I’m glad I went dancing tonight. I needed to take a break and have some fun. Thank you, Steve Vorce and Linda Vorce, for the fantastic country dance lessons and making it so fun. This is something I’ve always wanted to learn. I’m glad I found you on Google and made that call inquiring about your classes.
If anyone around the Columbia area would like to take country swing dance lessons—so you can look amazing on the dance floor—I highly recommend Swing ‘N Country. Steve and Linda are wonderful. I feel like I’ve known them for years.
Oh, and the best part is that the lessons are affordable, AND they offer social dances where you can try out your new skills and build confidence in what you’ve learned.
It’s located on the outer road along I-70 heading east from the Lake of the Woods exit.
is inside the Discount Mattress & More store.
I love the East Coast Swing, but after tonight I’m thinking the Triple Step will be tons of fun. Did you know you can triple step to AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long?” Yeah, well, Linda did it, much to Steve’s dismay. That was fun!
I’m rarely sick, but as it turns out, I ended up needing an antibiotic this week. I began feeling sluggish on Thursday, and by Sunday I knew I’d probably need to see a doctor. I also needed the break from running all over town because I was beginning to feel like I was scrambling by barely meeting my deadlines. I don’t like living that way, so I spent yesterday and today completing assignments and trying to get ahead of my game. I had fun submitting those responses because the most comfortable track for me is the writing route.
Sometimes I’ll read a threaded discussion (TD) question in a class and have no idea how I’ll respond. I’ll make a mental note of it and walk away to ponder the topic for a while. By the time I come back to the keyboard, I’m ready to start the process of freewriting. As a non-traditional student, I have more years of observations and experience from which to gather my ideas, and freewriting allows me to develop something with substance from the tiniest of clues.
“I really enjoyed reading your post and the mini literature review you did for the TD.”~Biology professor
Sometimes my best work is submitted in TD, and I hit a wall as soon as I sit down to write for other reasons. Perhaps I should develop a basic outline of something I want to write and approach each chapter as if I’m writing for one of my classes. That seems perfectly reasonable and attainable.
Ethan Bernstein published the article yesterday entitled, “Why We Hide Some of Our Best Work” on the Harvard Business Blog. Although it is directly more toward the business world, it stayed with me because it made a lot of sense. After thinking about it, I’ve figured out why a wider audience hinders my writing.
“Chances are, you’ll end up sharing more of what you learn if you aren’t afraid it will be used against you.”
Life is about overcoming fears. It doesn’t matter if my work ends up being published by a reputable company and made into a movie (yes, I have grand plans.) What matters is I’m writing it for myself, and whatever happens after that—whether it is well-recieved or collects dust—is not the point. It’s about not being afraid of what others think about what I wrote and how I wrote it. If my professors compliment my writing skills and enjoy what I write, then that means a heck of a lot to me, and I am very proud of that. I went back to school to prove to myself that I could write. It feels great to have finally arrived.
Below are pictures from my last bus ride. Has it already been a week?
This brand new CoMo Connect rider is from the St. Louis area and has only lived here in Columbia for a short amount of time. He lives a good distance from his place of work, which is Old Navy, and he admits “I was worried about public transit when I moved here. I’m glad to have it.” He explained how walking one way takes about an hour and forty-five minutes, riding a bike takes about forty-five minutes, and driving only takes fifteen minutes. He’s thankful for the buses and new transfer methods because all he has to do is enjoy the scenery outside his bus window (or talk to nosy people like myself,) and the bus will deliver him very close to his home fifty minutes later.
This is James Cave. I only had time to snap his picture and ask his name because we had arrived at his destination. He said, “Ma’am, this is where I need to get off.”
I have observed how most people riding the buses aren’t all that interested in talking to anyone. I should have asked this man what he was reading. Most people like to talk about a book they are enjoying, so that was an opportunity missed.
Dorothy Vetter says she has used public transit for many years, so she’s already acclimated to running errands like grocery shopping and paying bills while utilizing the buses. We both agreed that good time management is necessary in order for the buses to be beneficial. After I took her picture, a bus was pulling up to the bus stop. She said, “That’s the Pink Route bus. You want the Gold Route.” It’s a good thing she was there with me that day; otherwise, I would have ended up on the wrong bus.
