth-saving machine!
And there it was in about five seconds flat - my new bus.
I jump on, per usual, insert my quarters and thank my bus driver. He does not respond. Not near as friendly as my bus 720 drivers. Hmmph.
I take a seat in the front and notice the bus is so empty. Comparison game in my head, the bus 720 is so much better than this with people actually wanting to ride it. Hmmph hmmph.
Where are the TV's on this local 2?
Then I noticed the fabric on the seats. A gray background with blue, orange and red lightning bolts shooting down the seat. Inviting? Not so much. I miss my vibrant and 80's-like fabric on my bus.
And then, I hear the front door just rattling with the utmost of efforts upon every bump we hit. I am like, "Dang, I thought the screws were loose and the shocks were bad on my rush bus..."
I do notice a very cute, old man with a cardigan sweater with Charlie Brown zigzags across the front and high water khaki pants that reveal his thick white socks in his khaki-colored orthopedic sneakers. I smile. He stares blankly at the front of the bus.
And then I realize, I am a Snob on a Bus. But ironically, I am being snobby about the bus I ride. Have I moved from Snob on a Bus, to Bus Snob? I am comparing this no-fun, no-people, SLOW, no-shocks, "local" bus to my beautiful, rapid, friendly, fun bus #720.
Would you look at me? A true bus snob. I have favorites!
So now, I just feel funny. Well, and awesome. You know, I really have embraced this lifestyle change and live an amazing life with it. I wear a bicycle necklace around my neck, I use sustainable cups, I walk to the bus stop every day, I pack my life in bags to make it work, I found a Blackberry Application for public transit transportation, and I will always have quarters on me. And gosh darn, I like myself!
Life takes you in different directions. Places you thought you would never be. Did I think I would ever be riding the bus, no! Did I think I would ever be putting a beachcruiser on the front of the bus, definitely not! Did I ever think I would have a favorite bus route and bus type - hell no! I used to be "too cool" for public transportation, remember? I some times cringe at that thought. Who was I?
But now, what seemed like so much "no" and "never" in my life has now become a yes, yes, yes!
I think that transcends all things. What do you allow to be a "no" in your life that in actuality can really be a "yes"?
Can I go back to school at age 40?
Should I change jobs to do something I have passion for?
Can I stand for his/her greatness?
Can my life be bigger than this?
Can I be the next President?
Can I change the World?
A "no" to a "yes".
Thursday, December 10, 2009
visual: Bright blue lululemon pants, black holiday tee with inspirational writing with the hot pink micro-fleece I found and love from Canada wait for the bus today. I smile as the sun is shining and it is chillier for LA weather, my green Nikes tap anxiously as my matching green sunglasses stare down Wilshire Boulevard.
It was a crowded on the Rapid 720 Bus today. I had to stand for most of the first part of the trip. I always feel like such a beacon of neon colors at the front, as no one is talking to one another and just staring around.
After a couple stops, I finally sit near the middle in a window spot. I wait with anticipation as my new bus riders enter the bus to fill the open seat next to me. Who is gonna sit by friendly me today? I almost feel bad for the person, what if they want to sleep? What if they don't want to have a great interaction? What if ... ehh, someone just sit down!
A man sitting a couple seats in front stands up and moves the two rows back to sit next to me. He is wearing a gray winter cap and on over-sized hooded sweatshirt. He is a larger man and almost cozy sitting next to me. I smile and we sit in silence for a moment. I wonder why he moved if he already had a comfortable seat?
As the bus powers on, we drive through the Wilshire Corridor, my favorite part of the drive - I just love all the trees and tall buildings and blue skies. I smile and look out the window. I turn to my new friends and start to speak without realizing he is already asleep! He rustles awake and I apologize and tell him I just wanted to point out to him how beautiful of a day it is today.
He smiles and wakes up a bit.
