Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ask for Directions and Get Going

So today on the bus...

visual: Purple plaid lululemon jacket atop a grey pair of crops sit on the bus today. My Nike Dunks with the mismatched shoe laces tap vigorously as the bus fills way up. My purple aviators look around taking it all in today.

I sit on the bus today pondering life and its transitions. I am moving to Chicago in a week and somehow feel a pang of sadness for the LA Public Transit system. I stare at all the people rushing and packing on and wonder what I will learn today.

Some times the crowded days just teach me patience or how to zone out in the mess. But today, a beautiful thing happened, of course.

A younger gentleman was sitting across from me - nice button down, jeans, cool aviator glasses and some diamond earrings. Next to him sat an older woman looking nervous back and forth at street signs and in her purse back to the new stop request... After all the silent panicking, she finally gets up and goes to speak with the bus driver, asking for directions and travel information.

She comes back with a sense of relief and smiling. She sits down and leans over to her neighbor, nudges his shoulder - the cute guy, and informs him, "you know, some times you just have to ask to get where you are going".

He smiles and nods his head and they continue on.

I smile from behind my aviator glasses, too. She is so right!

We cannot get where we are going if we do not speak up, ask directions, and get to where we need to go! This goes for public transporation, but if you dig a little deeper - it is about life.

I secretly place this small but profound piece of advice in my transitional state of mind's backpocket. I have a funny feeling I am going to need this one.

Borrow it, if you like and get where you need to go.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Keep It Royal

So today on the bus...

visual: Rocking my organic fibers care of lululemon athletica today, charcoal heathered grey pants with a purple long sleeve that somehow went well with my deep purple backpack and purple yoga mat. I know, its a lot of purple - but you'll see. My new and insane grey sweatpant material Nike Dunks high tops with yellow shoes laces step up to the 720.

I jump on the over-crowded bus today, thank my bus driver and stand right up front. I cannot even maneuver to a spacious double door spot, it was that 5pm end-of-day hour.

While staring down Wilshire Boulevard and willing people to get off at the next stop, a mid to older aged woman looks up from her book at me and says, "I love the purple you are wearing". I smile and thank her, noticing she is literally rocking ALL purple. Purple shirt, metallic purple windbreaker to purple socks! I, of course, comment that she looks great in her purple, as well.

We dive in deep. Talking about...purple.

Me: "You know, I hear when you wear a purple or lavender color, you should feel relaxed and so should all those around you. Do you?"

Purple Lady: "I do feel quite calm. I really do. But you know hon, purple is really the color of royalty".

Me (smiling): "You know, I was feeling royal today and almost do every day. So glad you reminded me".

Purple Lady: "Well, you keep feelin' that girl. Me too, me too".

We both laugh a little bit and she looks down to continue to read her book.

I smile while standing beside her. We must have looked like quite a vision all clad in every shade of purple - from deep to metallic. And after our conversation, I do feel that she sat a little higher on her bus seat...err, throne.

As we approach my stop, I lean down and say bye to my purple loving friend.

Purple Lady: "Oh bye dear. Keep it real".

Me: "How about we keep it royal?"

And with that we both laugh, high five and I jump off that bus strutting my royal stuff!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Going GREEN!

Look what I bought today....

My new bright green, gas guzzling machine.

My new way to go GREEN!









I am still snobbing on the 720!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Quarter w/ Meaning

So today on the bus...

visual: Living lightly and brightly, I rock my hot pink leg warmers today and a luluelmon athletica work out one piece. Yes, you read that right, a one piece. My new purple and white aviator-esque sunglasses peer down Wilshire to find my bus approaching right when I arrive.

I love when the bus arrives just as I step up to the bus stop. Its a simple matter in life, but for me that is something I get a huge kick out of.

On the phone today with my boyfriend in Chicago, I put him on hold and step in line. A wonderful older gentleman is standing aside letting all passengers go before him. He is wearing green corduroys and a white shirt with a beige waterproof jacket. It is probably closet to 75 degrees and sunny, mid afternoon and he is ready for a mild snow storm. Alas, I nod at him, step on the bus and greet my bus driver. I grab quarters out of my backpack and begin to drop them in. On accident, I drop six quarters instead of five.

I smirk and look up to my bus driver. I said, "that last quarter is for him" and I point to the winter wonderland behind me.

I rush to the back and tell the boyfriend I have bus adventures to find and get to my spot by the double door.

As I peer up, I see the corduroy-clad man stumbling in an old man demeanor back to the back towards me. He comes right up in front of me and looks at me straight in the eyes and asks, "But why? Why did you pay a quarter for me?".

I smile, tap his shoulder and say, "Oh, that. You were so sweet to let everyone on the bus go before you, just a little love back".

At first I thought he was mad at me or something. He looks down and shakes his white haired-head. He looks up with tears on his wrinkled eyes and says, "Thank you is not enough. It would never be enough".

I chuckle almost. So dramatic. I lean in, "Oh, well I think thank you is always just enough." And I tap him on the shoulder and he smiles and thanks me again and again.

He maneuvers himself up to the front rows and I stand smiling.

A quarter, 25 cents and he is thanking me twice over. You really never know what something will mean to someone. Maybe he just needed someone to care, and that was who I got to be for him in that moment. Or maybe, he only had one dollar and this was all in the timing.

Or maybe, it was just perfect.

An extra quarter fell from my hand. And I made the day of that old man.

Felt quite right. Felt quite right.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Give Time, It Gives Back

So today on the bus....

visual: A black scoop neck athletic tank over my amazing and bright blue lululemon cropped leggings enjoy the sunshine as I walk to the bus stop. My flip flops meander across the cross walk and my green sunglasses look forward to the approaching St. Patty's day.

My stomach rumbles as I wait for the bus. I look back at the 711 Convenient Store, considering those damn taquitos. Maybe I will opt for a healthy selection. I run in and take a gander through the aisles and find myself somehow right back up front at the rolling hot dogs, burritos and taquitos.

I am on the phone with my best friend from college, Erin. She works at this cute bagel shop in the heart of our college town, Bloomington Bagel Company. Speaking with her always makes me crave a bagel-wich from there. Weird. Whilst on the phone with her, I am really hoping she will sway me to a healthy selection. She fails.

So, I am up front to aisle of unhealthy and there are these chicken tenders in this heated window box near the register. I go for it. Protein, right?

Now, the woman at cash is taking FOREVER and a day to ring people in. I mean, slow as molasses. I see a flash of red and there goes my bus. NO! I convey my disappointment of my timing to my friend and tell her I have to focus and call her back.

Waiting. Waiting. Of course, the gentleman in front of me needs cigarettes. She leaves the register in search of the requested brand. I am staring out the window. I will not miss the bus again!

Then, another gentleman standing in the door frame with his own coffee mug and sparkling glitterati belt yells to me, "I'll go hold the bus for you, if it comes!". And he runs out to the bus stop.

My mouth drops. Really? He must have overheard me complaining to my friend and offered to help. Amazing.

I walk out with my chicken tender in hand and convey my thanks and appreciation. I dwell on his compassion and he smiles and shrugs it off like its an every day occurrence. His name is Cletis and he lives up the block. Dressed in all black Armani Exchange and the fancy belt, he sips the 711 coffee out of his mug he carried down from home.

What a character. He comments on my athletic clothing and we talk about work outs in the area. He is very friendly and really has a beautiful presence and energy about him.

My bus approaches, I shake his hand and thank him so much for his help. I jump on smiling. Cletis went out of his way and took time to help me out. Who can I pay this forward to?

I sit near the back as the AC is blaring on the bus and I need a spot that is warm with the sunshine. I smile the entire ride and pass it on to those on the bus.

A gentleman approaches the rear exit and says "Hello". I say hi back and ask him how his day is. I know if Cletis can take time to hold a bus for me, I can take time to ask this man in the blue shirt how his day is going. Authentically.

His name was Henry and he was having a great day. He is a welder and passes me his construction card. It is a really beautiful card with a magnificent tree on one side, a blue background, and all his information listed. I tell him that I am yet to hold a business card of my own, but all in good time.

We exchange smiles and his stop approaches. We wish one another a great day and off he goes.

What a beautiful morning. Cletis, the friendly neighbor that offered his time and help, and Henry the welder with beautiful business cards.

In this moment, I feel like we all get wrapped up in time. "I don't have time". "I am too busy". All the stories we create for our realities. However, if we take a moment and give away time, be it for another or for ourselves, it seems to give back in so many ways.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The New and Healthy Way to Commute

So today on the bus...

visual: Bright as can be lululemon checkered running shorts, a lite blue tank, the green sunnies and my Asics jump on the bus today. My green iPod clips on my fanny pak and I let my head phones hang down to allow conversation - once I catch my breath - on the bus.

The morning seemed to slip away from me. My roommate left out Girls Scout cookies and Thin Mints were my breakfast of champions this morning with a delightful cup of homemade coffee. Emails, deliciously crunchy cookies, phone calls and life seemed to distract home longer than necessary. I had an early meeting planned and had to recalculate my bus timing.