Mark Gaither says he uses the Double Map all the time and asked if I did, too. I told him I’d be lost without it. Mr. Gaither is the Fazoli’s Manager. He’s an experienced transit user and says that the main thing CoMo Connect needs to install “are shelter, at least in the main traffic areas.” He went on to add how he wished the waiting times wasn’t so long while standing at bus stops. It makes it even worse when one of the buses is running behind schedule. He says he understands how the new routing system has issues that needs to be worked out because “you have to be flexible when you put it into play. It looks good on paper, but when you actually do it it doesn’t work out that way.”
Below is Courtney Rucker. She is from Los Angeles, so she’s used to an already established public transit system. She is an MU sophmore majoring in Psychology. Ah, she has an analytical mind. She’s my mind of people.
I hope to feel well enough to get back on the buses tomorrow.
I hadn’t planned to go out today because I have assignments that are due by midnight; however, I used the last coffee filter this morning, so that took precedence over all else. Coffee filters: things that seem to always be in the cubboard until the horror of the last one strikes again. I don’t even want to be around me if there are no coffee filters in the morning. I’ve been there before, and it’s a nightmare I’d like to avoid whenever possible. I shake my head in disbelief about how I raised four children without that amazing stimulant. I think I’ve apologized to them many times over for being a zombie mother all those years, but they have yet to grant me forgiveness. I figure they must need more time to come to terms with it.
Since the Light Green Route merges with the Purple Route through mid-day, I decided to go ahead and stop by the library to pick up an audiobook I put on hold. As luck would have it, it was pulled and went to the person ahead of me on the hold list. Just because the computer shows “1 copy available,” clicking “Hold” does not guarantee it’s mine. Hard lessons, but that’s okay. I must have needed to go to the library to buy these treasures to add to my collection. Darn library sales get me every single time. I already own “Sounder,” but all my books are still in random order after the move, which means I couldn’t find it last week when trying to located it for my son. It was totally worth the fifty cents today because now I don’t have to continue sorting through the bookshelves looking for the other copy. It was really starting to bug me.
I had plenty of time to kill before the next bus arrived, so I made an appointment to see if I’m a good candidate for lasik surgery. I have this fear of things pointing at my eye, which includes laser beams, so we’ll see if the final quote for this procedure will deter me another five years.
As soon as I left the building, I received a text asking if I could instruct Zumba tonight. I accepted knowing I’d have plenty of time to make it back home.
There was a really nice man waiting with me at the bus stop. He didn’t want his picture taken, but we talked a lot about eyes: when we started wearing glasses, being called four-eyes as a kid, and the shock of needing bi-focals (I’m still happily in denial about it myself.)
Gold Route 2A was pretty full when I boarded. I thought I’d struck out snagging photos of transit riders for the day, but thankfully, I met DeAndre Williams. During my very brief ride, I learned how he’s an MU student majoring in Civil Engineering. That sounds like fun to me.
I knew I’d need to grab my coffee filters and run because the Light Green Route home was scheduled to arrive about twenty-five minutes after I landed at the store. I got off on the west side, zipped around looking for coffee filters and ended up asking for help in locating them (it would help if I shopped more often so I’d know where everything is,) found an empty check-out lane (imagine that,) and zipped along to the bus stop on the east side of the store.
I made it—a little too early, in fact. And I was bored. The lens I’ve been using for the last few days has a shallow depth of field, so I had fun goofing off with it.
Shawn Thompson was riding Light Green Route with me this afternoon. He was wearing cool sunglasses but took them off for the picture.
And this was our driver, Rick Pauli.
By the way, I finally remembered to buy hairspray, but I was rushing so fast I ended up forgetting to also buy sparkling cider to make keto donuts tonight. That’s okay. I don’t have time to make those anyway. Coffee and hairspray are my only true must-haves. The other stuff is just fluff.
Now I’m off to do Zumba and rush back home to complete my assignments.
I had great plans for my afternoon. Since I haven’t been to Shelter Gardens yet this year, I decided to treat myself to some quality outdoor study time among the late summer blossoms. So I gathered all my supplies and headed to my nearest bus stop.
It didn’t go as planned…….
