Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vancouver Quirks #1

friendly bus riders.

people are really friendly here. i mean, i know comparing the level of friendliness to the Toronto's TTC is like listening to Nickelback and deciding that your neighbour's teenage son's drum practice is not so bad. but people give up their seats to elderly people, regularly say thank you to their bus drivers, apologize if they bump into you, and (this i don't understand) still insist on standing even when there are several seats available. bus drivers will wait for you if they see you running for the stop, instead of waiting and then closing the door in your face. if i am lucky in my morning commute, i will get the number 7 bus with bus driver John, who runs a morning trivia game for the bus ride to work, giving out candy bar prizes if you can guess the country where the first coffee plant was discovered (Ethiopia - i guessed Mexico because i was getting confused with chocolate).

this trivia game would never, ever, ever happen in Toronto. first of all, most of the passengers would not speak English, and the ones that do would be too impatient to get to their Bay Street jobs to be able to look up from their BlackBerries long enough to answer a non-billable question. also, toronto traffic is too scary for bus drivers to take their full concentrations off for one second. finally, some thug or another would probably mug the drivers for all the chocolate bar prizes before any trivia question is properly answered.

even, for the most part, the drunk old men and the ones with mental health issues are pretty damn friendly, if not in-your-face weird. you sling a guitar bag over your shoulder, and one drunk old man will stumble his way to your side of the bus and start reminiscing about the old days when he used to sing opera with his father in the old country. you, meanwhile, try to find a way to fan away his gin breath without offending him.

it's probably just as well that everyone is so friendly on the buses. it rains a lot here, and the insides of the bus gets to be pretty crowded, dank, and smelly. also, buses seem to show up whenever they want in this city. the time and the routes are so weird here that it *almost* makes me miss TTC street cars. but i also like chocolate bars.


on a related note -

the skytrain was stalled yesterday, which is NOT a regular occurrence like the weekly subway suicides in Toronto. rumour has it that someone jumped on the tracks (the announcement went "there will be temporary delays until the problem is cleaned, um, cleared up"). given the fact that the skytrain usually rides two storeys above street level, a skytrain jumper is pretty damn impressive. like the ONE suicide that has happened on the Bloor Street Viaduct since the Luminous Veil was erected, skytrain accidents take a lot of effort.