Category Archives: CDTA

A few days in the life

Apparently, there are actually blogs that do nothing but note all the things that happen in people’s lives. I’ve been resistant to that, but I’m inclined to note the last few days in some detail. I suppose I could have made these many Twitter posts – and be mocked – but frankly have been too busy.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4
After racquetball, go to the dentist. He’d put a crown in last fall, but he was dissatisfied with the spacing between my teeth, where food would get caught, so he’s doing a redo gratis. It may be free, but it’s not free of discomfort. Also takes longer than planned and I miss my bus – another one doesn’t come for 2.5 hours, but my colleague picks me up.
End of the day, wife drops off daughter at my work to take home, so wife can go to meetings, one work-related, the other at church. Unfortunately, she can’t find the first meeting and the second one is canceled.

THURSDAY, MARCH 5
Father-Child Pancake Breakfast at daughter’s daycare. That was nice, but I had to break up a couple boys who were literally about to come to blows over toy dinosaurs. A friend of mine that I’ve only known since 1958, whose birthday is today, BTW, suggested over four years ago that it’s probably a good thing I had a daughter rather than a son. I didn’t understand at the time, but I think I do now.

FINALLY take items to the post office. This was something I was going to do on December 20, along with finishing the Christmas letter; the wife had edited what I had wrote. But I NEEDED just that one day, and when I ended up taking care of my sick child instead – and into the evening, because the wife had a meeting – not only did the window of opportunity go away, but so did a whole bunch of my holiday mojo. I was actually quite melancholy over it for weeks. I never did complete the letter – that weekend was impossibly full, and the presents, bought weeks before, never got sent. So, on this day, packages to my mother and sisters, plus some other items to Eddie, Tom the Mayor, Scott and a woman in Canada finally went out the door. (I STILL haven’t sent to Lefty Brown’s friend Anthony, because I don’t have his address.)

Take bus downtown. At my stop, Washington and Lark, is a fire truck, with an EMT truck pulling up. There’s a guy they need to defibrillate sitting outside the kiosk; it’s cold – could they not have done this in a vehicle? While this was going on, an ambulance and another fire truck stop a block away at Dove and Washington. What’s going on there?

My bus shows up, but not a half block on my journey, a car pulls out of its parking space and hits the bus I’m on. No one was hurt; in fact, I barely noticed. But the bus driver had to wait for the police and the CDTA supervisor. Fortunately,the bus company sent another vehicle less than 25 minutes later to finish the trek.

That evening, a first rehearsal with our new church choir director, Janet Davis, followed by a gathering at the home of the interim director, Chris, who lives in this quite historic house (once the home of the Albany Conservatory, and before that, a Presbyterian manse).

FRIDAY, MARCH 6

I heard that on the news that Albany High School will be delayed two hours because of the presence of Fred Phelps, who I mentioned here. This is actually something I’ve known for over a week ago but was told not to report, lest Freddy and the schemers be tipped off. So after I dropped off Lydia, I did what I suggested others not do – go to the high school. Across the street from the school there were the Westboro people well outnumbered by he counterdemonstrators. Most of the good guys were well behaved and spoke on their megaphones about Christian love.

Then people went in two different directions. Some, including me, went downtown to SUNY Central to rally where Phelps said he’d be on his website; evidently, he finally figured out that this WASN’T the campus and didn’t show. Still about 150 people (way more than the 50 the Times Union reported) made some noise and got lots of support from the passersby.

Meanwhile, the others went uptown at the not optimal (read: busily dangerous) Fuller Road and Washington Avenue, where the Phelps people ended up. That also went well, according to reports. Incidentally, there was ALSO a fairly large rally Thursday night in front of City Hall, where the mayor – who’s running for ere-election this year, unsurprisingly – showed up.

[We interrupt this blog to note End the Lies, a a new website showing some of the worst perpetrators of lies about GLBT people. Now back to the narrative.]

I had received a $50 gift certificate from the Downtown Business Improvement District in a drawing I barely remember entering for a place called Salon 109 at 109 State Street in Albany, so I opted to get a massage there. It was…WONDERFUL. Later, had lunch with my wife – this almost never happens – as we partook of an especially very good buffet of Indian food.

SATURDAY, MARCH 7 (yes, it was my birthday)

Very busy time in my house, with one person, John, fixing our oven that’s been out six days and our hall lights that had been out for over six months, someone else, Bonnie, cleaning the house, and lengthy conversations with both of my sisters and aforementioned old friend – HB, Sara Lee).