I remember thinking to myself, while riding the Light Green Route and enjoying the scene outside my window, how peaceful and stress-free it can be to let someone else drive and manage traffic. I sipped my cappuccino leisurely—being mindful of only taking small sips because I was reserving it for my little picnic. The bus stopped for about five minutes on Forum before continuing toward Broadway. At first I was a little worried about wasting time, but I didn’t want worry to ruin my day. While we waited, I studied the bus routes trying to pinpoint the time I’d need to pack up my things at the garden and head back home.
I got distracted by studying the bus schedule and missed my stop. I didn’t panic, though, because I knew there was another stop not far away. When I exited that bus, it was then that I realized I’d have to cross traffic on Stadium and Broadway. I don’t like crossing big streets like that, so I thought I’d wait at the bus stop across the street and let Gold Route 2B pick me up and deliver me safely on the other side. Upon studying the schedule, I realized I missed that bus by five minutes. I crossed the street, got comfortable sitting on my wadded up picnic blanket, and opened my textbook to study while waiting for the next bus to come along. For some reason I thought it would be by in twenty minutes.
I finally decided to open my CoMo Connect pamphlet and check the schedule again.
Great. Just great. Somehow I got the Gold Route 2A and 2B times mixed up. How long did I sit there? Nearly an hour.
But, hey, I studied an entire chapter in preparation for my quiz tomorrow, so all was not lost; although, I would have rather studied in the garden instead of breathing exhaust from passing vehicles. I’m sure I’ll survive—for a little while anyway.
Gold Route 2B arrived right on time. That was my duh moment of the day. No big deal, right? Well, it was becoming a big deal because during that time I finished my cappuccino and was in need of finding a restroom. But first, I needed to get off the bus at Shelter Insurance.
I pulled the cord a bit too soon because I was unsure of the bus stop locations along that section. Whoops!
I said to my driver, “Oh, I need to go a bit further. I need to stop at that one up there. I’m sorry.”
I thought she understood what I said, so you could imagine my surprise when she drove right on by the bus stop where I just said I wanted to exit. Why did that happen? Because I didn’t pull the yellow cord, which signals the driver to stop. I reached up real quick and pulled it. I wasn’t too far off track, thankfully.
I finally made it. Yay.
I wasn’t in the mood to meander around the garden anymore. I needed to find a restroom. I wondered if there were restrooms in the garden, so I crossed the parking lot and walked around the lush foliage hasilty snapping shots here and there. None of them turned out because the sunshine was too harsh, but after playing with my editing program, I landed on this and smiled. That’ll do.
There wasn’t a public restroom in the garden that I could see, so I got this bright idea to walk to the other side of it and go to Michael’s craft strore. I needed to check out the yarn and scrapbooking paper anyway.
I wanted to walk inside the Shelter Insurance side entrance, but I wasn’t sure if the public was allowed to do that.
My bladder was telling me to go right in and dart to the first bathroom I saw, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I was only uncomfortable and not at the point of emergency, so I continued on.
Lunch and More Waiting
I pulled my bus schedule out again and decided to head home by hopping on Route 2A and transferring to the Light Green Route.
And then I realized Gold Route 2A wouldn’t come by this bus stop in time for me to transfer to Light Green Route. I was running out of time and needed to hurry home. There’s one thing I’m starting to learn about the transit system—there’s no hurrying.
I decided I needed to skip this bus, walk down the road, and cross Stadium/Broadway after all to catch the Light Green Route in order to finally, FINALLY, be on the road to home.
I spy……….places that have public restrooms!
But I didn’t dare leave that spot because I’ve heard through talk among transit riders that buses are sometimes early. If I missed this bus, I knew I’d have to start walking home, which is about 3.5 miles away, lugging two bags with a blanket, my camera, and books. Yep, I’d definitely miss dance class. So, I parked it on the sidewalk and waited ever so patiently.
And wouldn’t you know it, the bus was right on time. I could have scouted out a restroom, but by then the need to pee subsided to a dull ache instead.
This was my driver for the Light Green Route. She was so sweet when I asked her if I could take her picture for my blog. I had to pee so bad I was rushing and forgot to ask for her name. I’m sure I’ll be seeing her again, so I’ll catch it next time.
It was a Monday. Definitely. I had a hard time getting going, and when I finally did start putting myself together, I discovered I was out of hairspray. That meant I was forced to use whatever was underneath my bathroom sink.