We begin to converse and share our backgrounds. His name was Mike and he was just wonderful. A deep, throaty voice and deep brown eyes with the wrinkles on the side when he smiled. I love those. When my Grandpa smiles his eyes almost disappear, it makes me melt every time. Mike had those eyes when he smiled.
We talk about where we are going, where we work and the weather. He asks me where I live and I tell him my story and city of residence. I pause and there is a silence, so of course, I ask him, "where do you live?".
He chuckles and shakes his head. He says, "I set myself up for this one" and looks back to me.
He shares that he lives downtown in Low Income Housing. He laughs a bit and talks of his past and tough times. I look at him, listen and smile. I talk about how I heard Downtown is really up and coming these days and how a roof over one's head is a roof over one's head.
I think I scared him a little bit. I just smiled. In my head I was just telling him, "I love you" and "Everything is going to be just fine and that you are doing a great job". And I think it exuded out of me. He opened up and thanked me for being so friendly. He told me I am probably good at customer service because I am good with people. I agreed and told I am pretty good in the fit rooms of lululemon athletica. I make all the ladies feel good in the spandex. He laughs. I laugh, too.
And then, I notice how much I love the sounds of laughter. Its almost harmonious when you and another human being laugh together. I cannot sing worth a darn, but I can harmonize with the best of them when it comes to laughing. And that is exactly what Mike and I did. We did not speak in a place of judgement, sadness or fear. We just laughed together.
As I informed him my stop was coming up, he looked at me and said he wished I could ride the rest of the way with him. And I really think that if I had the time and didn't have to be on time for work, I would have sat next to him the whole way.
As the old man had wished me "wealth, health and happiness always" on a previous bus ride adventure, I turn to Mike as I depart and wish him with a smile the most "wealth, health and happiness" and tell him that I believe in him and all that he is capable of.
He chuckles yet again and smiles.
We half hug. And I thank the bus driver and depart.
Share laughter today. Listen to it. It is so beautiful.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
visual: The chestnut brown UGG boots were made for walkin, and that's just what they did in my lululemon turquoise Feel Good Pants (fancy name for our old school sweatpants), light blue long sleeve with comments like: "Sweat Once A Day" and "Breathe Deeply" all over, hidden only slightly beneath my knit salmon colored scarf and matching knit ivory arm warmers. Lastly, my bright purple backpack clinks with change and sustainalbe cups, as my bright green 'stunner shades' look West down Wilshire Boulevard for bus 720...
A beautiful, crisp LA morning. The sun was shining after a rainy day yesterday with a bright blue sky that almost perfectly matches my long sleeve. I enjoy a delicious brunch this morning w/ a friend discussing goal setting and communication before heading to the bus for work today. Perfect start!
I arrive at the bus stop, in a daze contemplating my to do list, work schedule, and mulling over my moments ago lunch conversation. The bus arrives almost one (1) minute after my arrival to the stop. That never happens! I step up with a smile and a mess of quarters, dimes and nickels - I had used the majority of my quarter roll for laundry yester-eve and had to break into my ELVIS bank for some much needed silver. I see that on my bus today, there are not one, but two (2) greeters for me! The bus driver himself, as well as a gentleman standing behind him. I count every coin until I see the meter hit $1.25. The man in the place of power behind the driver shouts hooray! I smile and high five him on the way to my seat. Funny.
I must note that in first seeing the two (2) Metro gentlemen, my thoughts race and I inquire to myself, "Is this a new bus protocol? Have these men been reading my Snob blog? Are they going to ask me questions about how to better the bus? Is this MY day?". Oh ya, I said all that ... in my head. Alas, the men did not seek me out for Metro advice or flag me down as I reached my stop. One day soon, LA Metro. I know it, one day soon you will come find me!
Anyways, so I find my seat in the very middle of the bus. That one seat with the accordion-like walls and moving floor. The bus is half full with sleepy passengers and many others busy with some type of hand-held device. I always wonder why the bus is so quiet? We are not at a library or in church? We are on our way to embark upon something great and make something happen, where my party people at? Not on this bus.