How can I make this work? I now have 42 minutes to get to my destination and the Blackberry public transit calculations read I need over 1 hour to walk and bus. Eeek!

Solution! I put on my run gear and combined forces with public transit. A green workout!

I bound out of the house with my iPod shuffle rockin' my 80's run jams and five quarters clanking in my shorts pocket. Off to my 720 bus stop heading West to Santa Monica, I run.

I pop on the bus, remove my headphones and there I rock my stretches. Out of breath and happy for the ride to cut time, I greet my nearby passengers in between arm reaches.

A few stop later and I arrive close to the beach. Jump off and my run is back on.

An amazing morning in sunny California. I ran to the bus stop, bus route down to the Santa Monica beach, run along the boardwalk, and make it to my meeting. Thank goodness I work at an athletic company and can show up to meetings sweaty!

A workout and my bus life all in a morning's trip. Who knew?

A whole new and healthy way to commute!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

We All Do Our Part

So today on the bus...

visual: Bad hair day called for my LA fitted baseball hat atop my green sunglasses, purple bamboo long-sleeve tee and navy lululemon leggings sit on the front of the bus on the way home.

The air is chilly today. I feel like LA is tricking us with these super sunny weeks and then chilly and somewhat drizzling weekends! This is not what I signed up for.

I sit in the front of my crowded bus this early evening and just relax.

There is a man in the back yelling about this and that. I swear I heard him yell: "I drank it! I drank the horse urine. I did! There aren't kids back here so I am just telling you....". And he went on and on about the horse urine. Not necessarily talking to anyone in particular. Just everyone and no one.

Horse urine? I just do not even know where that thought might have come from? You cannot help but listen.

My stop approaches and I exit the bus and thank my bus driver. They must hear the most interesting things on a full day of bus driving. I will write a poem for them soon...stay tuned. My 'Ode to a Bus Driver'....hell, I could be the next Shel Silverstein!

But for now, I leave the bus and head home in the chilly breeze.

As I turn the corner around the Veteran's Park, there is trash EVERYWHERE. I bend over and pick up a plastic bag rolling in the wind and put a couple items in it.

A white Honda Civic pulls over and rolls down the window, an English woman leans over and yells to me in her amazing accent, "That was a wonderful thing you did there. I was going to get out and do the same and you took care of it". I smiled and said, "we all do our part!". She threw me a thumbs up and drove off.

How lovely. She pulled over to thank me for taking care of our good Earth. That felt right.

We can all do our part. The bus drivers deal with us crazies (me being one of them), we give thanks where thanks is due, we pick up trash on the floor of the World, and we can be happy....every day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Frequent Rider Miles?

So today on the bus...

visual: I rush to work today in my hot pink headband, purple-ish blue lululemon relaxed fit pants and an almost seafoam green jacket. Blackberry at my ears and blue flip flops on my seat, I await my ride.

It is a quiet day today. I am up early and the sun is just arising, but even so, the World seems to sleep in late today and the hustle and bustle has slowed down. It seems to make me slow down.

I wait for my bus and ponder my iPod. It sits bright and green in the pocket of my pants - yet, I leave it alone. My bus pulls up; I jump on and and bid my bus driver a wonderful morning. He responds with a whispered thanks. Quiet all over this place.

As I am riding, I look around the bus. What do we have here today?

Not too much. Sleepy passengers and loose windows banging with each pothole on Wilshire Boulevard.

I ponder the recent tips I have received about a TAP card and day passes, as I check my backpack for quarters for my ride home later today. The change thing can be a hassle. However, as of late, my Christmas presents and birthday presents have consisted of quarters. You think I am kidding, my Grandparents gave me a bag shaped as Santa Clause for Christmas full or quarters, and my Mom was in town last weekend and gave me a box of quarters for Valentine's Day. Creative, yes. Necessary, of course! Its pretty amusing when you see me open my gift and I am so happy to have all this silver....for the bus!

However, on that note, I began to wonder why the bus does not utilize a frequent bus rider program? Naive, maybe? Brilliant, possibly? Southwest, American Airlines, Cold Stone Creamery - they all have great incentives for your 13th flight free, or 10th cone on us! I think the Metro could take a tip!

Well, all this thinking became an action. I departed my bus ride and later that day emailed I informed them of the bus 'frequent rider program' idea and perhaps offering some type of incentive to get our city green and coax people to the fun that is Public Transportation! I signed my customer comment, Your Truly, "Snob On a Bus".

And wouldn't you know, they wrote me back!

Due to the number of transit public and the reduction in state/federal funding, is not possible to offer free rides. However, there may be discounts available using TAP cards on their website

Metro Customer Relations(213) 922-6235

First and foremost, thank you to Metro Customer Relations for getting back to me so quickly and with additional information to explore. Impressive.

Second, I have visited and there are promises of incentives and discounts to come in the future. But as of right now, nothing.

I will do some research on state/federal funding - but as of right now, we have no punch card or 8th ride free....yet.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Bus In a Snow Globe...Shake and Settle

So today on the bus...

visual: Brown herringbone lululemon Groove Pants, a hot pink fleece pullover and my neon vans wait for the bus today. I am plugged into my music machine, a green iPod shuffle that matches my bright green aviator-esque shades searching down Wilshire Blvd for my red shuttle to work.

It is a cooler day and I appreciate the crisp feeling in the air after a nice rain. We get into summer so fast in LA, I remind myself to marvel in the amazing colorful long sleeves and pullovers I have, while I still can!

My best friend had uploaded her music library to my iPod and I am just jamming walking to my bus stop. Old 80's jams and upbeat tunes usually rock my jogs - thus my iPod is full of them! As I approach the bus, I am intrigued by all the people with their headphones in or cell phones readily available in hand. No one is tapping their foot or dancing, but we all are tuned ... out, so it seems!

NOTE: I did an insane yoga class this morning. My mind is already in a haze as my body is still in cool-down mode from the heat of the class, deep movements and overall stress release.

The bus approaches and I tuck the headphones in my fleece. I drop in my quarters and acknowledge my bus driver - who also seemed a bit zoned out. Comforting.

It is the late morning, so my bus is rather full and there is good energy in here. I decide to run a little experiment. I am going to be that iPod-listening-bus-rider. I am going to plug in and zone out from people. See what all the fuss is about. What I miss and who I might overlook.

My hypothesis here is that I will miss all the action. Be literally tuned out from the reality and amazing happenings that occur daily on the bus. I will step off with a sense of failure and truly feel as if I have ignored the World.

So, I begin to relax into my seat and enjoy the ride. I find I am more observant and aware of the entire bus. I have my tunes in the background. I can see an older gentleman sharing conversation with a younger female student sitting behind him. I focus on the woman on her cell phone up front; she is on the phone yet literally reading her book at the same time! And the crew of friends that just walked on laughing and smiling over common interests.

It is almost my own meditation - as if I have my bus in a snow globe. Every bus stop, it shakes and the snow falls to grab my music-injected attention.

How interesting! I close my eyes and smile. I imagine myself in the snow globe and someone seeing me. Eyes closed, comfortable and smiling with my tunes in my ears. Maybe they smile. Maybe they change the song to find a happy place. What possibility am I for others - even when I am not directly connecting with them?

Oh, I am getting somewhere with this iPod project!

The indirection connection I am feeling with the entire bus is somewhat magical. Most buses are so silent, but today the 720 is rocking life. Friends in this corner, conversations here, multi-taskers there. Maybe it is my yoga buzz from earlier, but I am zenned out in the middle of Los Angeles on public transit, yet completely present and aware of my surroundings.

How is that?

Me? The busy body. I move and shake at all times....a mover and shaker! However, I found a peace of mind in one of the more crazier spaces in my life.

All along, I hypothesized I would be that typical ignore-the-people passenger. What I experienced was bus bliss! I found a different form of bus bliss! By tuning out, I literally tuned in to everything around me.

I step off the bus so happy. So light. Or maybe the yoga hippie life of Southern CA is getting to me - but whatever it is, I feel great!

I ponder this action in life. When you have so much going on and you are a mile a minute, if we step back, smile and drop any expectations - we might get a better and bigger picture of what is actually going on.

Appreciate it.

And let the snow globe of life keep shaking and settling....shaking and settling.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bus Transfers, My Civic Duty, and Real Connections

So today on the bus....

visual: Bright green avocado-colored lululemon jacket over a pair of gray, uncomfortable dress slacks, my purple backpack and my neon Vans rush down the block in the early morning hours. Jury Duty called and it is my civic duty to answer...for the bus I wait, to make the hour trek downtown.

My blackberry google application reads 1 hour and 12 minutes for my bus trip from Brentwood to the Criminal Justice Center in Downtown LA. I get to take my bus, the 720 and then transfer to a number of options listed.

If you will recall, I do not transfer. I never have transferred. And, today is the big day!

I trek to the bus before the sun is up. I wait at my normal stop in front of my 711 Convenient Store. The bus arrives right on time and I take a deep breathe for the long route ahead of me. I jump on, pay my toll and wish my bus rider a good morning. He has slicked back hair, a black jacket and a black and white herringbone scarf around his neck. He looked great and so suave. I let him know he has some great style.

