Penance

What does penance have to do with a Houston commuter bus? Everything.

You’d think that as a person who commutes daily in one of these bad boys, I’d be exempt from having to prostrate myself before Gaia for sins committed against her.

Wrong. Last week, on the way home, I was one of 2 passengers in one of these buses (they seat 55 passengers). I don’t know what the carbon footprint of such a colossal waste of fuel is (High Priest Al Gore couldn’t be reached) but I’ll utter 250 Hail Gaia’s.

I’ll even throw in an additional 250 for commuting for the wrong reasons. You see, my primary reason for riding the Metro has nothing to do with “saving the planet” and everything to do with saving my aging vehicle and reducing my stress footprint. If this helps “save” the planet, that’s just gravy.

In case you’ve run afoul of Gaia, here is the Hail Gaia so you too can be forgiven for your emissions,

Hail Gaia, who floats in space
Al Gore is with thee.
Verdant art thou for us humans
and verdant are those who recycle
old freezers.
Holy Gaia, Mother of all,
pray for us sinners,
now and when we buy carbon creds.
Amen

Yes, it’s a rendition of an old Catholic prayer but we do it the Vaselines’ way.

A Metro Commuter’s Final Fantasy

metro

Yours truly rides to work in one of these beasts every day. I would like to sit here and pontificate that it’s all for mother Gaia blah blah blah, but it’s not. Sure it’s a nice side effect that I’m not contributing an infinitesimally small amount of pollution to an already hazy Houston skyline, but the main reason I take public transportation to work is to avoid the morass that is Houston traffic.

For this I’m thankful.

This being said, getting into one of these rigs every day has certain disadvantages. One such drawback is having to listen to fellow riders share their most intimate details as they carelessly yak away on their cell phones.

From the tool that shared his secrets on how to lure the ladies into his lecherous lair, to the dear woman who just had to inform her husband (and us all) that she wasn’t going to give him her paycheck. (Girl power!)

To the party girl who thought that sharing her story of her nude adventures with her sister-in-law would add a little sizzle to our otherwise worthless lives. I could do a whole post on the things overheard in fellow riders’ cellphone conversations, but I won’t.

Well there is that guy who calls his entire Contacts list until he settles on someone who is just as bored as he is. By such time, the rest of us are ready to chuck him out the window.

Don’t think for a second that while enduring one of these chats I have not fantasized about owning one of those cell phone jammer things and letting it loose on these public offenders.

Yeah, I know that they’re illegal and that their use carries hefty penalties.

According to this story, “Police put in tight Jam: Cellphone jammers might silence annoying public chat, but they also risk officers’ safety”, the FCC will dock you $11K if you get caught the first time.

Judging by the following bit from the story, I’m not the only who has these fantasies,

Hand-held jammers, which are easily purchased online for about $200, are becoming increasingly common in the U.S., where people are eager to silence chatty public transit users.

Nice to know that you’re not alone…

The Maverick

Maverick (n.) – an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party

If one were to ask some of our most politically minded individuals (or Sarah Palin) to name the first person who comes to their mind after hearing this word, the tabulated answer would probably be this man:

Meanwhile, others who are not so politically wired might name either one of the 2 gentleman here:

Not into movies? Then you might drag Brett Favre into the conversation (I hope the recent allegations levied against him are not true).

As for me, a blogger just trying to get a hit (get your mind out of the gutter), I wouldn’t go with any of the aforementioned people.

Who do I think of when I hear “maverick”? Larry David (below).

I think of Mr. David only because my “maverick” bears a striking resemblance to the Seinfeld (this show is so good that it made me like NYC) co-creator.

My “maverick” (let’s call him “Larry”) rides my commuter bus in the morning. Everyday, “Larry” makes use of our converted charter bus’ ventral luggage compartment by cramming his 10-speed in there.

Inevitably, people stare at him through the whole process. Even people who see him do this day in and day out, I’m guilty as charged.

People from all walks of life stare at him, from the suburbanites cocooned inside the bus to the homeless dudes who gather at “Larry’s” Med Center stop (Fannin at McGregor).

So why’s “Larry” a maverick? Because despite the hushed whispers and incredulous looks from fellow passengers (he makes us all late to work) and homeless people (their “c’mon man!” glares betray the fact that they all think he’s crazy), “Larry” keeps keepin’ on by making his bike every bit the commuter that he is.

So here’s to you, Ler and your maverick spirit, Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban’s got nothing on you.

[this post is dedicated to a true bike commuter, my fellow blogger, Jason K]

Dr. Z: Thanks for the free Houston Chronicle

I live approximately 26 miles from where I work. Not just any 26 miles but 26 miles worth of ghastly Houston traffic which has the potential (if one so chooses) to shorten anyone’s lifespan.

Thankfully, I have the option to use public transportation to get to and from work. That in so doing it reduces my so-called carbon footprint is not my motivation, I just as well not sit in Houston traffic thank you very much.

While I can do a number of posts on the different folks which ride the bus, this post is dedicated to an elderly gent who I call (not to him of course) “Dr. Z” due to his semblance to Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler-Chrysler (pictured below)
dr-z.jpg

This gentleman brings a paper to read on the bus and due in part to his lack of consideration for the driver (who has to clean the bus) leaves his Houston Chronicle behind when he disembarks.

Me being the opportunist that I am, pick up his discarded paper so I can bring it into work so my co-workers and I can have something to read during lunch. Of course the paper being the paper will spur all sorts of interesting discussions on current events, worldviews and most importantly sports. The fact that it helps the driver out is icing on the proverbial cake.

So thanks Dr. Z for your “generosity”!