Conversations on the Light Rail

Friends, I’ve taken the liberty of creating a new category (did I need CoolDMZ permission for this?) to house my records of bizarre commuting experiences. For example, conversations overheard on the light rail. For example of that, the following: At 7:30 a.m. a completely wasted woman sitting behind me had the following to say on her cell phone: “I’m going to go to Folsom and get me some new KSwiss as soon as it does…. he said he want a baby, that dumb F-**ker don’t even know that he’ll be lucky if he gets to eat dinner at home tonight and he thinks I’m gonna give him a baby…” Rinse, lather, repeat for my entire morning commute. And for yet another example,

something that could probably be a category unto its own, consider the numerous people who like to try out their new raps for the captive audience of downtown commuters. Overheard two days ago: “You heard about the pot calling the kettle black, but this is the black skillet calling the black pot black…” What? Isn’t the point of the original phrase that the pot is also black? And also isn’t the point of rap that it’s supposed to have some kind of rhythm? This particular rapper was the same man who later explained to his companion that when martial law takes over, as it soon will, the light rail police won’t have any jurisdiction and we’ll all run wild on the light rail. Apparantly someone has gotten a few too many light rail tickets. More on the light rail police later.

And as a final example sure to repeat, there are the MANY evangelists of many denominations who pass out religious tracts on the rails. If you don’t take one, they usually pray for you. Not hostile, but it can feel a bit awkward. I’m not sure what happens if you do take one. One time I told a man that I already had a Bible and thanks but I had it covered, but he apparantly thought I was mocking him and then he prayed beside me extra earnestly. Then, to make it clear that I was serious and not making fun of him, I smiled at him when he finished, which only made me seem really weird and possibly psycho. Not sure what the right ettiquite there is. Anyway, anyone have commuting tales to share?

6 thoughts on “Conversations on the Light Rail”

  1. I started riding my bike to work this summer (E Sac down the M and L st corridor). I’ve started to recognize the regulars. Anyone seen the friendly biker (AKA the friendly runner)? I’ve seen her all over E Sac. Everytime I pass her, while either walking or running or whatever, she’ll smile, wave, and say hullo. And it’s not one of those normal 15mph bike trail nods, it’s a full on turn sideways, flail hands (to get your attention), and gigantic “hello!” like she knows you. She doesn’t even wait for eye contact to do it either. I always get a chuckle out of my encounters with her. And no, she’s not hot for me cause my buddy has experienced her friendliness too.

    Or maybe Gandolf (as I’ve named him). He doesn’t have the white beard but he still reminds me of Gandolf. This guy gets around town. I’ve seen him in midtown, downtown, and E Sac (all in the same day!). He’s obviously homeless. He reaks of alcohol and is very dirty in general. I walked by him once, smiled and said hello and as soon as I was a few feet past him he proceeded to yell obcenities at me and the world. I think he spat a few times too. Sheesh, I was just trying to follow the friendly biker’s lead.

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  2. Hey ScottB. Just a comment from an East Sac resident. One of my pet peeves is dealing with the bicyclists who blow through the stop signs, ride on the sidewalks and go from street to sidewalk to bike path and simply expect that the drivers of the cars that surround them will not only obey the rules of the road but additionally watch out for the riders of bikes. Boy that peeves me. I am not saying you are one of the offenders, I am just saying, pet peeve.

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  3. I do blow through stop signs but only when there are no cars around. If you were there first or we come to the line at the same time you should go first. I agree there are a lot of a-holes on bikes (and there are just as many in cars). I try not to be one of them. You do have to keep in mind that cycling is much more dangerous then driving so we have to protect ourselves. I might break a law or two but it’s only for my safety. The laws are a bit biased toward drivers when considering the safety issues of biking.

    I generally act like a car when on my bike. If I’m not going as fast as traffic I stay to the right. I only ride the sidewalks when it’s allowed (or when it’s nuts to do otherwise). I stop at all traffic lights. But, if I can get through a stop sign quickly w/o impacting another’s traversal of an intersection, what’s the harm? I feel it’s safer for me because I’m in the intersection for a shorter period of time. When I come to a complete stop I get going much slower and am much more vulnerable while in that intersection.

    My peeve is when a driver gets to a 4-way stop first… I stop… and then they wave me through. WTF, stop signs are supposed to be FIFO!?!

    BTW, I’m an E Sac driver too so I feel your pain. But, E Sac is just too cool a place to live anywhere else 🙂

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  4. Several years ago on light rail, a guy sitting next to me fell asleep and actually put his head on my shoulder. He was about my age, clean, and dressed professionally, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (but he could have at least bought me a drink first, or at least transit fare.)

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  5. I won’t weigh in on the bicycle debate except to say that drivers do far worse things.

    I’ve been riding light rail fairly frequently lately, and haven’t had a problem with the evangelists. I think my headphones do the trick. They won’t talk if they know you won’t listen. I also think they tend to target the younger folks. Or maybe I’ve just been lucky.

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  6. John: maybe you just look like don’t need any evangalizing, or maybe like by now it’s hopeless for you! I seem to fall right in the middle.

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