I walked around smelling like orange scented furniture polish all afternoon. Thankfully, nobody mentioned it.
I met Sabra Williams and Charles Jacobs today. I needed to make a quick run to the library to return an overdue book (is anyone surprised by that?) While waiting for the bus, we all agreed it’s cool enough today that it feels like October instead of September.
My ride was relatively short, but I was able to chat for a bit with Sierra McKie. She’s in her second year at MU and hasn’t picked her major yet. After I got off the bus, I realized I should have told her to just enjoy all she’s learning. What she’s meant to do will eventually reveal itself.
Go Sierra McKie!
I knew I shouldn’t have gone upstairs to browse my favorite sections, but I did it anyway and forgot I should watch the time. I snapped back to reality ten minutes before the last bus of the night was due to arrive at my bus stop. I don’t think I’ve ever checked out and flew out the doors so fast. I should probably have a plan for if/when I actually do miss the bus in the days ahead because the walk home is over five miles. And yes, I walk over five miles on a regular basis, but I wearing tennis shoes for that, not flats.
The bus ride home was rather disappointing. I think the fact that it was a cold, dreary Monday is why people seemed a bit cranky.
“I don’t let strangers take my picture.”
That’s okay. I wasn’t in the mood to chat much either because my stomach was growling, and all I wanted to do was go home, too. It was when I walked in the kitchen that I realized I forgot to buy hairspray while I was out. It seems I’ll be smelling like orange scented furniture polish again tomorrow.
The weather was so beautiful today that I felt the need to take a time out and enjoy it. And that’s exactly what I did! I needed go to the library because a book I put on hold was ready for pick up. I was able to kick back and enjoy the sunshine, crisp air, and clear blue sky while waiting for my bus to arrive. Perfection! There isn’t a bench at this bus stop, so I had the perfect excuse for lounging by the side of the road.
Patricia Tyler told me that the new bus routing system is working wonderfully for her. She said, “I don’t have anything bad to say about it if that’s what you’re looking for.” I assured I wasn’t looking for anything in particular.
Our driver, Brenda, asked, “Do you like taking pictures? My daughter likes to take pictures with her phone.” She then asked me about my camera, as most people do, since I have it strapped around my neck. I tend to shy away from talking about it too much because we have a love/hate relationship. Although we’ve been together for nearly six years, we still need to work on our communication. If I’m too close to the subject and the back light is bright, like in this picture, it will shoot a silhouette. It drives me crazy because I haven’t figured out how to fix that problem other than buy a different lens with a lower f-stop. But I do what I always do; I hang on to what I’ve got hoping if we stick together, one day we’ll get it right. At some point I’m going to wise up and move on, but that takes more money than I have right now.
Years ago my kids named the sculpture in front of the Boone Boone Regional Library “French Fries and Ketchup.” I’m not sure what the name of it really is, but it’s definitely something I need to find out one day. I forgot they always have book sales on Saturdays, and guess what?
Anyone who knows me knows I can’t leave without buying a book or two…….or three……and so on.
I already own Carry on Mr. Bowditch and Hatchet because they’re favorites of mine, but I’m notorious for buying books I love at sales like these because I’m often asked for book recommendations, so it’s nice to have a copy handy to pass along. After I bought these and chatted for a bit with the Friends of the Library volunteer, I picked up nom nom paleo at the front desk. It was my reason for riding the bus today. This young lady scanned my library card and informed me of an overdue book. I panicked and asked, “Can I still check it out? I rode the bus here, so I can’t go home real quick to get it.” She smiled and let me have the book. She then told me she used to ride the buses a lot. She said, “It really helped.”
I sure hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy the end of summer flowers today. My next bus was running about fifteen minutes behind schedule due to all the MU fan traffic downtown, so I was able to kick my boots off my aching feet, browse my new books, and enjoy the sunshine again.
But all that waiting can be tiring at the same time. Thankfully, this bus stop has a bench. It’s rather old, but it works.