The bus is quite empty, so I pull out the phone to see what my next stop is and what bus I should transfer to. I have no idea, so I approach my fancy bus driver for guidance.

He is the most helpful man in the World. He informs me that I will get off at Broadway and which bus to take thereafter. He even goes as far to say, "Don't worry, I will let you know which stop".

Sigh. I go back to my seat up front to sit comfortably and ride easy.

Not too much commotion on this bus this morning. Before 7am, not many people are out for a great conversation, much less awake. It is interesting going through the different neighborhoods. Observing Brentwood to Westwood, from Beverly Hills to Hollywood into Downtown; LA is full of such different pockets of life.

As we dive deeper into Downtown, my classy bus driver shouts that this is my stop and that I should head to the local bus 45. I thank him and exit his bus.

I google how far it is to actually walk to my final destination and it read 1 mile - I figure I have the time and I will save some change. The neon Vans start walking.

Alas, those neon Vans walked the wrong way. I have zero sense of direction. ZERO! Even with the Blackberry GPS, a flaw I have acknowledged fully and accepted. Another perk to riding the bus, I am not driving. It is really a perk for the World and everyone on the road.

So, I make the executive decision to wait the 2 minutes for this local bus number 45. I wonder if this bus is only .75 cents? I peek around downtown as I wait, which is rather disheartening. Our downtown in the city of Angels needs some real work. I love the streets with the tall buildings, rushing traffic on one way streets, and the somewhat older architecture. However, it definitely does not live up to the Petula Clark song, "The lights are much brighter there, You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go, Downtown, things'll be great when you're Downtown, no finer place for sure, Downtown, everything's waiting for you". Come one LA, pick up your game!

The number 45 arrives and I jump on. I ask, "how much?" and my driver responds, "$1.25".

Shucks, to go one mile!? I let go of another five quarters and jump on my transfer. A step of triumph as I step into the smaller bus - I find my seat up front. After a couple stops, it is one of those buses that stops EVERY other block, I ponder if I really could have walked faster. Then again, I am in no rush whatsoever to play the waiting game at Jury Duty, so I just ride.

An older and very obese woman with a walker flags down the bus. She is groaning and moaning with every single step. She almost goes in to a full on wail as she sits down in the seats across from me. I stand up to help her with her walker and she gives me an acknowledgement moan. The entire ride she is grasping her shirt at her heart and just reeks of pain. I literally fear she is going to have a heart attack on this bus. I smile at her and ask if she is alright? She starts speaking to me about something I definitely cannot understand and then looks forward to our approaching stop.

She pulls the tab with the utmost of effort - my same stop, as I was just wondering if I should call the hospital for her. She walkers off the bus groaning and moaning and moves slowly on her way.

I rush off to Jury Duty after my one hour and 17 minutes of bus travels, including one transfer. I feel accomplished and rather impressed with myself and the bus system. I am on time and it was somewhat easy to transfer with the help of my drivers!

....Jury Duty. Civic Duty Served. Lengthy Case. Rescheduled. Back to Bus....

On the way home, I am ready this time, bring on the two buses, 1 transfer, and over an hour of public transit travel. An LA Police Office points me in the right direction to my first bus. I wait at the stop and upon bus arrival, I inform the driver where I need to go. She is a larger woman full of knowledge. There are detours, different bus routes, and options for transfers - and she goes into a full on explanation about what each will entail. Impressive, but not answering my question. I finally ask her in the nicest of ways, "will this get me to the 720 stop on 5th and Grand?".

She says yes and helps me the entire way. Another amazing bus driver getting me home. I do appreciate it and I thank her when I exit to my transfer. Really, these bus drivers rocked the house today. Kudos to Metro HR, kudos!

I cross the crosswalk to the recognizable sign for the Rapid 720 bus stop. I wait for the hour ride home in 5pm traffic, feeling okay about having just rescheduled my Jury Duty to April. The bus arrives, is packed and I jump on. There are men in seats with buckets of flowers to sell, a guy closer to the back with a basket of umbrellas for sale as there is the smell of rain in the air, and some loud iPods blaring out of people's ears as I pass through to the back of the bus.

I find an open seat next to a young woman and sit with my backpack in my lap. I am so far from my normal route that as we are trucking along , I do not recognize anything at all. I lean over and ask the young girl if she knows what cross street we are on and she says nothing and stares out the window. Oh, okay.

So, we sit in silence until her departure. As she exits, a wonderful old man with a large hat, crunched shoulders and hearing aids leans down and sits next to me.

I am in the midst of powering through a couple work emails, as I have been out of commission for the past couple of hours and my previous bus friend was in no talking mood. I finally put the phone down and look up to the older gentleman. I greet him and ask him how he is doing.

He looks over slowly and responds that he is great. He points to my Blackberry and says, "I don't know how to even work one of those things".

I tell him he is lucky! I some times forget that these should NOT be attached to one's bodies and I had to put it down so I could even focus and speak with him. He smiles and explains that he does not even own a cell phone. I return his smile and ask him how he knows where to meet people or how he connects with his friends daily?

He smirks and points to us both and says, "we are connecting right now. Just like this".

A rush of warmth rushes through me and I tell him, "You are very right, sir".

He chuckles, pointing to his hearing aids and says, "I can't hear a damn thing anyways. Cell phone would be a waste on me".

I laugh with him and we connect. We truly connect.

I come to my stop and wish him well. We shake hands and I rush off into Beverly Hills towards my work.

A long day of bus travel, I look back on past events. My amazing bus drivers that got me exactly where I needed to be. My first experience transferring and it not being bad, at all (minus the added fare cost). The obese woman with the almost-heart attack to my non-talkative bus-mate, followed directly by the lovely old man with no cell phone and hearing aids. My civic duty that I half served and will have to do my adventure bus trek back and forth again in the near future.

And finally, how if we just put the Blackberry away, remove the iPod and quit the emails for a moment, then and only then can we really truly connect.

What a day. On the bus. What a day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

So today on the bus....

visual: I do not match today. Purple plaid jacket atop a pair of heathered blue lululemon Feel Good pants and royal blue Havianas flip flops on bottom and green aviator-esque sunglasses on top - I am a vision. It is Sunday morning and I just grabbed what was there...

You all know the days where you just feel a little off. I am sure you can tell by my outfit, I just missed the mark today. So, I am waiting for my bus and sipping through my sustainable coffee mug and shuddering. I tried to brew my own coffee this morning. Terrible decision. I make the right call and pour it out into the street, where it belongs.

711 is calling my name with their posters marketing these Breakfast Burrito Rolls. 2 for $2, what a steal! Knowing it is probably the worst decision, I turn to take advantage of this morning special. Oh yes, people. I did. Two breakfast rollers. You know the case with the hot dogs that roll all the live long day. Yes, these are rolling in the case right next to those hot dogs.

I know, I really know.

So I get my cardboard case full of artery clog and future stomach pain (see photo to right) and head back to the my stop right as the bus is approaching. The doors open up and I greet my bus driver with a large hello for Sunday. I think I startled him. He says hi back, takes one glance at the 711 Convenient breakfast box in my hands and looks up smiling, "Breakfast of Champions today, huh?".

I literally laugh out loud. And, I cannot stop. I tell him that these new burritos were calling my name today and it happened. It happened! I scold myself in front of him, using my full name as if I am really in trouble this time.

He is laughing too as I sit in the front seats and crack open the box. I snicker a bit longer knowing for sure that my bus driver has NO idea that I not only have one of these gnarly breakfast burrito rollers in the box, but there are 2! I ponder sharing with him, but that fades.

I am smiling the whole way there. The last couple of bites of burrito number 2, I pull into the town of regret. I knew I didn't need that second one! It wasn't near as good as the first one. What was I thinking? My stomach starts to rumble and I shake my head.

As I pull for my stop and jump off the bus stop, I wave bye and smile at my driver. He recalls my full name from my scolding and acknowledges me.

I head to the store to open shop. I start to figure that with all the walking I do to and from the bus stops, that second burrito was totally fine. I look up to the front of my store, pondering a real cup of good coffee - and there is my old bus friend. The man I think created He came to say 'hi'. How lovely.

We chat a moment and I thank him for saying hello this morning. He is heading to Santa Monica to breathe in the ocean air. I love that and momentarily wish I could just bail and ride the bus down West and hear his deep, lingering Santa Claus laughs. But alas, I must elevate the World to greatness at lululemon athletica Beverly Hills today! We exchange hugs and he says he will return.

And that was my morning. Laughing with my bus driver. Sitting on the bus eating 711 burritos out of my cardboard box o' calories, and my gentlemen friend clad in a suit to wish me a good morning at work.

Now that makes life easy like Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Her Favorite Color Was Purple, Too!

So today on the bus...

visual: A chillier morning called for my purple plaid jacket and my dark denim leggings. Yes, denim workout leggings from lululemon and they are awesome. With my bright blue Havianas flip flops and green sunglasses, I await the bus perched high on the green bench at my stop.

