Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Day five: Small city life. Big city transit.

One moment I’m listening to my editor regale me with tales of his two post-college years spent automobile free, the next thing I know I’m running top speed in summer sandals after a green-line bus.

Moments can mean an hour in bus-schedule world.

Today was my first professional day without a car and I think it went pretty well.

My first interview went off without a hitch, as did my productive lunch meeting with Troy Clark, the editor for the local magazines I write for. It only took about 10 minutes longer to get downtown, which gave me time to look over my notes, think about the story and do part of a crossword puzzle.

Although I’m not sure Troy thought of our lunch meeting as productive. Mostly, I grilled him about his life without a car.

Troy laughs about the experience now, but you can tell, it’s something that got funnier with time. Like the one about the police stopping him while he’s walking home from work, twice. And how one of those times he was frisked and his bag, which carried his Burger King uniform, searched. Like how he thought others riding were just a little scary sometimes.

In fact, Troy said he saw a lot of two things in the other passengers — poor and crazy. He wanted neither of those traits for himself.

Well, since I’m from Detroit and my bar for poor and crazy is set rather low, I’ll just have to take his word on that. I know in Detroit, if I had run four blocks for a bus and missed, I would have been left panting on the curb.

But today, the bus driver, thanks to a rider who saw me, stopped to let me board. Maybe, like everyone else, the poor and crazy are just a little friendlier in Normal.


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