Public Transit – Bravo or Bust?

oc bus lineupOn most days, I drive my little compact SUV into the office, a quick 3km jaunt, taking an average of 6.376 minutes. On nice, sunny, summer days, I may instead, be seen venturing out to work on my bicycle, equipped with my helmet, messenger bag, and sporting my professional work attire, avec biking shorts sous ma jupe, (I’m practicing my French!  Translation: biking shorts under my skirt) for my quick “superwoman change’ and taking an average of 11.827 minutes plus 1.592 minutes to lock up. And, on rare occasions, when the Big D loads his mountain bike on the back of the Sportage, he kindly deposits me curbside.  angrybirdcookies black shadowThe walk home takes an average of 29.72 minutes. (Including the pit stop at the BOKO bakery on Elgin Street, for Moukie’s favourite Angry Bird iced cookies). And in the winter, there are other times, when I take the bus home (12.831 minutes) … as I happen to, just the other day.

For the bargain deal (note the hint of sarcasm), of $3.30 CDN I will partake in the time-honoured tradition of utilizing public transit.  second cup revisedI suppose in many cities, $3.30 is a rock bottom deal, but I would prefer to spend my funds on a daily decaf non-fat butter pecan latte at Second Cup.   Yummmmm … butter pecan in liquid form.  This winter I’ve had more than my fair share of bus rides.  (Ohh…was that when the Big D lost my set of keys to the car you ask?  Why ‘yes’, yes it WAS the only set left after he lost HIS and not had them replaced … hmmmm…. coincidentally, it was also the same time we were out in the freezing cold with Mouks and the pooch for a New Years Day snowshoe excursion; and, you would be correct in noting that it was this particular instance in which we had to have the car towed to the dealership, and had to wait almost an entire week until we got a new set made….uhhhhhh…. Yeah.  Mmm Hmmm.. That was then.)  So, this winter, I’ve frequented the bus a number of times. And here are a few things I’ve observed:

  1. People at the bus stop rarely look you in the eye in this fair city.
  2. $3.30 is a stupid amount of change, but a great way to get rid of your coinage.
  3. A ‘thank you’, can go a long way, so I make sure to say a kind word to the bus driver. He can kick you off… right? But not for jamming all your pennies in the money-box thingy, can he?
  4. People don’t say ‘excuse me’ much.
  5. And what’s with taking up TWO seats??!!! Is there any particular reason why your bag warrants its own seat during rush hour?!! I think not! So… move… either your dumb bag or entitled ass – over.
  6. The majority of the world is attached to a digital device. Like, almost literally. I think implants will be next… If someone isn’t listening to music, they’re texting, talking on the phone or checking emails. Just an interesting little observation; I’m not offended.
  7. That smell has to come from somewhere – and it sure the heck isn’t me!!!
  8. There is a wide age range of people taking public transport.
  9. Does it look like I want to jump over a mile high pile of snow to get out of the back doors in THESE boots??!! Thanks so much, but I think NOT!
  10. And yes… of course I loved being splashed by that giant puddle! Heartfelt gratitude for your consideration!
  11. Gotta love that the city silenced one of their drivers for singing on the bus. (Again… sarcasm, but true story). There goes the value-added for your whopping $3.30. Seriously? The guy is stuck there, on his little perch with nothing but the road ahead and a bus load of people … what’s the problem with spreading a little happiness? Check out this link oc transpo driver silenced   Note the video at the bottom of the article, with him singing.
  12. And the City actually had to debate blasting a LRT tunnel through downtown?!!?  ‘Cause our roads are sooo spacious with the backlog of buses, taxis, cars, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles sharing the road while trying to flee the downtown core during rush hour. Not to mention the amount of pedestrians waiting for said transport. I mean, really, does a major city actually NEED a subway system?!  DOH! 
  13. Presto! Auto pay passes… still aren’t fully operational. Shocker. They were only supposed to roll out, I dunno…. a year ago?! Nice idea – poor implementation.
  14. Oh yes… let’s not forget the GREAT idea of double-decker buses in a city that gets freezing rain and ummmm record snowfalls. Yup. GREAT idea. THAT was a c-l-e-v-e-r.
  15. And, similar thoughts on the accordion (articulated buses)…. though, it is a little fun to sit in one of the seats in the middle; kinda like a low-grade tilt-a-whirl when you go around a corner.

oc transpo Collage

And each day, as I sit in my downtown office, overlooking the busy street, I hear the rumble of the buses, the squeal of their brakes, and I can even smell the slight faint stench of their exhaust through my sealed window; and despite all the frustrations and idiosyncracies of public transit, I am still brought back in time to the sweet thoughts of buses and babies, and the song I sang repeatedly to Mouks when he was just a wee young lad:

“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round… The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town…”

“The money on the bus goes ‘clink clink clink’, ‘clink clink clink’, ‘clink clink clink’… The money on the bus goes ‘clink clink clink’, all through the town …” 

…   …  …

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Doggy Days…

Once upon a time there was a beautiful hound dog named Oreo, that snored her way into our hearts. (a.k.a Roar’eo, Snor’eo, Big O).  When the Big D and I got our first apartment (after a brief stint in his bachelor pad;  yup, those were close quarters;  we MUST’VE been in love!), we saw an ad in the community paper for some puppies that had been abandoned in a knapsack on the side of a road; 2 had suffocated, but 10 survived.  (Yeah… I know… it breaks my heart, disturbs me, and makes me so sad and mad all at the same time.  We said all the same bad words, so don’t hold back on my account)!  Anger aside, we opted for a visit, and there was one itty bitty black and white pooch left, named Oreo, who was about 8 weeks old.  We went to see her, she sniffed us, gave us slobbery kisses and showed off by  ‘peeing on the potty paper’.  It was love…. we brought her home the day after Valentine’s 1997.  She immediately made herself at home, flopped down on a floor cushion and proceeded to saw some serious Z’s.  Even though she was only the size of a football, her snores echoed throughout the apartment (and down the block).

We took Snor’eo everywhere.  One year we packed up my little red Festiva (ya-ya-ya-ya!!!) and drove to PEI for a bit of October car camping.  Okay… so we didn’t put a lot of forethought into how cold it would ACTUALLY  be and “yowza!” it was c-h-i-l-l-y!  In our little 3 man tent, Snor’eo kept us warm and she loved to chew on freshly cut firewood and hang out by the campfire in the hopes that a few dropped marshmallows would roll her way.   We explored the island and had a great trip.

Confederation Bridge

I remember being terrified to drive over that crazy long Confederation bridge that connects PEI to New Brunswick.  So, there I sat, petrified, as the Big D calmly maneuvered the car onto the bridge for the trek back home…. and then, as the car was gently rocking back and forth in the wind, I noticed it.

It was quite faint at first, actually.  I gave the air a quick ‘sniff’, and then it increased in pungency, creeping its way from the back seat, engulfing the car with its wicked stench.  It was the overpowering smell of terror that had escaped from Snor’eo’s bottom side.   She must’ve ‘passed wind’ in fear, and the stench was even more ferocious than her bark!  So, in true smacki fashion I made up a wee song to ease her nerves and mine, which I sang until we reached the other side safely…

“Your bum’s as big as PEI… as PEI… as PEI”
“Your bum’s as big as PEI.. and it smells like ocean fish!”

Some days, like today, I get very melancholy, especially when I remember her fondly in her heyday. It’s been just over nine months, since she passed on to the big doggy bone heaven in the sky, and not a day goes by in our house that we don’t miss that big ball of burly love.

She died the week before Christmas, 2011;  just shy of fifteen years old. It shook us all, even though we knew the days we had with her were getting shorter.  On that fateful Saturday, she faithfully followed the Big D into work, hoping to get her share of pepperoni from the pizzeria next door, and maybe some extra crust, as she did on most days.  It was there, later that morning, that she had her last bite of roasted chicken, and took her final breath in the Big D’s arms.

We all miss her.  Mouks had a really hard time, especially for the first few months.  He was nine at the time, and would lay in bed on many nights, write her name in the air, and cry;  deep hearted sobs of loss in the darkness, over the dog he loved so much.  It is one thing to lose your beloved pet, and to have to cope with that loss.  It is another, to see your child in despair, as he mourns the loss of his cherished pooch, and to watch him struggle to try and comprehend what happens when one dies.

I remember crying (well, more like bawling, with gushing tears and wet boogers) to the Big D one night and saying that I didn’t want to get another dog (EVER), because I didn’t want to feel this overwhelming sense of loss again.  But now, 9 months later, I feel differently.  A void is still left in our little family from the place she held in our lives.  We all know that big ball of love can never really be replaced, but we are getting closer to the stage where we can imagine another exuberant hound dog becoming part of our clan.   NOT, that I’ve been scouring through all the Ottawa rescue sites on a frequent basis, searching for the right ronker to live with us in Smackiland, or anything like that….   But, secretly, in my heart, I know that Roar’eo would like us to save another furry soul and open our hearts to loving another pooch one day.