There is a young man sitting across from me in a black hooded sweatshirt, spiked black hair that could withstand the most powerful Texas hurricane, glasses and braces. He is avoiding contact and convrersation; lucky for him, his phone rings.
He is somewhat projecting with a deeper voice, so I take this as an invitation and eavesdrop to my heart's desire. As I am listening, I realize that the glaze-haired gentleman has to repeat himself numerous time. Thus, I am actually getting his story thrice over and somewhat annoyed with his friend on the other end. So of course, this gets me to thinking...
Are we getting the message? Are you even going to get this message? Or, is it that we are too distracted? Caught up in our to-do lists, those crazy careers, the concern about the tight fitting pants due to that golden Belgian Waffle with whip cream and strawberries we had to order while saying "oh c'mon self, its the holidays, right?", or that laundry weeks overdue that we keep walking away from but it somehow follows us out...?
So, I am trying on a new form of listening. Just like trying on a new pair of boots or an all black outfit, I am trying on listening. I am now listening for commitments. Listening with presence and for intentions. When listening to someone, if I have not learned something new, then I was not truly listening.
If I have not learned something new, then I am not truly listening.
I repeat for emphasis. And, I do this because everyone speaks with intention. Yes, yes they do. Even if they speak to hear themselves talk, or solely to entertain another human being, to share something important, or to tell you a life goal - everyone speaks with intention. The questions is, are we listening for it? Or, are we choosing what we want to hear? Listening on a personal level? Shutting down when you disagree or if there is no benefit for you?
As I ride across from the young man, I am more into the conversation than the friend on the other line. I catch him at one point, he blatantly asks the caller, "Ay man, what are you doing over there? Are you eating or something? Watching TV? You even payin' attention?".
Thus, I call you out and ask you, in your life conversations, "Ay you, what are you doing over there? You paying attention? You even listening?"
Listen for the intention. Listen for the commitment.
Always, always learn something new.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Thank you for your commendation of Line 720 operator. It was entered in our database with a copy forwarded to management staff responsible for this operator. A copy of your comments will also be placed in his personnel file.
- Metro Customer Relations
My heart smiled today when this email arrived in my inbox in response to my glowing review of the friendly and cordial bus driver, Art. I had given thanks where thanks was most definitely due, and the Metro responded! From this response, I realize that I can make a difference in the Metro system, elevate the bus driver, Art's life (and hopefully, his holiday bonus) and truly live my possibility of love and making a difference every day.
In my short time I have spent on this green Earth - I look back, well and forward, and I do have such a wonderful, beautiful life. As Ben Folds sang so eloquently, I truly am "the Luckiest". In realizing this, I wonder who I have been while living this wonderful life? As my bus driver, Art with a heart, received recognition from me and hopefully his management team - where do I begin with all the overdue acknowledgement in the rest of my life?
Acknowledgements such as: I have a simply amazing family. I tear up just writing about them because they literally rock my life in every way possible. I have a beautiful friend group that always stand for my greatness and life adventures. And, I absolutely love my job at lululemon athletica.
I realize that the way to truly thank those that have made our lives beautiful is to be that inspiration for anyone and everyone else. Keep passing on the gift.
Thus, I challenge you today to thank someone that has touched, moved and inspired you to greatness. Is it your family and friends, the amazing barista at Starbucks who is somehow glowing every morning at 6:00am, or that waiter that went above and beyond to give you the best dining experience? Oh, or maybe that writer that wrote something you truly enjoyed, or a stranger that chased you two blocks as you dropped a sock out of your laundry....
Be love for another.
Be the best life you will live.... for yourself, and for anyone and everyone in this world!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
visual: Black lululemon halter tank, black leggings tucked into my new obsession of trendy yet casual black boots and a black jacket is me in the not-normal-for-me-Ninja-esque outfit today. A hot pink woven belt slightly sitting on my hips adds a much needed flare and a neatly placed baby blue headband in my tangled 'messy look' of hair complete the snob-ensemble as I wait at the bus stop with a little attitude in my stance....