I am on my way home today from a radical yoga workshop. I wait for the bus while gabbing away with my amazing Mother on my phone. We are talking about life and communication issues and really getting down deep with eachother. I love when that happens, middle of Saturday morning - just waiting on the bus while Mom and I elevate our lives to greatness. Its good stuff, hell - it is great stuff!

As my bus approaches, we are in the heat of the conversation. "Mom. Mom. Mother! I have to pause you and say hello to my bus driver", I place the phone in my pocket and insert my crisp dollar and shiny quarter into the machine and say hello to my bus driver. I give him a shoulder knock and tell him that people are always so distracted on these cellular phones and that acknowledgement for those getting me home is necessary. He half smiles and shrugs.

I take Mom out of my pocket and allow her to continue as I head to the very back of my somewhat crowded bus. Ever since meeting that gentleman I think created, I have had this amazing affinity for standing near the double doors and pretending I am surfing down Wilshire Boulevard on the bus. And to think, I have never surfed in the ocean in LA! A surf snob in my own right!

So yes, my Mom is reaching her conclusion of life being simple and beautiful and not to be taken seriously and all of a sudden this little girls starts belting out Ol' McDonald Had A Farm in the middle of the bus. As if we were her American Idol judges and life was her stage! I ask my Mom to listen, and say that is the beauty of life. Singing your heart out on the bus while sitting on your mother's lap on a sunny day and being happy. There it is, Mom. There it is. I can hear my mother smile over the phone and we promise to call one another later. Being best friends with your Mom is such a cool phenomenon - try it!

We hang up and I continue to watch my young singer-t0-be just jumping around. She is literally crawling all over her Mom's lap, smiling and laughing. She had to be four years old, which I really think is the best age. And honestly, the Mom seemed so happy, as well. How could she not be with the company of sunshine she brought along? It really is the mother/daughter loving energy. I can feel it exuding from them.

The bus comes to a stop and people exit the seats next to them. I immediately jump off my bus of a surf board and sit down next to them. I look at the young girl through my big green sunglasses and I thank her for singing to the bus, complimenting her beautiful voice.

She is surprisingly shy and holds on tight to her Mother's leg. They both thank me and smile at one another. The little girl, after a moment of deep thought, inches closer to me and away from the safety lock she had on her Mother. She climbs up into the seat next to me and smiles. She has on these amazing boots with a cute lite blue skirt. I lean in, "I just love those boots. YOU are so fashion forward, you know? And these colors you are wearing, well, you should be in a magazine!".

She screeches with delight and looks to her Mom for approval. Her Mom says she is always best dressed and winks from under her herringbone hat.

Sidenote: I love herringbone and feel that there really should be more of it in the World. I then glance down at my loud plaid jacket and laugh at myself.

Anyways, my new friend comments on the purple plaid jacket and purple backpack I am rocking today. Purple is her favorite color, too! Immediate bond. We then spend some time in education mode talking about what colors make a different color. i.e. Red and Blue make Purple, Yellow and Blue make Green...etc. We high five at the end of the colors game. I then show her some pictures on my Blackberry of the yoga class I went to. Her eyes get wide as she sees the crazy tricks we did (Note: I took a yogaFLIGHT workshop at my store this morning. Think flying in airplane on the bottom of someones feet as a kid - for grown ups in yoga form!).

The pair's stop is one before mine and as they prepare for departure, we introduce eachother to one another. Jasmine and Shandra were their names. I look up to the Mother, shake her hand and let her know they are very special. Jasmine chimes in that she is going to see her Daddy at the hospital. The Veterans' Hospital is right up the block. I remind her to sing for him, because she has a beautiful voice. She is ear to ear with her little teeth and those corn rows. They leave and she flashes me one last smile before hopping off the bus.

It truly is amazing, the innocence of a child that leaves one uplifted and so happy. Jasmine's contagious energy kept me smiling ear to ear the whole rest of the way home. She hadn't a care in the World on the bus today. Just singing and laughing and talking about our favorite colors. I am reminded yet again not to take life too seriously. Just be present and happy right now. Be open and let the peace of a child change your mood, change your day, or change your life.

Jasmine and her Mom probably had no idea that they had touched, moved and inspired me to come sit by them. In that moment, I got to tell them. I immediately let them know how wonderful they were. What if people did that every day? What if I did that every day, every time, every bus ride?

I pull the line for my stop and sigh with gratitude. The bus! It gets me every time if I am open to it! I shuffle to the exit and shoot my bus driver a wave and thank you. He waves back with a smile.

I start walking home and put my iPod in my ears. I find myself singing out loud and clapping my hands on the sidewalk. Look at me, light as a child inside and out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Make The Choice to Have A Great Day

So today on the bus...

visual: Purple-ish blue lululemon athletica Still Pants, a more relaxed fit pair - as I cannot wear the tight spandex every day - matched with a grey long sleeve, a neon green tank peeking out the bottom, as I layer for the early morning chill. With my fitted LA Dodgers cap and bright green aviator-influenced sunglasses, I rock back and forth on my royal blue flip flops waiting for the bus.

I actually had been offered 2 rides this morning but opted to go find a bus adventure. In stepping on the Rapid 720, I thank my driver and find a seat right up front in between two older gentlemen. I won't miss a thing up here and I am ready for some action.

We rush through a couple stops and I got nothing thus far. Just enjoying the moment here.

"Approaching Westwood" rings through the bus with the mechanical women's voice above on the speaker system. A line of people begin to pour through the double doors.

A familiar face sits down across from me. I cannot pinpoint where I have met him, nor do I know if it was a pleasant conversation or not. Why my mind even wanders to a negative possibility, I do not know.

He looks across the way a couple times. Remembering, remembering....

"You work for an athletic clothing company right?", he asks.

In shock with his memory, I answer yes and smile. He reminds me that we have met before and says his name is Lonnie.

Ahhhhh yes, Lonnie. Sweet Lonnie who works for the oil company in Beverly Hills yet used to live in Texas. Yes, I am there now. We exchange our previous bus rendezvous and ask each other how the other is doing and so on and so forth.

He is so friendly and I immediately re-connect.

We get to talking about the past couple weeks. I tell him I caught that nasty head cold going around and he shares that he banged up his right heel of his foot somehow and that it "hurts like hell". Talk about the weather and the chilly air that has blown through. Nothing compared to the rest of the nation, we retort to one another.

He has those kind eyes. And they are kind of droopy in the most endearing way. We have a moment of silence and I look out the front window. I turn back to him and ask, "So Lonnie, are you going to have a great day?".

He scratches his navy blue beanie atop his head and answers, "We will see. Maybe. There are some obstacles, you know?".

I respond, "I don't know. You either choose to make it a great day or you don't".

He stares back and cracks a smile. "I hear ya, I hear ya".

"Well I hope you hear me. Or else I am just talking to thin air over here!", I respond with a little sass and a smile.

He eats it up and we both agree to have a great day today. As I pull my tab to exit, I shake his hand. He looks up from his seat and tells me, "I will remember what you told me today. And, I have all the confidence in you and that you will have a great day".

I smile, agree, and thank him. I remind him to make the choice, and with that, I wave bye to the bus driver and exit.

I some times forget how fun it is to challenge people. I challenged Lonnie to have a great day. What a trip. Nobody could ever truly be upset with someone for encouraging them to have a great day. And that is what we have to remember. It is essentially about standing for people's greatness.

I am so happy he spoke up and recalled our previous bus meeting. I hope Lonnie had a great day. I know I did.

Stand for the greatness of people. Challenge someone to have a great day today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Giving Bus

So today on the bus....

visual: Black lululemon athletica scoop neck tank over my bright green running shorts with a black jacket to match the top, and my green Nikes rushing to the corner bus stop - I multi-task while jogging, digging in my purple backpack for quarters, nickels dimes, dollars and coming up short.

Here is one problem I have with the bus system. Some times, just some times, I do not have change. I have used all my quarters and am out the door before I realize that major part of the bus - the fare! That need for exact change. I knew when I left this morning, that clanking of quarters was missing in my shorts pocket!

On days like these, I am usually scrambling to find an ATM to get the green. THEN, I am going to have to rush to a space that will throw me change for a $20 dollar bill. It goes like this, "Oh hi, can I get a cookie? And for my change, can I get four 1's and four quarters as part of it? Thanks so much".

What a mess.

Here is today. I search for the neon green ATM sign near the vicinity of my bus stop. Once targeted, I rush to it and go through all the normal operations. Card, Pin, dollar amount. Why can I only get dollar amounts in increments of 20? I would love to choose the quarter roll button! Regardless, I grab my money from the ATM and head towards Starbucks across the way from my stop for the cookie (usually oatmeal raisin, they really are delicious). Now, it is a rarity that I turn the corner and the bus is just waiting there. But today, of course it was there. My bus had just stopped at the corner to my left. Right as I am about to cross to the right to get to that cookie at the coffee shop. I am short on time, so I go for it, I jump on and ask the driver if he has any change for a $20 dollar bill? He shakes his head with a demanding "no" and says, "Ask them" as he points to the back of the bus.

Sheesh. I contemplate the cookie and the long wait for another bus.

