Took the normal route to work this morning, jumping aboard the #9. Midday Jo and I took a ride on the Green Line MAX from one stop down to another stop, since it was coming. Saved us about 5 minutes of walking. After that we rode from Couch & 5th to Pioneer Courthouse, which saved about 10 minutes of walking.
Later in the day, after drinks with friends, I headed over and took a ride out on the Blue Line MAX. After that I boarded the #77 back down Broadway and into town. Of course this diversion was just for kicks & because I was conversing with a fellow cohort.
The #77 had a broken heater or something, the bus must have been at least 85 degrees on board. The regular noisy raspy racket of a diesel engine blanketed the bus with the regular cacophony of sound. When people spoke, they had to raise their voices to an inappropriate, unfortunately necessary level. The cell phone user got on the phone and commenced to make even more racket to add to the overall chaos.
I couldn’t help but miss the streetcars of New Orleans. Even though morbidly hot during the summer, during Fall they where heavenly comfortable. With the windows down and a smooth coasting motion, the cars stayed a moderate 70-75 degrees. The humidity almost gave the area a surreal feeling that incurred a heavy relaxation. Unlike the diesels of buses, the streetcars made almost no sound. It left one to think freely and gaze upon people passing by. To look upon the grandeur of the buildings and see the hundreds of years of history.
Portland, has a different kind of and different level of placidness, with no frequent streetcar to compare with.
The frequent streetcar we do have is of a very different nature. The climate is controlled, in a way, being the doors open all the time. There are no opening windows. It also cost 4x as much as the New Orleans Streetcars. Ours run much less frequently also, at peak reaching about every 12-13 minutes and about 20-30 minutes later in the day.
The streetcar however is very nice. Often fairly clean, and very smooth. The turns are a little jerky but that is often what a turn is, jerky. The ride though, and that brighter appearance make the different though. I don’t have to hold on to my laptop for dear life. It simply sits upon my lap. The ridership on our line seems to be, in general, more genteel than that of many bus routes. Sometimes there are the entertaining ones, but often it is calm and collected on the streetcar.
With the thoughts of the flanged wheels, I decide to jump off the #77 and board the Streetcar. In a mere few minutes, I board the next streetcar coming after getting off of the #77. I’m relieved the wait was only 3 minutes at this hour of the night.
Tonight peaks at about 15 riders, including the volunteer fare inspector. He’s of course not enabled in the same way the other fare inspectors are, but basically prides (or shames, if you want to be negative) people into buying or not buying tickets. The irony of course, is that 7 geezerly yuppies (I know, y in yuppies stand for young, but these people weren’t) get on the streetcar and break the calmness of the ride. They’re boisterous in their middle class uppity zeal. With a tinge of redneck doltishness they’re asked to pay the fare by the fare inspector. They all just laugh in their jolly alcoholic doldrums. None of them pay, instead just laughing it off as the fare inspector gives up and gets off before the fare less zone. I spurt out, “The fare inspector is here just to encourage honesty…” to which they all continue to laugh about. Irony being they’re all Republicans, as I notice from various emblems and ramblings. Strange, the Democrats are fine with abrogating funds via taxes, and Republicans just abrogate funds by not paying. I guess, again, they’re functionally both the same.
I ride on, with the calmness resumed as they all huddle off of the streetcar toward the MAX. A few more people get on and we move along smoothly toward south waterfront. I check my iPhone to see what the ETA is for the #9 I intend to transfer to. A few moments later a time pulls up, the good trusty #9 is coming soon. My transfer will only be about 4-5 minutes. I’m good with that, can’t complain a bit.
All this wondering about, while blogging & writing code makes me wonder what the coming trip will be like. With that the focus on work I need to do right now comes flooding back into my mind and encourages me to leave this writing. I decide that it best to do so, and with that I leave the writing to finish the days work.