I am excited about today. I always wear bright colors or some kind of insane combination of lululemon neon extremities. Not today. I am all business, all black rendition of sexy Sandra D from the movie, Grease about to rock out with John Travolta down the aisle of Bus 720. Or maybe a little, can't touch this, nuh nuh nuh....Hammer style. It is funny, I literally feel like 'hot shit' (in a good way), waiting for the bus. About to Charlie's Angles anyone that messes with me. HI-YAH!
Alright, I have gone too far with the outfit. Funny how it can kind of take over....
So, I step up to my bus and insert my cash. After today, I am now clear that NONE of the machines give back change, so my past couple of rides have hiked from $1.25 to a lofty $2.00 trip. I shake it off and mentally note to get quarters immediately.
I find a seat near the middle to spice things up. I have been riding in the front too much as of late. Still feeling pretty awesome in my outfit rushing through traffic on Wilshire Boulevard towards my place of work in the 90210, I am manifesting something amazing.
Couple stops and there he is! No, not the young, attractive rider from the other night...but my old man with the extremely overgrown and never-been-trimmed-ever eyebrows with his nice suit and fedora. I recall our exchange from the past, he did not speak very good English and we just smiled a lot at one another. It was such a beautiful way of communicating.
He grabs a seat a couple rows in front of me. He must have missed my huge smile, probably the all black clothing threw him a curve-ball. Shucks! I look like everyone else on the bus in these deep monotone colors and my belt is hidden behind the other seat rows. An older woman starts walking to the back of the bus and I vacate my seat and offer it to her. When I say older, I do not necessarily think she was that old, but she just had an old face. It was as if she had prematurely started to wrinkle around her eyes and started hunching over, with a somewhat younger energy. Something like that.... Anyways, she took my seat.
I, of course, jump up to stand by my old man friend. I tap his nicely dressed shoulder and kneel down to his under-fedora-hat-eye level. I remove the plaid sunglasses for the eye contact effect, awaiting recognition and all out rejoice as we are about to re-connect.
He turns slowly around and looks at me somewhat startled. I smile and ask if he remembers me? He is dumbfounded as my heart slowly starts to break and I try to remind him of our past bus ride in a quick, save me, remember me, please! kind of way. I shake his hand and formally re-introduce myself.
He responds with a shoulder shrug and says, "I'm Persian. Not good English".
Well damn. This monumental moment in my bus-riding life had just been seemingly squashed by his memory loss and lack of communication skills.
Then, he grabbed my hand and told me that I was very nice and pretty. I knew the all black outfit would get them, some how, some way. Guess this was it.
I squeeze his hand back and let my heart slowly mend. I stand back up beside him and stay there the whole rest of the ride. He looks up and smiles every so often and we carry on in this way until I reach my stop.
I ponder my expectations in that moment. I had hoped and wished he would light up at the vision of me, hug me and be so happy to see me, just as I was as I saw him slowly step up to the bus and find his seat. I had expected an old-man loving embrace, friendly conversation and an authentic name exchange.
When I realized he didn't remember me, I immediately took it personal. I had remembered everything from our once off encoutner. He was so wonderful and such a new experience for my bus rides. "Pshhh, whatever!", I thought. I'll just go back to the back of the bus and find a different seat and let my ego just rake up points on embarrassment, narcissism and disappointment. So there!
But, I stood there. Beside him. Tapped him lovingly on the shoulder and smiled when he glanced up every other two minutes. I had made the choice to be love for another and still very glad to see him and share this bus ride - even though he didn't remember what I thought was an unforgettable face, mine, on the LA Bus.
Expectations. When these are not met, they can literally rock the bus ride of life. Again, it is WHO we choose to be in that moment. The choice we make for the remaining part of that interaction, or the day, the year, our lives....