As soon as I boarded the bus, I noticed a bright, inviting smile, so I sat close to it. I’m glad I did. I’d like you to meet Allison D’Agostino. I was so happy she let me take her picture and was eager to talk to me. I enjoyed our conversation so much that I decided to skip my stop and stay on the bus. I learned she is a Special Olympic athlete and loves to watch movies. I had to admit I don’t watch very much television, but she recommended Firefly and Castle for when I do. She said she really likes the new transit system and is very happy she doesn’t have to use Para-Transit anymore. I asked her what she does, and she said she’s a janitor at Wendy’s. As soon as I got home, I searched for her Special Olympics interview on YouTube. It confirmed what I already knew. Allison is a gem! She’s not just a janitor. She is so much more! From her video interview, I learned her official title at Wendy’s is Dining Room Attendant, and everyone she works with speaks highly of her. She’s also a Special Olympic Gold Medalist many times over, a DJ, and a writer. While talking with her I learned she volunteers to work for the True/False Film Fest, and she highly recommends I volunteer, too. Her positive outlook about living independently is an inspiration.
The Special Olympic Athlete Oath is: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be BRAVE in the attempt.”
Allison D’Agostino, you are living life to the fullest. It was an honor to meet you today. Thank you, thank you for your smile.
After Allison got off the bus, it wasn’t much longer before Jide Akinmoladun boarded and became my next victim. I approached him after I overheard him say “Alright, that’s cool” to the driver after they learned about free rides for youth ages 18 and under. I learned that Jide has lived and traveled enough to have experienced the transit system in bigger cities around the country. He really likes COMO Connect but said “they seem to run behind a lot.” As we slowly made our way through the black and gold fans downtown, I commented that I’ll need to buy clothes to conform to the MU way. Jide said “tailgating is a lot of fun.” While talking with him I learned he majored in Political Science at MU. I asked if he enjoyed it. His eyes brightened up, and he said, “Yeah, but now if I could just get a job.”
I understood that frustration. I’ve turned my application in at the library and have yet to get an interview. Don’t give up, Jide. Not everyone can carry a conversation and is easy to talk to, but you are. And I appreciated how you noticed my “generic accent.” I wish you the best. Oh, and I’m sorry for my lack of high-five skills. I’ve never been good at it.
Below is Arnold Larson
My ride for the day ended with a peck on my shoulder from Ray Collins. He asked, “Don’t I get my picture taken?”
“Well, of course!”
I didn’t ride the transit yesterday. I live by the motto that education comes first, and after I listed all the assignments, tests, and research papers I need to complete this week, I knew making it to the bus stop to run errands would put a strain on my time. And that’s when I felt like a blogger failure. I set a goal to ride the transit each day, but at that time I didn’t realize how a big chunk of my day would be needed just to run one simple errand. Relying on the transit system means simple is not so simple anymore.
I’ve only been blogging about the transit system for a little over a week, but this experience has revealed something about myself I’ve always known but never really had the desire to confront and change:
My time management skills really stink.
I needed to complete my class assignments that were due because I also wanted to attend dance lessons at 6:30, which is something I can’t miss now that I’ve started it because the dances are spirally taught. That means each week a specific skill is added, which builds upon previously taught skills and working toward mastery of the dance style. That means it’s not a good idea to miss a lesson because a chunk of basic skills and repetitive practice is lost.
How do you like my excuse? I chose to go dancing instead. If you know me, you’ll know I don’t pass up an opportunity to dance. But there’s another reason for why I didn’t ride the transit system yesterday.
Brace yourself; a revelation is coming.
It seemed like an easy thing to do when I first thought up the idea of writing about my experiences of incorporating the transit system into my daily life. It was a fun idea while it lasted. Then, reality bit me and jarred me awake.
I began feeling the pressure of finding my purpose of this blog while standing at the bus stop the other day watching cars and trucks pass in front of me. I noticed how the people driving by will either: 1) behave as if I were invisible, 2) lock eyes on me until their necks could no longer turn, or 3) stare until I noticed them staring at me, at which point they’d quickly look away as if they were saying “I wasn’t staring.” I found the latter to be quite comical and slightly annoying.
