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Day 1
May 9, 2005

For my first day of being car-less in Cleveland I had a good start.

Woke up at 6:30am, took my dog for a walk. Made some coffee since I don’t think the bus driver would agree to make a quick stop at Arabica for me.  Had an English muffin with my coffee. Watched the morning news to find out about the weather.  Nice today.  Good.

Took a shower, got dressed, I pet Kozmo’s head and left the house. I listened to my iPod on the walk over to the bus stop at E. 173rd and Grovewood.  Got to the bus stop at 7:34am.

Concerns?  Yes.  “Am I on the right side of the street?”   “How much will it cost?”  “When do I pay?”  “How do I get a transfer?”   The 39X goes by on the other side of the street and it’s pretty filled with people.  I really start to think I’m on the wrong side of the street.

About 10 minutes later a young woman comes to the stop.  I ask her if this bus goes downtown. She said yes.

The bus arrived at 7:48am.  The bus driver was a very nice smiling middle aged woman. I asked her how much.  $1.50.  I asked her for a transfer. She said the only thing she could give me was an all-day pass for $3.00. 

So this experiment is going to cost me at least $15.  I wouldn’t spend that much in gas for my car for the week.  Yeah…I know. That’s not really the point here.

When I told people I was going to do this experiment I got a few different reactions.  Mostly “WHY?!”  I mostly told everyone it was because a friend sort of dared me to do it.  She said I couldn’t do it.

I think I can.

The bus arrived at 7:48, not long after a garbage truck stopped right in front of the stop, tried to empty a cemented public garbage can.  When the guy couldn’t get the metal top off he just scooped a handful of what was on top and threw it into the truck.  Nice.  As the truck sat there, at least a couple of gallons of garbage juice leaked out of the bottom of the track and left a huge puddle.

Okay… back to the bus.  As we rode down Grovewood it got pretty packed.  I felt bad because my knees were pressed into the seat in front of me.  I hope the guy in the leather Marines leather jacket reading the sports page didn’t mind.     A crazy guy got on at Lakeshore and E. 153nd.  Kinda happy crazy with a baseball hat and a wild gray beard.  After he got on the bus he was asking a couple of people in the back for 16 cents.

I put my headphones back on and put it on scan.  Along the shoreway I listend to Vogt Dig For Kloopervok by The Books, Lesson # 1 by Viva Voce and Flamethrowa by Pavement.

I got off in front of the BP building downtown (is it still called that?)  As I tried to go to the front of the bus to get off the bus stopped really fast and I went flying forward and knocked my knees into someone elses.  I felt bad but it seemed to be no big deal.

Okay.  So now I am in Public Square. It really is beautiful with the morning sun shining on all the buildings and all the flowers in bloom.  I’m considering a walk into tower city for coffee but worry about missing my bus, the 326 Detroit.

As I stood at the Northwest quadrant of Public Square and waited for the 326 a #10 luxurious looking Laketran bus pulled up to the stop.  A dozen or so white suburbanites got off the bus and quickly skittered away.

Not long after, at 8:28 am the 326 pulled up, covered in a giant yellow “Xtreme Radio!!!” ad.  Whenever I see busses covered in those ads I think it looks pretty cool.  Well now that I have been in a bus that has one, I hate em!  It makes the bus darker inside and you really can’t see out the windows very well.  A person in a motorized wheelchair got in the bus too.  She was a very loud Appalachian type woman in a really cheerful mood.   A bit too talkative with her friend who was on the ride with her.  She kept trying to talk him into shopping at the CVS and Rite Aid with her.    As she tried to get off at W. 65th she rolled her knee into a bar that was sticking out.  She started wailing “My knee, my knee! Oh lord my knee!” She was very dramatic about it.  The woman sitting a seat away with a child sleeping with his head in her lap rolled her eyes at me. 

A few stops later I go off the bus.  Walked down W.73rd to my office.  It was a very pleasant experience and am looking forward to my ride home.




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