Played backgammon for an hour with the Hoffinator and a couple games of hearts with her and friend Orchid; I shot on the last hand to win the second game. Game playing – just what I wanted as a present. The Obama speeches book, the racquetball equipment and the Clapton 2004 DVD were just bonuses.

SUNDAY, MARCH 8

Church youth did Godspell Jr. It was excellent; surprisingly moving.
The weather is warming and I took Lydia to the playground for the first time this year. The ground is muddy, but the wood chip base around the slides is absorbent and not too bad.

That’s enough.

ROG

Walk Under Ladders


FEBRUARY 14, 2007, 9:15 a.m. – I had riding the stationary bike at the Y, rather than playing racquetball, because none of my cohorts bothered to show up. was it because we were under a winter storm warning, that virtually every school in the area, including the always-reluctant-to-close Albany School District, were closed? It wasn’t THAT bad out. The #27 Corporate Woods bus shows up, only about 15 minutes late – I was about to give up on it – and the bus driver transported his two passengers to the office.
9:30 a.m. – I was only one of 5 people present, out of 13 scheduled, and 15 total. My office has a great view of I-90, which looks perfectly clear…where did it go? The highway alternated from being fairly visible to being impossible to see from the snow and wind.
9:45 a.m. – I call my wife to let her know that the there’s rumors that CDTA will be pulling their businesses. That can’t be right. Their website is touting its availability in the midst of the storm:
When the rest of the world is standing still, CDTA is…Your Reason To Ride!

When severe weather hits, keep your car off the slippery streets and ride with us.

11:45 a.m. – We’re told that the main office for the Research Foundation downtown would be closing downtown at 1:30, and that we could do the same, if we chose. I choose.

12:30 p.m.- Call one of my sister. She works for a drug store chain, and as it turned out, I had a related reference question, and therefore a legit excuse to call her in California. I’m lucky.

1:45 p.m. – The last of my hardy colleagues leave.

1:55 p.m. – I’m thinking the bus comes at 2:05, but I check the website, just to make sure. IT COMES AT 2:00! I shut off my computer and run downstairs.

2:09 p.m. – The bus was late. I’M LUCKY. The normal pattern is that it comes by our building, makes a turn at a circle down the road, and then it comes back and the passengers from my building get on. For some reason, though, the other passengers and I went out to meet the bus. Since the circle wasn’t plowed , the bus didn’t turn around. I would have missed it had I waited. I’M LUCKY, because I’m not sure another bus came out to Corporate Woods that day; they were pulling their buses off the road, except for the core routes, because they kept getting stuck.

2:25 p.m. – I’m waiting at the corner of Washington and L;ark for the #10 bus to come home. There was a supervisor vehicle at the stop. I asked him when the next #10 was coming. He said I had to go down another block (to Central and Henry Johnson) to catch it. I’M LUCKY I asked.

2:55 p.m. – The masses huddled at the kiosk were trying to get more info from CDTA from their cell phones. Only one could not reach CDTA by phone; I had tried twice when I was still in the office. I’M LUCKY that I lived near two of the core routes. Took the #12 Washington Avenue bus, which got stuck for about five minutes, trying to make a right turn onto Washington Avenue. Some doofy guy was laying on his horn, AS THOUGHT IT WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE. (Doofy, BTW, is a portmanteau from goofy and doofus.) I’M LUCKY we did finally get around the corner.
This bus meant a three-block walk. It’s technically illegal to walk in the street, and I scowl when people do it when we’ve had an inch or two of snow, but with a foot of the powdery stuff impossible to walk through, I was road-bound as well.
3:25 p.m.- Trudge home, drink hot chocolate. Carol and I watch an old Gilmore Girls.
4:50 p.m. – I’M LUCKY that I waited. My neighbor Dino plowed a path on our sidewalk and up to the steps. I still had plenty of shoveling to do, but it was made infinitely easier.

February 15

7 a.m. When i read on the CDTA website that only the core routes are guaranteed to operate, I decided to stay home.
8:30 a.m. Start a half hour outside, half hour inside regimen to dig out the car.
9:30 a.m. I’M LUCKY that my neighbors helped me with the digging.
11 a.m. Read the Times Union online: “Capital District Transportation Authority buses clogged the intersection of Central Avenue and Henry Johnson Boulevard, making it impossible for cars to get by.” That’s my route to work. I’M LUCKY I stayed home.

