ASK Musings

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358 Archive



August 2011



The 358: now with even more verbal assault

Written by , Posted in Random

I haven't been riding the 358 as often as I did when I first moved to my new place. I discovered a different, very quick bus to and from work, so I really only end up on the 358 if I'm going between downtown and my place on the weekends.
Saturday I was heading up to my neighborhood to meet up with a friend, so I took the 358. About one stop after I got on, I felt someone spit in my ear. But it wasn't a nasty sort of spit – it was more like someone blowing really loudly and quickly at the side of my head. For a brief moment I though Austin had caught the same bus and was joking around.
But no. It was a woman who had the appearance of a meth addict and was moving about in a way that lead me to believe she had some serious mental health issues. Once I turned toward the noise she began to scream at me.
Woman: "Do you know Tanisha?"
Me: "No."
Woman: "You dating <guy's name I couldn't make out>."
Me: "No"
She then continued to scream in my face about how I shouldn't covet other people's men. That lasted for about 30 seconds. Once she took a break to breathe, I turned back around and went back to my book. I was a bit concerned that she would do something else, like hit the back of my head or attempt to spit on me again, but instead she moved a couple of seats back and continued to scream at me and about me for about three minutes, at which point the bus driver finally came on over the loudspeaker and told her she'd need to be quiet or get off the bus.
I imagine driving that route is exhausting and a bit scary for the drivers, but I was a bit annoyed that he had no concern when the woman was spitting on me and screaming quite literally an inch from my face, but as soon as it went on long enough to annoy HIM, well, then it was an issue.
I decided not to switch seats because it seemed like that might provoke her, so I sat staring at my book until my stop. I got off and checked to make sure she hadn't followed me, and then went home.
I'm kind of over that bus route. I've been propositioned on it (at least the guy was offering a decent amount of money), been near people arguing with each other or talking to themselves, seen people drinking at 10 in the morning, and overheard a number of disturbing phone conversations. But this was the first time I actually felt like I was unsafe. And that's super annoying.



March 2011



Hey one-eye

Written by , Posted in Random

I’m kind of surprised that “Overheard on the 358” does not appear to be a website. Mainly because there seems to be a website or twitter account for everything these days, and also becuase the 358 bus route is full of all manner of absurdities. Some of which I will, at the suggestion of a friend, be sharing from time to time.

For those of you not in Seattle, the 358 is a very convenient bus line if one lives north of downtown and close to Aurora. It comes regularly during commute hours, and goes all the way down to right near Pioneer Square. However, that convenience comes at a bit of a price. Because it runs along Aurora, it passes many half-way houses, hourly hotels and methadone clinics. It terminates near the courthouse, also making it the transit of choice for those who have hearings. Thus at most times of the day the folks on the bus are colorful, to say the least.

A couple of Sundays ago I was taking the bus from my new place to the downtown area. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon – not exactly what I would consider prime time for interesting people-watching on the 358. Clearly I was wrong. I had a cough at the time, and a very nice woman who appeared to be on Valium kept saying “bless you” whenever I coughed. For some reason that was disconcerting. Then a man in his late 40s with a thick accent (possibly south American in origin) who appeared to be a bit disheveled, if not totally strung out, asked if I was German. It was later pointed out to me he probably thought that because the colors on my Brooklyn Industries messenger bag look like the German flag. I said ‘no’, which was clearly my first mistake. I engaged in conversation. I don’t know – I still find it kind of hard to just completely ignore someone who is talking to me.

Anyway, the man then asked if I was married. FANtastic. I again replied ‘no,’ and was happy to see that we had arrived at my stop. I had to walk past him to get to the front, and as I did, he opened his wallet to show me a wad of cash and then nodded and smiled at me, in the ‘so, you want to sleep with me for this money’ way. Awesome. I’ve never been propositioned before. Sweet.

A couple of evenings ago I was taking the bus home after work, which for me is at the very beginning of the commute time, since I get to work really early. Mistake. Again, during commute hours, the 358 tends to be fine. But at 4:30, not so much. It wasn’t a totally exciting ride, except for the man in the back talking on his cell phone and repeatedly saying “I’m gonna lose it, man. I’m gonna lose it.” And the two women in front of me drinking tall boys.

Last night on the way back from the Sounders game we were treated to a drunk but happy man who felt the need to comment on everyone who walked by him. Then a guy with an eye patch got on. His comment? “Hey one-eye.” The man’s response? “Hey two-eyes.”

Well played, eye-patch man. Well played.