Archive for the 'Philadelphia' Category

18
Nov
16

Freedom, I won’t let you down

I was passing by the federal prison at 7th and Market after work tonight on my way to the bus, when a guy stopped me to ask if I could call his mom for him. He had no phone on him, and he heeded her to pick him up.

“I was just released from federal prison,” he said — as in, just moments before, he had walked through the front doors of the fortress across the street. Continue reading ‘Freedom, I won’t let you down’

28
Nov
14

Mass transit is an unwise place to nap

Not until the bus took off did I notice the ball rolling toward me. It was about two and a half inches in diameter, pale brown. It looked like a dusty lump of clay, a fuzzy ping pong ball. It went directly for my feet. Then there were two. Then three. I shifted my legs to avoid crushing, kicking or otherwise interacting with them.

When the bus stopped and the trio skipped along forward, I realized they were stale powdered cinnamon Munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts. They rolled too well to be soft and fresh.

(Image stolen from Maryann's Baking Company in Sacramento, California.)

(Image stolen from Maryann’s Baking Company in Sacramento, California.)

Following their trail toward the front of the bus, I saw a puddle spreading forward and backward along the ravines in the floor. It was the same color as the Munchkins. Coffee with cream. Ah, someone had been to Dunkin’ Donuts and spilled something.

I traced the coffee to its source. A woman seated near the front of the bus was reaching down to the floor, concentrating very hard on gathering up the donut holes in the clear plastic cup they came in. What is she going to do with them? I thought. Does she actually want to eat them, or is she just cleaning up after herself?

The coffee cup, on its side on the floor under her seat, rolled helplessly back and forth in a lazy half-circle. Continue reading ‘Mass transit is an unwise place to nap’

18
Jan
14

Just-go stories

BoltBus

After a depressing encounter on a Greyhound from New York to Philadelphia, I resolved to find a more reliable, less-nauseating mode of mass transit between the two cities.

On my first attempt, I found myself sharing the only seat left with an old woman who was digging to China through a large polystyrene clamshell of buffalo wings. Each of about three dozen wings was an adventure in lip-smacking, bone-snapping exuberance. Every morsel of flesh squeaked repugnantly in her mouth. I could avoid most of the sounds with my headphones, but the vile, eye-watering stench streaming from her lap was inescapable.

Then, having no napkins, she spent a good five minutes licking her hands clean. I didn’t have the nerve to see what she wiped them dry with.

I was living in Philadelphia and working in New York, and I knew that I would have to start making some smarter choices about my twice-a-week commute. I settled on Bolt Bus. Continue reading ‘Just-go stories’

18
Jan
14

Not even an earful

inner ear

One condition of getting older is the likelihood that my doctor will send me to a specialist. I guess as I slowly break down and descend into decay, my parts need more and more special attention.

Last September, I spent $50 for a visit to the otorhinolaryngologist. I like that word far better than “ears, nose and throat doctor,” or, if you’re too lazy to live, ENT. You know a word, you should use it, right?

Otorhinolaryngologist takes nearly as long to say as my appointment lasted. Continue reading ‘Not even an earful’

23
Nov
13

Licking my wounds

I was mostly impressed with myself that I was making my way home so well that night. It was late on a Friday. I figured I shouldn’t be biking, but there weren’t many people or cars around, and I was being careful.

It had been raining lightly off and on all day, and the streets were good and soaked, but there wasn’t much standing water. It was easy to avoid the puddles, and I had so far managed to avoid spraying a lot of water up at me with my fat mountain bike tires. I picked up speed by and by.

Just over half way home, and I was moving at a pretty fast clip down 12th Street, avoiding the old, unused trolley tracks. And then, without warning, I was on the ground, tangled up in my bike, skidding across the street on my hands and knees, the rim of my helmet scraping against the pavement, a stinging sensation in my knee. Continue reading ‘Licking my wounds’

17
Apr
13

Nature wins

20130417-205057.jpgI love the way nature just doesn’t give a shit. No dirt? No problem.

I planted snapdragons in our window boxes three summers ago, and every year since, at least one plant pops up in some random crack in the sidewalk. This one is growing out of my neighbor’s house.

16
Mar
13

Lessons learned in line for coffee

Yesterday at work we said goodbye to the Latte Lounge.

Our office was testing it out this week. Friday was its last day with us, and I can already feel that it’s made a change all our lives.

The Latte Lounge is a remarkable little machine. Actually, it’s enormous. It must outweigh our old coffee maker 10 to 1. It stood in an underused part of the first floor like a robotic guard watching over the adjacent vending machines.

Continue reading ‘Lessons learned in line for coffee’




the untallied hours

the tweets