I step further on through the bus entrance and I look to the sea of people sitting on my bus and give a small, very unlike me, yell, "Hey, ummm, does anyone have change for a $20 dollar bill?"

A couple people in front say no, others just look around. Then, this wonderful gentleman to my left stands up and digs in his light colored jeans pocket. He says, "Well hun, I don't have change for that $20 bill right there, but I do have these" as he is counting out five quarters in his hand amidst the pennies and other nickel and dimes.

I am in shock. Giving up his beloved quarters. I ask him, "are you sure?". As I hear that Edgar Winter song play in my head, "Come on and take a FREE RIDE", he places the quarters in the machine for me. (listen:

He smiles and does the whole pay it forward speech. I am so appreciative. I offer him the three nickels I found at the bottom of my backpack earlier. He scoffs and tells me to put those away!

His name is Will and he has a great sense of humor. I sit down next to him and his opening line is, "You wanna know the weird thing about the bus? Nobody talks to anyone. They just stare and sit there and some times, they even block the open seat next to them. Ensuring no social contact!".

I laugh out loud. A hearty laugh. "Will! I think the exact same thing!". Seriously, exact same train of thought has been announced on this blog and in my head countless times.

We then talk about our bus history. We share stories and talk about how smart we feel because we don't sit in traffic anymore like all these goofs, have gone green and save a dollar bill or two. We just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride home. It is so funny to share this with someone who agrees in the exact same way. Makes you feel good. Its all about feeling smart.

And, he had paid for my ride. I still cannot get over it. I think how much I covet my quarters when someone asks me for money. I am always thinking to myself, NOT the quarters! And he just stood up and passed them out. I take a cue from Will.

Give. Just give.

I think back to one of my favorite children's books of all time, The Giving Tree. You know the one with the green cover, by Shel Silverstein (see photo to right). The book is essentially about a beautiful friendship between a young boy and an apple tree. The tree gives and gives to the boy as he grows up - anything he needs that the tree can offer, he gives (branch swings for play, wood for a boat, a stump to rest upon...). The tree gives with only one expectation, to see the boy happy. What an incredible concept. Just as Will had given me those five quarters, all he expected was me to do something nice in return for another. Not even for him.

I know I am going a little deep with this five quarter instance. But, it is so fitting. So many people do things and act in a way expecting reciprocity. But the truth of the matter is, when you are just giving, the enjoyment in the action is actually that much more enjoyable!

Will gave. He just gave me five quarters. We then enjoyed each other's company for the rest of the ride and it was a beautiful thing. I think I am still in shock that someone stood up. But even so, let's try this. Giving without any expectation.

Feels good. Feels right.

I stand up to depart to my stop home. I lean down and thank Will with one of those hugs that has a tight squeeze. It is the I-really-mean-it-squeeze. I ponder for a moment that I really hug more people now that I ride the bus. I will save that for another day, another blog, another story. For now, I thank him and my bus driver and jump off the bus.

I rode the Giving Bus today! A beautiful story.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bus Camouflage and No Seatbelts?

So today on the bus...

visual: Oh you are in for this, so today I decided to go bright. I rocked the lululemon athletica color Mac and Cheese. Yes, bright yellow leggings with my brand new Vans Classic Slip On sneakers in the textured colors of bright purple, bright blue and lime green. Yes, you are reading this right. Green sunglasses offset the orange-red long sleeve and that bus smile, as I wait on Wilshire Boulevard.

What a day. I am exhausted after a full morning. I have already done a ballet barre class that rocked my bum in ways I did not know was possible, followed by a gnarly Cross Fit workout before approaching the bus today. The endorphins are running rampant!

My bus arrives in somewhat good time and I jump on to greet my bus driver. She is decked out in these colorful bus-driving gloves with the fingers cut out. I, of course, comment on her snazzy style and she thanks me.

I take my seat and I look around at my sleepy passengers. I place my purple backpack aside and just enjoy the ride.

Now, I know I have told you guys about the insane 80's print on the seats of the bus. Who is the Metro stylist? Well, well, well, wouldn't you know it, today I matched it. Oh yes, bus camouflage brought to you by this lululemon athletica clad bus snob! I was worried someone might sit on me! I had the yellow pants and the orange-red top. How in the World could this be? I chuckle to myself, it is almost unreal! (See bus seats below...)

Once I think I am past myself matching the bus, I begin to ponder: why does the bus not have seat belts? Really, why not? It is the law to buckle up in the car, but on the bus with, at times, over 50 people riding - all in the hands of one bus driver. I question the logic here. I do not sign a waiver on the bus. There are no signs saying if we crash, Metro Rapid 720 is not responsible. It is rather interesting.

This is LA with all the traffic and crazy dreamers on the road! Hell, I sign waivers before entering a gentle yoga flow in this city!

Answers! I need answers!

In case you have forgotten, yes, yes I did match the seats today on the bus. I did!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Find a New Reason, A New Way of Living

So today on the bus...

visual: I am very yogi today with my organic cotton purple long sleeve and lululemon hip pants in dark grey. I somehow perfectly coordinated my outfit with my purple backpack, purple yoga mat, green sunglasses and green Nikes. Not on purpose. But, it looked pretty good, I must say.

I am walking towards the bus today to attend a yoga class with a focus on arm balances and the level 2/3 written beside the class. Now, I am not a level 2/3. I am level 1 or maybe level .5 - still learning the ways of yoga and all the stretching and breathing and meditating. Its not simple. Regardless, I am walking up to the bus stop, about a block away from the stop and there is my Rapid 720 barreling up Wilshire heading West right on time.

Damn! I am not even across the street yet. Oh yes, I take off in a full sprint. Backpack flopping around with my yoga mat weighing me down. Arm flailing. My sustainable water bottle flies out of my backpack and into the street. Great! I pull some kind of Peyton Manning step move and squat, grab water bottle, back to sprint, bus entrance. I make it. Sweating and out of breathe. But I make it.

My bus driver is a larger African American woman with a large gap between her teeth. She laughs at me as I throw my hand in the air and yell, "I made it!". Like Rocky at the end of his stair climb, but me at my bus double doors!

She gives me the once-over and asks me if purple and green are my favorite colors. I look down and see my amazing coordination. "Why yes, yes they are". She laughs again and I look for my seat. She is friendly.

Bus got me there right on time. I thank her and hurry down to class. Ahh, Santa Monica. I just love being this close to the ocean, you can just smell it in the air.

Anyways, class was great. And yes, the class was ridiculously hard and yes, I almost passed out at the end in resting pose. Level 2/3 is no joke. You should have seen what some of the characters in there could do!

Sweaty and disheveled from the added levels of intensity, I walk a bit slower back to my bus stop heading East to get home and shower. Waiting and waiting, the bus arrives and the double doors open.

Wouldn't you know, it was the same gapped-tooth woman driving the bus! I am in shock and so excited. I think I lit up. I NEVER get the same bus driver - especially a nice one who admires my outfit! I tell her about yoga class and thank her again for taking me where I need to go.

Now, I see that you are reading this like what is the big deal. But, to me, seeing the same bus driver twice in one round trip is quite the treat. Its like seeing a friend at the airport. Or, to me it is. So, I ponder this new found appreciation for the small things in my life. I mean, who really gets excited about the same bus driver. I literally told her, "OMG, I never get the same driver in the same roundtrip! Best day ever!" (HIGH FIVE). She loved it and I loved it! Why not, right? Why the heck not?

It is a new way of living, this bus trip. A new reason to be happy and excited every day on public transport - and I shout it out and try to dream again.

Thus, I leave you with my new found theme song for my bus life from The Cloud Room.


The Cloud Room

Hey Now Now

Hey now now, they'll find you when you're sleeping now now

they'll reach in and grab what you're dreamin' now now

cut it up and slip it back in, and I know, and I know, and I know it

Hey now now, the smallest things are crushing me now

the crush crush crush is so comforting now

did the earth just slam in the sun, and I know, and I know, and I know it

won't undo their past by walking and talking backwards

Hey now now, we're goin' down down

and we ride the bus there and pay the bus fare

or we find a new reason, a new way of living

and we breathe it in and try to dream again

Hey now now, we're goin' down down

and we ride the bus there and pay the bus fare

or we find a new reason, a new way of living

and we breathe it in and try to dream again

Hey now now, they'll find you when you're sleeping, now nowt

they'll reach in and grab what you're dreamin', now now

cut it up and slip it back in and I know, and I know, and I know it

Hey now now, the smallest things are crushing me now

the crush crush crush is so comforting now

did the earth just slam in the sun, and I know, and I know, and I know it

won't undo their past by walking and talking backwards

Hey now now, we're goin' down down

and we ride the bus there and pay the bus fare

or we find a new reason, a new way of living

and we shout it out and try to dream again

Hey now now, we're goin' down down

and we ride the bus there and pay the bus fare

or we find a new reason, a new way of living

and we shout it out and try to dream again

la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la lalalalaaaaa

Hey now now, we're goin' down down

and we ride the bus there and pay the bus fare

or we find a new reason, a new way of living

and we breathe it in and try to dream again

Hey now now, we're goin' down down

and we ride the bus there and pay the bus fare

or we find a new reason, a new way of living

and we shout it in and try to dream again

Hey now now, we're goin' down down

and we ride the bus there and pay the bus fare

or we find a new reason, a new way of living

and we shout it in and try to dream again

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bustrations: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Heart

So today on the bus...

visual: Hot pink lululemon athletica racerback peeks beneath this incredible new half jacket I picked up from this amazing store....lululemon athletica in Beverly Hills. Rocking the UGG boots this morning with black capris and my green sunglasses, I wait for the bus.

