Thursday, October 9, 2008

cdta and me

Now that I live in Troy, I have been trying to take the bus to and from work on the days when I would otherwise be driving. While living at Elm, this was not a consideration. Want to get into work early? Leave at 6:52AM for a 7AM start. Want to slide in just before everyone's coffee has kicked in and before they realize you have not logged in to Outlook yet? Eat breakfast on the porch, do the morning prayers, read an article in Newsweek, do two yoga poses, grab yogurt for lunch and walk down the steps at 8:47AM to be there just before 9AM.

No longer. Now, I check my friendly CDTA schedule and pick the bus to Albany that works for me. The system is not as easy to maneuver as Philadelphia's, but for two cities with a combined population of 143,172, it is not too bad. There seem to be the usual commuters who work in the capital and go back to their homes at night. I have seen some of those folks exit the bus to side streets near Troy where they get into parked cars and then drive a second leg to their homes.

Last night I took the bus home later than usual and encountered a somewhat different crowd. Some commuters still, but a more lively bunch who shared their stories at rather loud levels for such a small space. There were equal parts shouted expletives and spoken admiration for my knitting project in process, as well as a discussion about how one man had been run over by a mail truck and was on his 5th surgery to repair damage to his neck. Scars of which he then showed a number of passengers he had just met. This same gentleman later spoke of the urban planning genius of Henry Cisneros and his impact on San Antonio. Well, that is the gist of what he was saying. He credits Cisneros with the streetscape improvements to that beautiful Texas city, but did not quite have the name or his role correct. Apparently this knowledge was acquired when he used to live in the Lone Star state, but moved north to Troy, NY for work.

The sentiment was unexpected though, not often do you see a 60 year old (he shared his age with the audience assembled because he had just had his first child at 60--with the home visitation nurse who had been caring for him the last few months) with that kind of knowledge of the field. Knitting silently is a good way to observe this kind of activity without actually seeming to eavesdrop. Or maybe I'm not fooling anyone.

That's me, participant observer of all things urban, like public transit. The knitting on the other hand, well, I've finally started a double-ended needle project--fingerless gloves--yet do not claim any proficiency compared to my mental history of the succession of secretaries of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After studying and working step by step visual diagrams for days, I now have 20 rows of k1 p1 in an ivory alpaca/wool blend. A few more entertaining bus rides are needed to get in the next 20 rounds.

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