I’m lucky
I’m lucky
I don’t need a bracelet
No salt
For my shoulder
I don’t own a rabbit
No clover
No heather
No wonder
I’m lucky

***
Picture from Thursday’s newspaper. Check here for a Nightline segment with the Albany mayor.

Bus Rider (w/ apologies to the Guess Who)

I like the bus, I really do. I wish more people would take it, making issues of downtown parking in Albany (and undoubtedly elsewhere) less of a problem . I wish that urban sprawl would not make it so difficult to facilitate usable bus routes, because all of those single-passenger cars are helping to create a lot more air pollution.

And I’ve had some very good bus experiences. There’s a guy from my choir, Bruce, who I chat with about the world. There’s Shirley, the Red Cross cookie lady, who always asks about my family. Just last week, I ran into a woman with a daughter Lydia’s age — and another child who is 25! And there are other interesting folks.

Having said that, I had a couple bus experiences this year that weren’t so great. But these are exceptions, the EXCEPTIONS. I like the bus.

One day, I took the #10 Western Avenue bus so I could get to an event. We’d gone about three blocks when a woman in a wheelchair got on the bus. I think it’s great how the bus creates a ramp to let in those physically challenged. The bus driver pushes up a couple seats which expose the base from which the wheelchair can be secured. Well, the driver thought it was secured, but the woman in the wheelchair did NOT. The driver fussed with it for five minutes, but the rider was not satisfied. The bus driver was obviously getting very frustrated. Finally, the passenger said it was OK to go.
We go four more blocks when another woman getting on the bus fell. This would involve calling the dispatcher and making a report, so I got off that bus, walked a block, then caught the next bus. Fortunately, the event was later than I thought and all ended well.

Another day, I took the #63 bus. It’s a bus that starts downtown Albany, makes a couple turns in the city, and ends up fairly close to the #10 bus route for a while, eventually ending up in Schenectady. It started about 5 minutes late. It is the last bus on this route for the night.
A woman was chatting away about some TV show (I believe it was “Desperate Housewives”) in a quite loud voice with a level of detail that suggested that she thought they were real people. And apparently, she didn’t find it necessary to breathe, but was seemingly enamored of her own voice. Right before the bus makes the right turn from Lark Street onto Madison Avenue, she announces that she’s going to look left on Madison to see if a particular person was coming. We make the turn, and she yells to the bus driver, “STOP THE BUS! SHE’S COMING!” The bus driver, who was black (not so incidentally), was somewhat confused/startled, but complied, then the woman got out to get the would-be passenger (WBP). “Don’t leave without me! I’ve got my things in there!” she proclaimed. He yells to the woman as she, none-too-quickly, goes back to WBP, “Hurry up, lady! I’ve got a route to complete!”
Passenger gets back to the bus WITHOUT WBP; because WBP figured the bus had already passed (remember it had started late), WBP had called her boyfriend for a ride. Now, the passenger is arguing about this with the driver WHILE SHE IS STANDING OUTSIDE OF THE BUS. “Get in!” the other passengers, including me, scream. She does, but orates that she would want someone to do the same for her. She then opines that “you blacks live in the city, you can take another bus, but it was her [WBP’s]last opportunity.” She went on in this vein for a couple minutes. Now, it was true that I could have taken the #10 20 minutes later and gotten to nearly the same place. It was also true that WBP’s options were limited. But her (unnecessary) racial characterization was bizarre; there were as many white people as black people on the bus, and there were undoubtedly some black people on that bus for which that vehicle was their last option as well. As I got off the bus, I told her that I didn’t appreciate her “racist crap.” The incident put me in a bit of a sour mood until I got home and saw Lydia.

But I really like the bus. REALLY. It’s a good thing, the bus. Ride the bus. Mass transit rules.

Save our bus route!

May 30, 2005

Dear Capital District Transportation Authority:

I was extremely interested to read the story in last Tuesday’s Times Union, “Complaints stall CDTA plan.” When I heard of the plans for the changes, I was quite disappointed, but assumed that the decisions were final. I was pleased, therefore, to discover that you have at least delayed the proposed route changes.

I never knew of the petition signed by people protesting the proposed changes on the route, but certainly would have signed it had I known.

I am not a current rider of that bus. However, our daughter is going to day care starting in September. Part of the decision for selecting that specific facility (and subsequently putting down a deposit to secure a slot) was its easy access by the bus from our house. The new schedule would have meant an extra couple block walk, which would have been OK in the good weather, but problematic in the winter and in inclement weather. The new times were also less desirable.

Thank you for reconsidering this matter.

Sincerely, Roger Green – posted to http://www.rogerowengreen.blogspot.com on 6/3/05

I write this, not so much to mention this fairly parochial matter from my point of view, but to remind me, and perhaps remind you, that sometimes you can fight City Hall (or at least the bus company.)