So, I was going to start this post about honesty and the bus system. I was going to take the lid off my bus glorification I seem to have found and all the goodness of the Rapid 720 that I speak to daily, and tell you that some times the bus can be a pain.. That honesty piece would have been the flip side of my snob-ness. The revelations of bus frustrations. Or the title of the blog that was: "Bustrations". (I truly get a life kick out of word combinations. I do not know what that is about, but lucky for you, this amazing gentlemen in a full three-piece suit with a red tie that matched his red handkerchief and a rain tracker hat saved the blog day!).

Just to note, there are some pressing things about not having a car and riding the bus that I ponder at times. Like how long it takes me to get somewhere with the leaving the house early to walk the 15 minutes to the bus stop, to wait for the bus, to play stop-and-go down Wilshire. Or, when the bus is late. I mean, I know it happens but it really puts a kink in my schedule. Or, when you just want to listen to the radio and sing at the top of your lungs with the windows rolled down. Obviously, there are some rants here. But like I said, we won't go there.

Bustrations relieved.

So, I get on the bus this evening. It is my third trip of the day. Heading back to Beverly Hills for lululemon's Zumba donation class for Haiti. A beautiful event that I will most definitely shake my tailfeather for. I insert my cash and coin and enter a very full-to-the-brim evening ride. So crowded, I choose to stand near the first exit and hold on for dear life.

I have my green sunglasses on, as the sun is still peeking out before dusk and stare out the double doors. Hoping they stay shut as I somewhat lean against them! An older gentleman departs from his coveted seat and comes to stand next to me. He is smiling. I am momentarily creeped out by how close he is standing next to me, but I smile back anyways. He giggles a little under his white beard and rain tracker hat (see photo) atop his classy suit and Club Monaco bag. An interesting combination for an interesting man.

I stare forward. Like I said, I am adding to my "Bustrations" blog and writing my complaints silently in my head and am not looking for a life altering bus ride at this time. Oh damn, he caught my eyes again. How does he do that? I have sunglasses on. He smiles and says, "Hello".

Hook. Line. Sinker.

Out of my head of bus complaints and into my heart of love and chance bus interactions.....

"Hi there". I smile. He is somehow exuding this amazing energy. The bus starts to shake and bump. There is this part of Wilshire Boulevard that is absolutely a mess and you feel like an earthquake is taking place - but it is really just the road rocking the shocks of the bus (or lack there of).

He laughs. It is the most amazing laugh. Deep and drawn out, as if it takes his whole being. Seriously, like Santa Clause. It was almost eerie with the white beard, red cheeks, red tie and happiness glow. He leans in and reveals, "this is my favorite part of the ride. I feel like I am surfing!".

I laugh, too. I immediately envision those holiday cards at Christmas time with fat Santa on a surfboard yelling "Hang Ten this Christmas!". I, on the other hand, respond, "Oh I just hate this part. I feel like the bus is going to fall apart and it is so loud!".

One can tell he is very intelligent. He speaks with intention and has an incredible ability to hold eye contact. Blue eyes. He is rather lean and has really nice posture. He assures me that the bus will not be falling apart on us and to just roll with it.

So, I do.

Anyways, we get to conversing. I will note, he was a close talker. If anyone has seen the Seinfeld episode, he did get so close to my face while talking to me. And along his favorite bumpy part, I had to catch him. Not once, but twice. Like, literally had to grab his hand and catch him from falling backwards. I was like, dude - hold on to the handle! Thinking he must not be too radical on a surfboard.

We continue talking about the bus. Life. Jobs. Weather. Surfing. People. Happiness.

Did you know: The Rapid buses have a satellite signal that when they arrive at a traffic light - it can turn 15 seconds faster for the Rapid Buses? No? I did not know that either!


As he told me this, I was getting suspicious. Bus knowledge. Three piece suit. What the heck is he doing on the bus. His name was J.W., I believe. He had earlier pulled out a gold pen from his breast pocket with his name engraved on it. So, now I am thrown for a loop.

We share job information. You guys, I am not kidding when I tell you I think this was the owner of on the bus with me. The web owner or creator or something. I am not kidding. He lives in Beverly Hills. Collaborated on the city's bus system. Does not own a cell phone or a land line! Just rides the bus because he does not like to drive and takes all his meetings through his attorney or at a coffee shop with friends. WHAT? What!

Okay, I know I am all over the place with this story. But maybe, just maybe, you are getting an idea of how I felt on the bus. Clean, nicely dressed, Santa Clause-like personality, older gentleman close-talker that might or might not own and is sharing some new business ploy with me.

I mean, I am flabbergasted.

I remove my sunglasses and share with him that he is one of the reasons I do not wear my iPod on the bus. I love people interaction, strange and short possibilities for greatness on a 17 minutes ride. I share my life goals and get real with this J.W.. I tell him about customer service and authentic guest experience and how the retail floor can transcend into one's personal life. I share my ideas about people in LA and how we are so scared to reach out and just hug one another. I tell him some of my brilliant bus ideas. I think he gets a kick out of all this - he laughed that deep laugh quite a bit.

I truly wish I could have recorded a) how slow he spoke to me. b) his laugh. c) his amazing outlook on life - without a cell phone! If we are living in the past here, I would also have loved a picture of his outfit and his smile with these massive blue eyes that shined with his white hair under the rain hat and big beard!

You know, I ramble because I cannot put into words what it felt like departing. We hugged and I thanked him for sharing with me today. I told him to come see me at my place of work right down the way. He walked his way and I walked mine. Crossing Beverly Drive, I literally laugh out loud. Did that just happen? What an interaction to close my bustrating day!

You never know what you are going to get in life? Who is waiting for you on the bus each day? Who will leave you in awe of life and catch you off guard?

What you get to learn though is this:

One man's bumpy ride on the bus is a surfboard on the waves. While those same bumps on the road are another's fear of bus failure.

One woman's blackberry is her life source of communication, while another man's coffee shop is his life of interaction.

One day of frustrations on the bus can lead to an amazing and all too consuming conversation.


A plethora of beautiful chance meetings.

Just have to get out of your head and into your heart.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beverly Hills Dress Code

So today on the bus...

visual: My green lululemon Cozy Up Jacket above my black leggings and dark brown UGG boots, offset with hot pink legwarmers and my heavy, magenta patent leather gym bag await my bus adventure today.

Sunday mornings at the bus stop are always pretty low key. People are still sleeping or not up and at 'em at 7:00am. I rush into the 711 Convenient Store to grab my extra bold coffee. I rush out right when the bus arrives.

Five quarters inserted and I talk weather with my bus driver. He is a younger gentleman and we share our love that the sun is back in town and the rain has finally passed. I inquire about his bus driving hours to find that his morning shift starts at 5:30am. Thus, he has to be up at 4:00am to make it to work on time. Shoot! I thought I was tired today. I make sure he is alert and head back to my seat.

Like I said, Sunday mornings are slow and I sit in the high perched seats and sprawl my stuff everywhere. The bus continues it trek down Wilshire today and I am making incredible time.

I look around and notice the sleepy eyes on the bus. I make eye contact with an older gentleman in a suit jacket and blue baseball cap. He has white chest hair peeking from all angles of his button down shirt. It is somehow endearing. Weird.

A smooth ride and I am already at my stop. No interactions and here I go! Yelling thanks to the bus driver, I depart to my 90210 place of work. I think, what a quite ride today.

Now, while waiting at my crosswalk, the aforementioned older gentleman comes up beside. He is giving off this amazing cheerful energy and says immediately that he loves my outfit and asks where I am going. I smile and tell him I have to work today. Making that dollar! He responds that he is going to church and proceeds to tell me about his outfit:

"You know, when you come to Beverly Hills, you have to look good [he pulls the collar on his suit jacket]. I had to put on this jacket today just so the cops don't give me the run-around. I once wore a t-shirt and walked by the cops and I thought they were going to come after me. Really, they were giving me the glare. So from now on, I know the code and to dress it up".

I laugh. He is amazing. The old school blue baseball cap with the black suit jacket and button down. And I am not even kidding about this white as snow chest hair visible from all areas of the collar. He has thick glasses and just smiles the whole conversation.

He travels from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills to visit this church every Sunday. I am sure there are Protestant churches in Santa Monica, but he is bored and just needs a spice of life. Or, he just wants to dress up and loves the story of Beverly Hills, what a thrill lifestyle.