Disappointment, fear, embarrassment, anger and the likes lead us down a path of destruction. Who would I have been for my older Persian friends had I just written him off and sat down in the back? I'll tell you, I would have been nothing, lame, and no one great. Instead, I stood there and just was present and shared the space with him.
As I departed, I wished him a beautiful day and a smile. He nodded and smiled back. And that is really all I needed. The communication of smiling that I had so quickly forgotten when he didn't recognize me. When he could not respond to my word vomit of "remember me? remember? remember this?".... that to him was and still is complete gibberish. It was humbling. Beautiful. Amazing.
I am so thankful that I saw him again. A familiar and friendly face on the bus. And an all too necessary lesson about expectations and who we get to be every single day when those high demands and one-sided expectations are not met, we are let down, and what we actually get to create in that very moment.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
visual: A smile underneath a bright blue satin headband holding back one long day's worth of what once was a clean ponytail, bounces above the high collared avocado lululemon jacket with the neon orange tank top peeking over the knit gray leggings steps on the evening bus today in worn out VANS slip-on checkerboard sneakers (no socks)...
My dream bus ride happened TODAY!
Whilst wishing my beautiful, little sister a very happy birthday and discussing the outfit options she is going to wear out to party tonight, I quickly end the conversation and step up to drop my five (5) hard-earned quarters into the slot. I greet my bus driver, who is the most friendly, to a point of jolly, man I have encountered today. I thank him, smile and head back to my seat.
Are you ready for this?
So I decide to sit in between two (2) people in the front of the bus. Yes, there are available seats in the back but it is the evening bus, so I had scanned the front seats and my body somehow pulled me right between these two seated passengers. Who sits between two people on a not full bus? I do. Maybe it was the lady with the glasses and puffy white jacket exuding warmth. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the full navy suit and tie, attractive, young, and clean cut gentleman sitting in the other seat.
So, I sit silently for a minute. Pondering if this is real. No way. No way had I just talked to my mother this morning about the bus and how there is never, every anyone near my age range that I would want to vacate the bus seats and transplant directly to a bar, share a cold brew and great conversation with. Never.
Well, would you look at that, you big old jokester of a World.
So I sit silent a little longer. Looking around. Glancing at the Transit TV right behind the dude in a suit's head.
"Santa Monica and Wilshire!"
What is this? My friendly bus driver actually yells out the approaching stops. Am I dreaming?
Did the LA Metro actually receive my Christmas List?
Finally, I make eye contact with this mystery, 20-something year old, well-dressed, and seemingly going green bus-riding gentleman. "My bag matches your jacket", he says. I had already noticed and noted that it appeared to be a sustainable shopper of some sort, but pretend I had not. His was in actuality more of a darker lime green, but alas, same color family. I smile, enthusiastically agree and we embark in conversation.
His name was Peter. He worked for some International company doing some business with the Consulate and Peru. He spoke fluent Spanish. Originally from West LA, a rarity in this city of transplants. And he studied abroad in Spain while attending UC Santa Cruz. As you can see, we did the normal song and dance. "Where you from?" "I work for lululemon athletica in the area, have you heard of it?" "Oh ya, I know, the Transit TV is quite awful." "Yes, I agree MTV should pimp our ride." "Oh, I know, I probably should wear socks with my sneakers." Well, the normal song and dance for meeting someone. Someone like me. On the rush bus 720. In Los Angeles, California.
Halfway through our route and conversation, the friendly and polite people we are, we vacate our seats and make room for two (2) elder women with walkers boarding the bus who wanted to sit in the front. We make the move to the back to the taller seats across from one another. It was seriously the quickest bus ride I have ever taken! Thank God for my friendly bus driver yelling out the approaching stops, because I would not have even noticed. My fear of missing my stop from falling asleep on the bus would have come true, minus the falling asleep part and insert meeting dude on a bus part.
