Wednesday, August 31, 2005

bumpkins and catcalls

My summer holidays to my yeha-stomping grounds and a total lack of spectacular transit experiences prevented me from posting for the last few weeks. That is until my little brothers visited and I started noticing a disturbing little trend.

Last weekend two of my three little brothers came for a visit. 'Little' is a relative word. They are lanky mofos with mopish hair and razor-sharp sarcastic wits - the trademark of my paternal family. Generally speaking, whenever I need to be knocked down to the ground a bit I just need to spend some time with my brothers. They have no problem ground my oft inflated ego. Anyways, I digress, wtf does this have to do with the bus? As we travelled to and from Slam City Jam and on my commute to work Monday morning, I realized that there are subtle nuances to taking transit that generally, only urbanites know. Revelation, no, reality, yes.

I came to the conclusion this weekend that taking transit in Vancouver if your doing it for the first time, alone could be confusing. What doesn't really help country bumpkins like my brothers is the total lack of signage. There's no signs at the stops or really obviously in the buses/skytrains so you don't necessarily know how much to pay or where to stand, or how you should move to make way of others. It was cute and disturbing at the same time watching my bros fumble through the working-class intricacies of paying for their bus rides, standing on the wrong side of the escalator and blocking empty seats as they stood on the bus. Funny. Gave me something to tease them about.

East Broadway besides being a vein of constantly honking, smoke-belching traffic is also the street of cat calls. The streets aroud East Broadway should be renamed: Psssst Street, Hey Baby Ave and Wooowooo Crescent to warn the poor girls and women who have to trudge to the skytrain to participate in life. I swear to god that I could be wearing loose jogging pants and a burlap sack over my head, and buffons from Burnaby and Surrey would still catcall me. It sucks and it has made me hate walking that stretch of road. Oi vai.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

the oldies

During all my bellyaching about the public transit system or my misadventures I forget to mention the good stuff that happens on a daily basis. Well today was a perfect example of a little moment I'd like to share.

I used to be a prolific reader. I also used to have a lot more contact with old people than I do now. When I used to have more time I would tear through at least a book a month, sometimes two. No I'm lucky if I read one every 4-6 months. Unfortunately through the course of the past year and a half I don't sit down long enough to read more than a page or two. Magazines are my bread and butter these days becaues they provide the best reading fodder for my bus trips. Luckily I've discovered the #7 Dunbar bus in the past couple of months. It takes no less than 25 minutes to trundle me to and from downtown Vancouver from my home. This is my reading time.

This month's issue of Vogue features age and women of all ages talking about their age. Yes, a tired premise but there are some pretty good articles in this issue. I was reading an article about a women named Judith Jones, who is in her 80s and still works as a editor for Knopf Publishers. A really cool quote struck me: "A tavola non s'invecchia" or 'At the table no one ever grows old. The author was writing about how food and age are connected. At that moment I looked up and the bus had stopped in probably one of my favourite spots on Nanaimo Street, near Parker. It's a neighborhood of A-frame ranchers build compact and bursting with history. Most of the residents of this area are of Asian decent, probably Chinese or Italian/Portuguese. Flashes of time spent in Joburg's various little Italies and little Portugals flooded my head. Also at this same moment a stately old man hobbled onto the bus. He was a dapper looking old Italian man, whose friends (two women in their summer mumus and a gentleman in sustpenders with a big roman nose) dropped him off. It was almost spooky. Did I mention I'm superstitious as well?

I decided to bury my nose back into the Vogue to try and finish the article before we got to Broadway. As I finished the article I panicked and pulled the cord. Again, a little serendipity. I pulled it 3 stops before my regular one. I didn't mind the walk down Nanaimo. As I strolled I ran into 2 more sets of old people. A great granny being walked by her daughter, a granny no doubt. An older man walking in his walker around the corner from where I live. Sweet man. Sometimes they all smiled and winked. (I love winking, winking is a lost art form that I feel I need to carry on as a form of communications for generations to come. )

Not a bad way to end a Thursday really.

Monday, August 08, 2005

too much vodka, my pink skirt and no volcano

I think I may be regressing a bit. Lately my life reminds me of high school in a lot of ways. I'm super busy with extra-curricular activity. I feel like playing basketball, but don't have the time and I'm prone to drinking too much alcohol. Cheap alcohol....

Saturday was going to involve a trip to Ikea - that bastion of faceless cool, yeah yeah. I needed to spend my hard earned tips on some cheap furniture. Unfortunately my ride, my trusty VW- driving-friend forgot all about me, so no furniture for me. Can I have some cheese with that please? Around 2pm on Saturday there was no way I was going to haul ass out to Coquitlam to then have to turn around bring my Gkojl table and Frnu chair back. So instead I hopped on the sky train and did some time on Robson St. Good for my ego (bought a skirt in my size from grade 9), bad for my bank balance.

After work on Saturday night was when the 16 year old reared her red hair and captured my mind for about 6 hours. Saturday was a semi-shitty day for me so I decided to deal by joining some co-servers for adult bevvies after work. This translates into pouring our Bellinis into kiddie cups and crashing a very young coworker's 21st drum'n'bass birthday party. There were about 5 of us swigging a 40lber of Vodka and cranberry on the way there and then to our fave gay disco afterwards. Not pretty. Let's just say that once again I was rescued by a cab driver and woke up at 11:30, 2pm and 4:30pm Sunday feeling like an egg on a Merritt sidewalk in July.

What made the hangover double shitty was that my plans to embrace my grownup, lefty-savetheworld ego on Sunday and attend the Under the Volcano music/activist fest in my favourite Van park, Cate's park were kyboshed. I tried really hard to rally my body into hopping on the #9 to go to North Van. I took a cold shower. I even started walking @ 2:30 to cath the bus. Bikini packed, sunscreen on, stomach muttering, "Fuck you! I'll show you to drink crown and vodka piled in the back of a car with three other drunkards." I had to admit defeat and turn around back home, to the porcelain god, then to bed. So alas my weekend was a bust, save the for the cute-as-hell pink skirt that makes me feel 16 again - sans vodka blackout.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

a record

I swear I took at least 15 bus rides this weekend. I believe on Saturday alone I took 7 different modes of public transit and one hefty cab ride. The busier I get the more buses I take. Last night the long weekend ended with me having an inner tantrum as I waited at the hell-on-earth-that-is-a-bus-stop @ Broadway and Commercial. I just missed the #9 (which drops me across the street from my place). I fumed for about 2minutes 45seconds before a cab went by. I flagged him, he cut across three lanes of traffic to deliver me home (chivalry isn't dead!). These days, my knights in shining armour tend to drive yellow cars.