He walks my way and he shares about our generation, homeless people and how important it is to stay healthy. He tells me he was a Marine and lived in a time where kids smoked and drank much more than they do now. I bet he was a teacher at some point. In our one sidewalk block of interaction, he is trying to convey about eighteen messages. Very professor mixed with a beautiful grandpa-esque style.

His name was Ed and he was 82 years old. I mean, he looked great and moved pretty quick for his age. He was out of breathe after we departed ways, but he was so very sweet.

We shook hands at the corner and I walked towards work thinking about Ed's view of Beverly Hills. How he felt he had to get fancy to walk the streets and his quick teachings while walking with me. I do not know what I got from it, if not more than just warmth in my heart for this older man. The authentic connection and happiness shared. And goodness me, that gnarly chest hair. But, he definitely started my morning off right with a huge smile and his wise 'teachings'.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

So today on the bus....

visual: Rockin' classy black today, I wait for the bus in black lululemon athletica groove pants, a matching black jacket and a red tank underneath. My purple backpack weighed down calls for my lean on the navy blue beach cruiser.

Its been a long day at work. The weather in LA has been really gnarly. I am talking a downpour at 10:00am and then all out sunshine by 3:00pm. How do you even dress for this weather? I am so used to flip flops and tank tops, no matter the season. And go figure, I gave my HOT PINK rain boots to Goodwill just three months ago.

I wait for the bus to close out the day. Happy the rain has stopped and counting my quarters in my jacket. I think about my busy week last week, my choice of happiness and my intention to really slow it down and seek that quality and balance.

The bus finally arrives! Here I go again with my bike. I put my sustainable coffee cup on the sidewalk. Kickstand down. Rush to pull down the gate.Get my bike from sidewalk. Heave-ho, up it goes on to the front. What a pill! The front handle bars spin around and the basket is going crazy. I look up and wave to the bus driver. He smiles. I get that damn thing situated up there, grab my coffee cup and jump through the double doors. I thank him for his patience and he is chuckling a bit.

He tells me, "I would have helped, but the last time I did that, some lady just yelled at me!".

I smile at his sweet, chubby face and ask him why. He informs me that this woman just went nuts on him because he offered his help and she went all sexist remarks, asking him if he thought she couldn't do it on her own and that she didn't need him. Later she went home and burned all her bras, too. I am so sure.

I inform him that I do appreciate women that can hold their own and stand for that strength. I am one of them. But come on, I take all the help I can get. That bike's heavy. I remind him not to let one hard up feminist shape the reality of another!

He laughs and I sit down for the ride. A more silent crowd later this evening and not as many people as usual. I daydream all the way and finally we arrive at my stop. I rush to the front to get my bike and to tell the bus driver thank you!

He is out of his seat and already up front getting my bike off the rack for me. He sets it down lightly on the sidewalk and tips his hat.

I am in awe. I thank him so much and half hug him! No joke, that bike is really heavy. I mean, I can handle it. But hey, I am down to take a helping hand from my friends.

He jumps back into the drivers seat and rushes away down Wilshire. Now, I know I shared that I have been super busy the past couple weeks and missing all the inspirational greatness that happens in my life daily. And here it is. He got out of the drivers seat to help me. I just think that is amazing.

And who I was when I stepped on the bus was just thinking about my intentions and choosing happiness. And look at that, he helped me do just that. Right then and there.

That sweet, chubby-faced bus driver just made my evening with a bike lift. A randmon act of ultimate kindess.

Take help when help is available. People love helping others. It gives them a sense of purpose, a sense of being. I get so wrapped up in my ego some times. No, I don't need this or that. I am independent and can do it on my own! I don't need a ride in the pouring rain. I don't need a hug when the day has really gotten the best of me. When in honesty, I do. I'll take that ride. I'll take that hug. Yes, lift that heavy bike for me, please! And, thank you so very much.

Those random acts of kindess.

Make my world go around.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eclectic, Crazy and Creepy

So today on the bus....

visual: A Purple Blob bounds towards the bus this morning, and that purple blog is me. Are you ready for this? lululemon athletica purple denim leggings peek beneath a purple plaid rain coat today. Only to be matched by the bright purple jacket, carrying my deeper purple yoga mat and a purple umbrella. Yes. Its true. I top the ensemble with my navy blue fitted LA Dodgers hat and end with bright blue Haviana flip flops.

I can explain the outfit. You see, it has been crazy rainy in LA. And now that I live here, I do not even know how to begin to dress for precipitation in any form. So my running jacket from lululemon is purple plaid, water resistant and wind resistant. No brainer, that is being worn. However, tonight I have an 80's dance workout class in Silverlake, so the purple denim is an absolute must! In getting ready this morning, I did not even ponder the two items being put on together. So here I am, at the bus stop, screaming purple.

I look around and my marketing brain clicks on a billboard image. I am standing with about ten people at the bus stop. A slight drizzle coming down. Each person is wearing a black trench coat of some sort. No joke, every passenger-in-waiting is in black. Then, standing in the middle is this beacon of purple plaid. I am a lululemon advertisement. Right here in real life, for your viewing pleasure.

Anyways, the rain is such a pain. We all keep looking and searching for our bus. The rain really slows LA down. People can't drive, obviously people cannot dress (case in point).... Finally, the puddles start to tidal wave and here comes our bus.

I jump in the ocean of black raincoats and smile at my bus driver. I thank him for driving carefully in all this rainy mess and find a seat next to an older gentleman wearing a mix of a black Cowboy hat and Australian Bush Hat. I lean over to him in all my purple greatness and let him know that his hat reminds me of my home in Texas.

He smiles and we embark on conversation. The normal where you from, what do you do, where you going.... He smiles and is very serene while sitting on the bus. His black leather vest and jeans are some what hipster and he has a slight smell of alcohol that I cannot quite pick out.

He tells me he is a musician works in a bar in Venice and his name is Don. Of course, hipster outfit. Alcohol smell. He had been up partying all night and says he is on his way home! Did I mention it was a Tuesday morning?

I laugh. Don informs me that Jack Daniels was a good friend to him last night and that I should come party some time. He was a beautiful mixture of eclectic, crazy and creepy all at the same time. What a thrill at 7:00am on a Tuesday.

He departed a couple stops after meeting and we bid our good byes. I tell him to rock on and he laughs. I am sure I will run into him again.

Isn't it funny when meeting people. You really have no idea where they just were or even where they are going. Don had gotten on the bus to head home after a long evening of who knows what. I say sex, drugs and alcohol - just because it sounds cool and he is rockstar in his own right. And here I am, sober as a doornail heading to my place of work all decked in purple and really looking forward to this 80's dance session later that evening.

All you can really do, is enjoy the moment. Enjoy the interaction. For all that it might be worth.

A hipster, rocking out, probably-still-drunk-from-the-evening-before party animal meets a responsible, 80's obsessed, purple has to be her favorite color blogger.

And, a beautiful connection.

We laughed. Smiled. And shared. Really, what else would I ever need from the bus?

Life is grand.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flip The Snobby Switch

So today on the bus....

visual: Groggy and absolutely exhausted eyes seek for my bus today in my lululemon lite gray Feel Good sweatpants that really do feel so good and a long sleeve bright blue v-neck. My hair, still curly from the previous evening, is everywhere and my purple backpack feels so heavy. I wait.

It is a really nice morning and there is quite a collection of people already at my bus stop this morning. Always a good sign, as I have not missed the bus! I ponder a bold blend of coffee from the 711 Convenient store. Should I make a dash for it? YES!

I rush in. Fill up my sustainable cup and pay as quickly as possible. They only charged me .99 cents because it was refill in my cup. AMAZING! I run back out. Still no bus. Sheesh, all that rush. So, I lean and wait.

A familiar face appears and stands beside me. My resident 711 homeless man, Anthony is here today. He gives me the normal up and down look, sizing up my outfit today. Ugh, why does he have to do that? I tell him good morning. He looks up. I think he is all too surprised I remember his name. We chat about the past couple weeks and he tells me how nice I look. I'm in sweatpants, he is funny.

He proceeds to interrupt our great conversation and asks me for money. I tell him again that I ride the bus and need these quarters for my transportation. He knows all this. I explained it last time. So then, he asks for my number. Yes, he is trying to get my digits at the bus stop in front of 711.

My snobby mind rushes to, "Is this your life? Is this really happening?".

I have to wonder if he owns a phone. He did not whip one out to enter my contact information. And what is he thinking? I immediately say no.

He markets himself well. Telling me we could hang out. He has some great contacts if I need to network and I could help him find some jobs here and there.

I flip the snobby switch and my inspiring self latches to goal setting and ask him what he wants to do, what type of job and his goals. He brushes me off and informs me he doesn't want a real job, per se. More just clean up stuff here and there. "So, can I have your number?", he asks again.

I roll my eyes and tell him no phone number. I reach down in my pocket and find a lingering dime. I give it to him. I say, "Look Anthony. You are not getting my phone number. However, I can promise that I will bring you a dime every time I see you. A dime, every time. Deal? And I will keep my ears to the ground for job opportunities if you promise to keep looking for a job, a real job?". He takes the dime reluctantly and say okay. He wishes me a beautiful day and heads back to his post by the entrance.