I pull the yellow stop request line, jump up at the sound of my street and tell this Peter dude on the bus that it was very nice to meet him.
"Do you ride the bus often?", he inquires with a smile.
"Every day. Every day, my friend" I shout as I depart from our shared seating area.
I chuckle to myself. Where most twenty-somethings my age would have more of the "You come here often" encounter at a bar, my life has twisted into, "You ride the bus often?". Good one, life. Pretty funny.
I ignore the sign that says Please Use Rear Exit and I stomp my sock-less VANS up to the front and tap my broad shouldered bus driver on the shoulder. I tell him I think he is just lovely and the most friendly bus driver I have EVER had. He smiles and blushes. His name was Art. Art with a heart, I think to myself! Seriously, the man had kind eyes. I told him I would write his boss man and let him know. He thanked me twice over and wished me "Merry Christmas". I blow him a kiss good bye and exit.
I think I literally did a cheerleader's hurkey off the bus. I walk my direction of home and wave to Peter through the window, still sitting on the bus, a smile and a good bye.
He smiles back and I almost think tips his imaginary hat. Weird, but awesome.
What a ride. I was laughing the whole way home. I had the most friendly bus driver. I met a nice LA boy in a suit who speaks Spanish and had recently returned from teaching English in South America. I get the idea, with aforementioned boy, to email MTV and ask them to PIMP MY RIDE, the LA BUS. And, I get to send a positive email to the LA bus system about Art. No complaints, just love.
Is it opposite day? Was that some kind of mirage?
I am not even kidding that the World works in mysterious ways. I had seriously been talking to my mother just this morning about meeting a dude on the bus. It happened. I mean, he did not get my number or anything, but still! CRAZY! And, I had seriously blogged last night about how to make the LA bus riding experience better for its passengers, and there was amazing Art with a huge heart yelling out directions and guiding us home with Christmas wishes.
Put it out there. Just put it out there. What do you want? Tell me what you want, what you really, really want (Spice Girls). Say it. Write it down. Be it. Because whatever it is, it will find you, if you want it to.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
visual: Very bright blue lululemon pants, lite blue burn out long sleeve peeking from beneath the beloved and almost over-worn avocado green lululemon jacket with the Elvis collar, which seemingly match my newly laundered lime green and navy Nikes carry the weight of Thanksgiving holiday and my deep purple backpack full of arm warmers, side-pockets full with my sustainable coffee cup and new, super sustainable blue "I love lululemon" SIGG water bottle.... wait for the bus today.
Approaching the bus stop, I see my 'man on wheels' surfer dude-friend, Jared. The one who insists my name is Penelope and rolls around the bus stop, wishing us all to have a great day or informing us that the "coast is clear" before the line of bus passengers disappear on to the 720 line. Well, he did not recognize me, or chose not to roll my way today. A bit disappointed, I turn to him and wave and remind HIM to have a great one and stepped up. I completely forgot to get quarters this morning at the holiday hut of a Coffee Bean by my house, so I dig the green paper out of my green jacket and slide it into the machine like an old school soda vendor. Well, of course, my dollars were crinkled and half folded. And to top it off, my bus driver informs me that it does not give change. I smile and tell him that it can be a tip for him with a little wink. He huffs and grants me a half, impatient smile. Still pushing them in, my dollars take at least four (4) tries to finally be eaten by that machine. I absolutely hate holding up the line! How in the world do the Los Angeles parking meters have a Credit Card option, yet the LA Public Transportation System does not? Insane. Who carries cash and quarters anymore....well, other than me on every other day of my bus-riding life? Who?
