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Monday, October 23, 2006

I can like Monday

It had all the makings of a rough midday: a trip to the dentist, and without the car, no less. Who knew what trouble awaited, either on the way or when I got there?

But it didn't turn out that way. My Tri-Met karma continued in the right direction. The online trip planner told me what time to be out at the bus stop, and the bus came about a minute early. Given the off-peak hour, it was uncrowded. The driver, a middle-aged white guy, was phenomenal. He announced every stop, including every possible connection, over the loudspeaker, which was turned on both inside and outside the bus. A few he did with style: "Connect here for NW Trendy-Third," he said. "Martin Luther King" got a full-name announcement. And when we got to Columbia Street, he pronounced it with a Latin accent that would have made Ricardo Montalban proud.

At one point, he had to enforce a bus rule. He did so with kindness but firmness.

Man, downtown is ripped up, and the transit mall re-do hasn't even really started yet. I get down there so infrequently any more, I hadn't noticed all the disruption. Good luck, folks, for the next couple of years. I guess it will be nice when it's done. But most of the work planned is still overpriced and oversold.

At the dentist's office, another bonus: The hygienist was running late, and so she didn't really have time to lecture me about anything. Plus, given that I was about 10 minutes early to begin with, I got in a solid half hour's snooze in the empty waiting room -- much needed.

It doesn't get much better than that -- except that on the way home, I caught the same driver, whose street-name poetry formed an excellent backdrop for a little time with this story.

The guy has every stop and all the connections memorized. A class act. Chalk another good day up for Portland.

Comments (11)

If you haven't been flossing regularly, you deserve a lecture!

My secret? I start flossing about two weeks before my exam. Otherwise the bleeding gums are a dead giveaway to the hygienist.

I think flossing is part of the commie conspiracy, sorta like flouride.

I plead the fifth with my hygienist, and she's got me pegged...

Now...that colonoscopy, Jack. THAT'S important. And, shoot, you're OUT for all of it. It's the days of, uh, clearing out your system the days before that's the drag.

Don't believe what they tell you - the bus mall reconstruction started months ago. All (or most) of that work they're doing now? Is prep for when the actual construction work 'officially' starts in January.

No hygienist lecture! Can that happen? They rule the world, don't they?

You should send a get-well card to whom ever followed you into the chair.

Man. you can't believe how many check ups I've put off because of the hygienist lecture. You are one lucky guy.

What was the bus line?

9 Broadway.

For the tourist or occasional TriMet rider, I suppose the constant chatter of a bus driver could be reassuring, or even amusing, to listen to.

But some people ride the bus each day and don't need (or want) to hear about all "possible connections" each time the bus comes to a new block. There are plenty of delays and distractions on the bus already, and the driver should should concentrate on driving safely and leave the "tour routine" to the charter buses stopping at the hotels. (If you need to know which stop to get off, because you are unfamiliar with Portland, you can alert the driver when you board, and he will then announce your stop.)

But, it's kind of a Portland thing now that the public agencies assume you don't know anything (or even speak English).

Never mind that you've ridden the bus for 30 years. They assume you're from Nebraska or maybe Mexico City.

Over the years, I have learned something about the internet: No matter what you say, someone will disagree. Patrick, you are a grouchier old coot than even I am -- and that's saying quite a lot.


I found your hygienist comments very funny; in fact I laughed out loud. You just were a little too "happy" about your TriMet ride. I thought maybe you were still on the laughing gas.

I have had a few chatty bus drivers lately too, but what drives me nuts are the ones that talk constantly on their cell phones...especially in downtown traffic. Man, that torks me off.


I think your bus driver used to drive the 8. He always had a pithy comment about City Hall, etc. I would love to hear his take on the new aerial transportation at OHSU. To a previous poster, I think that the ADA requires the drivers to announce each stop out loud. That can become tiresome to regular riders but for those who cannot see it is a big help.

And I agree about the cell phones!

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