Saturday, June 07, 2008

Behind The Scenes: Armpit Season

I decided to use public transportation more often as a way for me to be all trendy with the Green Movement. Okay, I decided to use public transportation more often the second a gallon of gas costed more than a McDonald's Happy Meal. Food versus Gas means Food wins every time. And if I offer to give someone gas money for a ride I might as well take them out to Red Lobster or something akin to equal trade. Say a gold brick for example. Taking the bus is far more simpler a task than figuring out the math behind the dollar to gas equals friendship conversion rate I think.

So my public commute to work has come at that time of the year that I lovingly call “Armpit Season”. You see living in Texas gives one many opportunities to enjoy our glowing ball in the sky, otherwise known as the Sun, and it’s byproduct the famous “Texas Heat”. A great number of bus riders take advantage of this time of year to gain some exposure to the great ball in the sky’s rays. And many do this by wearing clothing without sleves. With the rise in gas prices comes the rise in people riding the bus who then have to stand in front of me with one hand clutching the overhead bar for safety. And there my friends comes the rub. Imagine being happy the work day is done but depressed that the thermometer has topped 100. To quote a commercial from the 70’s “This looks like a good place for a Stick Up”.

I have to admit that I am the type of rider that likes to get on, sit quietly and get off at my stop with little to no interaction with others if I can help matters. I’m not saying that I am impolite. Courtesy is a dying art and I try to be friendly. I would rather just blend into the shadows as I could fill pages with examples of horror stories for those times when I did otherwise. And I strongly believe in being a good ambassador for the Blind and Visually Impaired whenever I am in public but.. sometimes you want to get right back to that audio book instead of answering the age old question “Wow.. how do you do it? I could never do what you do..”. Insert snide remark here. My hat is off to my fellow Blind with Dog Guides. The patience you all must exude. 

My newest tactic for lying low is using old style earphones instead of ear buds. Sure they are a small bit bulkier but they send a totally different message visually I am told than the almost ubiquitous ear buds. I also occasionally scroll through my cell phone menus randomly which also tends to show that I am occupied. Pretending to sleep has worked against me though as I have actually fallen asleep which can have dire complications on adjusting the route home or to work.

The really funny thing that has been a riot for me for the past two months is seeing the new bus riders. Those people who have been forced to consider transportation due to rising gas prices have come on board over dressed, without exact change and totally way encumbered with crap that they didn’t need to take with them on the bus. I call these riders “Turtles”. They slow everything down and they are hard to move around. Although I have to hand it to the lady who brought her sunscreen for standing at the bus stop. It was nice to smell something that reminded me of the beach in all that heat.

The longer commute times have given me a nice respite from home and work though. Breaking the eat, sleep and work cycle with a great Audio play or podcast has been delightful. So expect some new recommendations on the sidebars over the next few months. Until then, I have to go and find an old school can of underarm deodorant that can hit an armpit from two rows away. Wish me luck.  

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