Finally, I find my seat in the middle of the bus with the accordion walls and roller coaster-like floor that moves when you hit a bump. I sit and look around quite a bit today. I ponder my surroundings. The Asian woman next to me does not speak English - I tried her when she sat down. I avoid the terrible Transit TV educational questions. I read the signs above the bus about free available health care, ghonneria and chlamydia home kits, and some signs in Spanish I cannot completely understand. I notice a couple graffiti tags on the railing. Oh, and there is a woman near the back inhaling a muffin that literally crumbles all down the front of her and in her chair. I think out of the 20 crumbs per bite ratio, maybe, just maybe five (5) crumbs made it in her mouth. And of course, the fabric screaming at me with its oranges, red and bright blue fibers full of who-know-what kind of unsanitary items, year-old muffin crumblies, and probably some type of virus or two (2).
I take a deep breathe.
Looking for a smile. Taking a poll of the passengers and so many open seats. Seeking my old man friends that are always so sweet to me.
Trying to choose a positive thought at this very moment.
Or, a thought-provoking inquiry....
Light Bulb above head: I recall in my days of University, I had studied an initiative for the New York subway system. In response to public perception that the subway was unsafe and causing low ridership, New York answered with an anti-graffiti project started in 1984. Hard work and major sparkle duty, the entire line was clean in 1989 and ridership had risen through and after the years of clean up. (http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/crime/reducinggraffiti/casestudyreportongraffiti?page=3).
Now, a beautiful and successful case study such as this would lead me to believe that the greater Los Angeles city would follow suit. You know, as we are embarking upon 2010 in one month, and we supposedly pave the way for a very 'green' lifestyle on the West coast, why not support it with a clean, fun, inspiring LA public transportation system that everyone is happy to ride?
I am now out for greatness for the LA Metro transportation system!
Thus, my Christmas Metro List:
In no particular order of preference....
1) Feel free to visit my previous blog regarding Metro's partnership with Yankee Candle Company for an aroma-friendly ride.
2) Get rid of the 80's fabric on the seats. I'll just take the good ol' plastic seats. Environmentally safe wet wipe swipe and we can all feel sanitary on those bad boys. We could even go with a School House Rock theme and make them all look like school chairs. Or 70's vinyl? It wipes down easily.
3) Can we get some inspiration on the advertisement space? Please? While riding my bus, I would prefer to read about goal setting, world peace, green initiatives in the greater LA region, health tips, a how-to-ride-the-bus guide, how I saved the Earth today, or maybe some jokes.
4) Credit Card machine at entrance. Or even just a transit card that you can put money on whenever you ride....with a credit card.
5) Music on the bus? I would even take some elevator music. Anything.
6) Holiday decorations. It is December 2, just throw some garland around the top. Maybe a wreath on the grill? Twinkle lights might be asking a lot, but I really see a change in ridership here with these great additives such as these.
7) We are in LA, let's put a red carpet down the middle of the aisle. Now that is some real fun!
8) A newspaper and magazine rack. That is wonderful.
9) Let's get some hand sanitizer at the entrance and exits. Totally feasible and health friendly!
10) New shock systems. I might have neck issues in a year. Not kidding. It is a bumpy ride!
11) Let's do a discount day! I would love to get on the bus for free one day. What a beautiful treat, thank you LA! Oh yes, I will definitely be back.
12) Transit TV. Put something uplifting on or get rid of it all together. Please. Throw me a Seinfeld episode or even an Everybody Loves Raymond. How about the news? People love the news. No wait, I want uplifting....a Friends episode?
13) Is there a Bus Driver Appreciation Day? No? Well, there should be. I'll work on that.
14) What about some mood lighting? In the evening, that florescent lighting makes me actually feel like I am in a bumpy, smelly, non-fun jail cell on wheels. Virgin America has purple lights in their plane. Definite cool points. How about even tinted white?
Alright, that is good for now. I am off to research my Santa Claus of the LA Metro. I will deliver these suggestions and find some answers! Do not worry friends of LA, we can all ride the fun bus together soon!
If you are reading this and you work for the LA Metro system, please forward on and have your people call my people. Or just me. I have no people. And make it via email. Thanks.
Out for greatness. For you. For me. Los Angeles. And all our public transportation systems.
You will see.