Archive for November, 2006

Winter is around the corner. The fun is about to start. Just kidding. I hate this cold weather, but I think it would have been a lot worse if I was in Minneapolis.

Monday morning took me by surprise. It was 32 deg Fahrenheit (zero deg Celsius) when I stood shivering in the Ashway Park & Ride, waiting for bus# 511 to take me to downtown Seattle. The weekend was pretty warm. There was some rain on Sunday noon, but it was bright, sunny and almost warm in the afternoon. The forecast for the week told me that monday and tuesday would be sunny. To be fair, they weren’t wrong. It was sunny, but freezing cold. The daylight savings time change has occurred during the weekend and now there is some light when I leave home in the morning. Just before you open the front door, you peer out of the window and see a bright and sunny day. But as soon as you open the door you recognize how deceiving the looks are. You would give anything (well anything except 8 hours pay) to get back in and have a warm coffee sitting on a warm couch watching the TV or even better – browsing the www.

I invariably miss my bus when I turn around the corner to the bus-stop. Fate plays this cruel game on me almost everyday (I blame fate for all such things, I hate to think that I am lazy and didn’t get out on time). Then I wait at the bus stop for 15 minutes cursing and blaming the bus driver till the next bus comes and takes me to the park & ride. Here I would see my bus just leaving the park & ride as soon as I enter. Again I blame it on the cruel fate. The next bus comes in less than 10 min. I used to be amazed at the patience in which Americans board the bus – never pushing (in fact never even coming too close to each other), never trying to get in front of others, always polite and cheerful. This is one of the best things about the American culture I like.

Once I board the bus I just smile at my neighbouring commuters, they return a friendly smile and some people even say good morning (another thing I like about Americans is their friendliness to total strangers) and off we go chugging along the car pool lane, passing cars on other lanes moving at a breakneck 8 mi/hour. The traffic in the mornings is horrible, it is a mere 15 miles to downtown which would take about 15 min in normal traffic, but on a weekday morning it would take anything from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. I usually spend this time either by reading a book or watching the traffic and/or my fellow passengers yawning or sometimes by lowering my brain waves to a low Alfa level more commonly known as sleeping (nowadays it goes by the more marketable term ‘power nap’). In the beginning I used to hate this long bus ride, but recently I have begun to accept it as a necessary evil and I dare say I am even enjoying it. I always used to wonder why these people leave their car at the park & ride and take the bus (even though the bus charge costs you more than the gas required if you were riding your own car). There are several reasons for this including the expensive parking fee at downtown and the irritation and pressure of driving your car bumper-to-bumper for 15 miles. Certain people also do it for their ideological purposes – less pollution, less traffic, less gas usage etc. But I have also come to think there is a certain pleasure in this bus ride – its a social experience with its own tiny pleasures (like watching your fellow passenger yawning), or so I’ve felt.

I usually read a lot of technical books, but for some reason I don’t enjoy reading tech books on my bus ride. I prefer to read some books which puts zero stress on your brain – like P.G.Wodehouse or Bill Bryson. Last week, I read a book – Under and Alone – written by a Federal agent William Queen who went undercover in a outlaw motorcycle gang to investigate and collect evidences on their activities. It is an interesting read where Queen describes his experience with the notorious motorcycle gang called Mongols Motorcycle Club.

Now I am reading Bill Bryson’s I’m a stranger here myself: Notes on returning to America after 20 years away. More than once I have laughed aloud in the bus (point to note: it can be quite embarassing to read Bill Bryson in a bus) reading Bryson’s observation on the American lifestyle and culture. He has a fine writing style – humorous, yet with some points to ponder. I have read only 4 of his books –A walk in the woods, The Lost Continent, A short history of nearly everything and I’m a stranger here myself– but very soon I would be reading them all. He just put out his autobiographical The life and times of a thunderbolt kid. If the reviews on Amazon are anything to go by, its classical Bryson again. I have reserved the book at Mill Creek library. I hope I would get to read it during the Thanks Giving holidays. Another good book I read recently was Mitch Albom’s For One More Day. Although this is no comparison to his earlier book – Tuesday’s With Morrie, its a pretty good read. BTW, Tuesdays With Morrie is one of my all time favourites.

I dont know what is the point I am making with this blog. My thoughts are just wandering from one topic to another with no ultimate purpose, which is the state my life is in nowadays.


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