Oh Anthony. What in heaven's name was he thinking asking for my number? Guess he has nothing to lose.

You would think at all the parties I have attended and the bars I frequent with the lululemon ladies, that some of the guys could take a tip from Anthony on how to get a number from any of the single girls in this town.

Anyways, I flipped the snobby switch and will be carrying five quarters and a dime from now on.

The things I do for goal setting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Too Much Chittavritti

So today on the bus....

visual: The cool evening breeze called for an old favorite, the avocado green lululemon jacket, my fitted LA Dodgers hat that I some times feel really cool wearing and grey leggings and royal blue flip flops wait for the bus with my navy blue beach cruising bike.

I am having one those weeks where I have over-committed to absolutely everything I could squeeze on my daily planner. Dance show this night, wine with the ladies at my apartment that night, yoga class that day.... And, I am realizing that they all sound wonderful when I say 'yes' to each and every activity, but then the week creeps up and I am just utterly exhausted from this bus to that carpool, from bike to bus again.

As my brain moves in constant motion, I sit on the bus in silence. My best friend, Erin from Indiana calls the Blackberry, a friend I hold so near and dear to my heart. Erin, not the Blackberry. With my busy schedule, where do I fit in my phone conversation and girl talk needs? Right here, right now, on the bus.

Alas, we are chatting and chatting. And, I realize that because I am so busy, I am not able to be inspiring. At all. Not on the phone with Erin or on the bus with my bus friends. Unable to even distinguish the choice of happiness or live in each moment, I am too busy thinking about the moment to come later this evening, or tomorrow morning and on to that next evening already. Who am I being for anyone? For myself?

In yoga, they call this "chittavritti". Now, I share this with you because I think it is all too fun to try and pronounce it. And, it means in our Western World, 'mind chatter'. Well, let me tell you, I have a whole lot of chittavritti going on. And, it is really effecting my entire being.

I have not met anyone on the bus in the past couple days. Am I being uninspiring? I am so busy going here and getting there, I do not even make time to say 'hi' or smile at any of my passenger friends. I do not make the time to allow someone to inspire me and make my day or the rest of my week.

The infamous t0-do list, combined with this chittavritti and the "I don't have time..." excuse is really rocking my core right now. Where is my balance? Am I living my BEST life possible? I have set the weekly intention for balance and quality. I will leave days open. Not say 'yes' to absolutely everything. And make time to just breathe, clear the mind chatter, and do enjoy the ride.

Clear the chittavritti. Ask yourself: Are you living your BEST life today?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So today at my bus stop....

visual: Black lululemon athletica groove pants with a reflective band lay over my TOMS shoes which truck down Barrington towards my yoga class. My purple plaid jacket that is the perfect weight for this breezey California evening matches my purple backpack and purple yoga mat, topped with my hot pink headband rush happily onward....

While waiting at my bus stop, I decide to switch it up and walk to my yoga class this evening. Google Maps for my Blackberry informed me that the walk is roughly 31 minutes and I have just enough time. I am so fond of the bus that some times I forget about my bike and even my own willing and able legs.

So, I head towards the cross walk. As I am waiting for my WALK sign, a gentleman is walking towards me from the opposite direction. He is a younger fellow with crazy curly hair and an unbottoned flannel. However, he is just yelling at the top of his lungs. I cannot make out what he is saying as his voice is stretching to its final limits. Moments pass and he is within feet of my waiting space and he literally stops in front of a red Mini Cooper waiting at the red light on our corner and screams:


Oh goodness me. Here I am with my purple plaid jacket, hot pink headband, yoga mat strapped to my backpack, Blackberry in hand and a smile, what am I expecting here? Do I look frail? Is he going to yell at me? Is he going to freak out? Should I be scared?

To my surprise, he stands next to me quietly and still. I think to myself, maybe it is just Tourette Syndrome. I try to switch my mentality and exude loving energy, but I feel the fear is still winning.

Then, he begins to look my direction. And he moves his head in a way you would see a puppet slowly turn his head in a horror film. "This is it", I say to myself. "He is going to yell or do something awful"! I just want to get to yoga class. Breathe. Stretch. Breathe. He makes eye contact with me and in a low almost whisper, he states, "This is my city, get out now". And he turns away.

I reassure him that I will and stare at the crosswalk sign, conjuring it to remove that orange hand and change immediately to that white lit up person who appears to be walking.

Thank God this running couple approaches the corner. They are doing that standing jog thing, where people keep running while standing in place. I always feel that looks so awkward. But, he does the same thing to them! The creepy head turn and whispering request to depart from HIS city.

As we finally get the go-ahead to walk, he is bounding across the crosswalk, yelling at the cars waiting at the red light. Flailing his arms and pointing fingers to windshields as he screams:


He turns the opposite direction from my path to the yoga studio and I sigh in relief.

I get to thinking about this experience. Can you actually imagine if Los Angeles was your city and you wanted everyone to "get out"? How boring. And lonely. And sad.

I have come to believe that where you live is really made up of whatevery you want it to be and who you want to spend your time with. I am so amazed daily when I wake up to the sunshine, 70 degrees in January, and the mountains and ocean reminding me of something bigger than myself. However, this is just weather and my deeper meaning of nature. The people in my life really are what make Los Angeles my city, my home.

Hikes, yoga classes, and wine glasses, trendy scenes, coffee fiends, and goal setting....LA is my home because my friends and co-workers all make it amazing.

I am so very grateful for you, you and you that make my LA exactly what it is and should be in my life.

So next time I am crossing the intersection with my friends and friends-to-be in LA, I will scream:


And for you, owner of the city you reside in, who makes your city a home?

Remind them how amazing they are to you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Aussies Did Not Look Like This When I Was There...

So today on the bus....

visual: Electric orange lululemon athletica racerback and black groove pants roll the bike on the front of the bus today. With my high ponytail, green glasses and UGG boots in 70 degree weather, I am the epitome of LA right now waiting for my bus.

I rode my beach cruiser all the way down to Santa Monica today for some yoga on the beach with a best friend of mine, Leigh Golden. She is an amazing yoga instructor and really just a zesty human being. We had a grand time and it made for quite the most lovely morning. So grateful for my ridiculous sunshine in January, a beautiful beach and mountains in the background. How can I ever have a bad day?

As I depart my dear yoga friend, I roll my bike down to my bus stop. As I know the bike ride is uphill back to Beverly Hills, I am all too glad that the Rapid 720 comes all the way down to the beach. I leave early to give time for traffic, delays and random bus adventure.

And happy I am that I left early...

While waiting at my bus stop propped up on my navy blue beach cruiser and gushing on my cellular device, a crew of young Australian boys depart a different bus to wait at my stop. Now, I studied in the land down under for six months, and let me tell you all a little something, Aussies did NOT look like this where I was staying. I tell my Midwest love I will call him back, hang up immediately and eavesdrop.

They were staring at the bus signs that are so damn confusing and conversing with one another in that amazing accent. The friendly local I am, I wave one over and ask where they want to be going.

"Thanks mate. Lookin' for Rodeo Drive"?

I melt. Something about accents, they get me every time. I tell them to just follow my lead, I work in Beverly Hills near Rodeo. I dance a little inside knowing they will be riding with me. I am such a nerd. But really, what a treat! Beautiful men. With accents! Sometimes the Metro really shows up in for me in more than just transportation.

Speaking of, the bus arrives and we all line up. I load my bike on the front trying to look cool yet knowing it is merely impossible with the weight of the bike and all the performance anxiety! I do alright. Sweating in my UGG boots, I thank my bus driver and sit near my Australian mates.

We get to talking about their visit to LA, life and upcoming travels. So get this, these five boys had all quit their jobs. Just up and quit. Flew in last night for a pit stop in Los Angeles for three days, then heading to the Grand Canyon next, Vegas afterwards, and finally landing down to South America for six months!

My mouth dropped. Why are Australians so cool? They really travel, live without fear and just experience life! I take a mental note of my jealousy of their cool factor and life adventure-ness, silently pondering if just maybe I should add that into my life goals.

Anyways, they ask me about Hollywood and the Walk of Stars. I chuckle inside thinking about my first trip to LA and all the tourist stuff my family and I did. Hell, I got my first prom dress on Rodeo Drive and thought I was the cat's meow because of it. How different my LA home is from what any outsider would come to experience now. I know the secrets like hiking Runyon Canyon, the pancakes at Griddle Cafe, the difference between a jog and a jog on the beach boardwalk and the amazing happy hour(s) at Cabo Cantina. Hello, it is a 2 for 1 deal until 8pm.

Nonetheless, I am helpful and break out the Blackberry google maps application and get them public transit directions from Rodeo Drive straight to Hollywood Boulevard. Every day I am still in awe of this incredible technology, I write them directions and they all thank me "heaps".

We approach the 90210 zip code and I pull the stop request chord. We all depart together and I wish them well and send them along to Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Boulevard.

What a fun bus ride with such cute Australian boys. I know that one day they will help some work out clad girl who is traveling and lost in her own life adventures.

Who knows, maybe it will be me!

Traveling the World. One bus ride at a time.