And that brings me to my point. This blog isn’t about me. It’s about the people who use the transit system because that is precisely what enables them to function with greater success in an urban setting. How many times do we drive by and not give a single thought about the people standing at bus stops and why they ride the them? Do we even want to know about their circumstances? How many times do we notice them standing in the rain with their umbrellas or being beaten by the heat of the sun because there is no shelter for refuge from the weather. How many times do we think nothing of them? Am I the only person who wonders who these people are—people who live among us as members of our common community? Well, I wonder those things, and I have a pretty good idea about why, which will probably come out in a future blog post; however, this isn’t all about me and what I hope to gain from it. In fact, I have no idea if I’ll gain anything from this other than being a place to record my observations, successes, and failures.
I failed to use the transit system yesterday because I haven’t been managing my time, but I’m also failing by letting my introverted tendencies control me. It causes me to want to blend in instead of stand out. It tells me to refrain from reaching out and asking transit riders questions because of fear—a fear of offending them. It tells me this whole thing is stupid and nobody else is going to find it interesting. But most of all, it throws all the confidence I had at the beginning of this right out the bus window.
So, who are the people who use the transit system?
That’s what I want to do. I want to attach stories, and if possible, names to the anonymous faces we see but don’t acknowledge as we drive around Columbia, Missouri living our lives alongside them. They are single parents, artists, students, professors, office specialists, waitresses/waiters, elderly, the homeless, those living with special needs, and even the middle class who may have found themselves in economic hard times. Then again, the reason a person uses the transit system may have nothing at all to do with financial reasons. It could be because they have never obtained their driver’s license, or perhaps this is their way of reducing their carbon footprint. Who knows?
And that’s the point of this whole thing. I want to know.
At first I thought I’d write something every single day, but any writer knows that good writing takes time. I’m also a non-traditional student of the type who will, more often than not, submit work that goes above and beyond was is expected because I see value in the entire process. I see the potential for full essays in the simplest of questions. That’s what writers do. They ponder a topic and allow the words to flow in describing why. Okay, okay, for people who find writing difficult, it’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s how it feels to me. For instance, a question about covalent bonds started off with a thunderstorm in my present life, then wondering if lightning can create glass like in the movie Sweet Home Alabama, and and ending with explaining why dishwashing detergent is bad news for beloved character glasses. In difficult to understand and describe topics, my mind will seek to find relevance, meaning, and some type of entertainment for the purpose of greater understanding.
I’ve already failed if I require myself to write something every single day. The truth of the matter is that my life is very busy; however, I don’t want to fail at this because I see potential here. So, before falling asleep last night, I released myself from that personal obligation and will seek instead to find relevance and enjoyment in the ride around town. I’m not the type of person who is comfortable operating in rigidity. It makes me an unhappy person. I need to just let it flow (yes, I just wrote that and giggled a little.) This will be what it’s meant to be. Some days will be more interesting than others, so I can’t make promises about guaranteed entertainment in every post. But I tend to find people interesting. Those who feel the same will appreciate the purpose of this blog and see it for what it is: a blog about the people who rely on public transit to assist them in city living.
Tonight there is a Neighborhood Congress meeting I will be attending. Below is information I copied and pasted from their facebook page:
Please come to the Neighborhood Congress on September 10!
Location: Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services (1005 W. Worley St.)
Event Time: 6-8 p.m. September 10, 2014 (Council Office Hours and City Department Information Booths 5-6 p.m.) Event agenda is below.
Event Sponsors: City of Columbia Community Development Department and the Office of Neighborhood Services
The focus of this fall’s event will be a discussion of the Neighborhood Planning Process that Community Development is rolling out. This process invites people to come together for the purpose of developing a shared vision for their neighborhood. The focus of the neighborhood plans will be on land use within neighborhoods as suggested by the Columbia Imagined Comprehensive Plan. In addition, participants will hear about the Office of Neighborhood Services’ partnership with the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Action Team and our work toward promoting social connections within neighborhoods and neighborhood safety. The COMO Connect Information Bus will also be on hand to help educate participants on Columbia’s completely revamped transit system.
Prior to the Congress, from 5-6 p.m., City departments will be available to provide information on city services, and several Council members will be on hand to conduct constituent “office hours”. For more information, or if you are in need of special accommodations, please send us an email or call 573.874.7248. We look forward to seeing you on September 10!
This looks like an information packed event. I’m looking forward to learning more about the transit system. Ironically, I’ll have to drive myself there because the last bus of the evening at the location where this meeting is being held is 7:45 p.m. The meeting lasts until 8:00 p.m.