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The Bus

and Fran's plumbing

The nerve center for all carless Boulderites remains the Walnut St. RTD center. Here I might be found, face to the wall, sobbing hysterically that I cannot yet afford a Yugo, even the stripped down version with felt replicas of Tito hanging from the highly polished tin can lid that serves as a reflective surface, similar to a mirror. Nay, that joy is yet distant, and I have to ride the bus with this summer's gaggle of geeky teens.

It is said that today's teenagers are even more physically torpid than their ancestors, despite the limited attractions of fitness fads, even in Boulder. I believe it. Buses in Boulder lumber by about every half hour, and I therefore have ample opportunity to study the movements and possible thought patterns of America's Treasures.

An illustrative example comes to mind. After a twenty minute wait for the 207 bus - which is the 'Arapahoe Pellet' - I ambled aboard, paid the $.50 extortion, and seethed to my seat. Following me came one of those slit-eyed male mesomorphs with the bad skin and ratty clothing considered menacing even in Longmont, where such creatures evidently spawn. After trying to rob RTD of a full $.15 (not, evidently, aware that the driver can see his coins, and that a computer counts them), this merit scholar lurched to his seat across from me. There he sat, hands hanging between his legs, his mouth slightly open.

The 207 turned East on Walnut, then south on 15th for two (2) blocks, then East on Arapahoe. We are now in front of Boulder High School. Ug exits. He is not alone. Fully 90% of the newly double-digitted in years gets off with him. Which, in perspective, means that Boulder teenagers will wait at least 20 minutes to board a vehicle for $.50 to carry them about four blocks, a distance I can cover in a few minutes.

Transportation and teenagers have been a source of both annoyance and snickers for years, especially here in The People's Republic. Who among us, for example, can forget the heart-wrenching tales of high school students faced with the loss of their parking spaces in front of houses belonging to mere home owners? The plight of these Lincolnesque creatures having to drive a full 10 or 15 blocks, circle the school so peers can admire the folks' car, and then drive another 10 or 15 blocks to park, tugged at the heartstrings and gag suppressors of the City Council last year. That they could all arrive by bus at 25% of cost and time, with the addendum they would bother nobody else, was rejected as being insufficiently sensitive to these most status-conscious oafs. Homeowners even yet have to dice with fate to park near their own castles near Boulder High. And not so near Boulder High.

Watching the Nation's Future waddle about is only one of the entertainment pleasures afforded by RTD. The other is listening to RTD employees converse as if nobody else is aboard. While this is often the case, apparently some off-duty RTD people, going somewhere and seated near the driver, consider numbers of riders less than seven to be nobody. They therefore will discuss, cheerfully, drivers not present who have health problems hidden from the company, the plans for a recreation center ("Coors has a great one. Tell Charlie to visit Golden and give his support to.."), and other fascinating topics. Boulder's drivers are most often polite and helpful (in a snowstorm, I had one stop somewhat out of his way for me - a favor unrequested and greatly appreciated) and good talkers, but they should really watch their conversations in public.

Although it would force my attention back to Our Children, who need it, I can look forward to not hearing about "Fran' s plumbing troubles..." and Ed's prostate. However, if I hear one more conversation in which "The Police" are consigned to Early Rock, I may bring up the subject of Ed's health myself.