A sign that I shouldn’t start blogging again

Today, being April Fool’s Day, life decided to play a cruel joke on me.  So yesterday when I got home from work, I made chicken, not because I wanted it for dinner, but because I wanted it for my lunch for today. Before I went to bed, I packed my lunch, a large container of rice, chicken, vegetables, and avocado. I was looking forward to it. Needless to say, I did not get to have it for lunch today. Did I forget it at home? No, that would be too easy. Where is my lunch now? Sitting on a bus somewhere. I left it on the damn bus. 

What’s particularly annoying is that I realized I’d forgotten it as soon as I got off, but by then it was too late. I watched the bus drive away, debating whether or not I should run after it. I work at a university, UBC to be specific. There’s a lot of construction, currently, and always, which makes it difficult to get around. At times, it can be like a massive obstacle course just getting from building to building. This being the case, I got off the bus at the stop before the bus loop, to save myself the time and effort of maneuvering around the construction in that area. Upon realizing what I left behind, I made my way to the bus loop, figuring that maybe, just maybe, I could flag down the bus before it left. Unfortunately for me, it took longer than I’d hoped, by the time I crossed the street twice and made my way over. 

Once there, I had no idea which bus was the bus I had been on, or if it was even still there. I saw a #43 bus, but it wasn’t the same #43 bus that I had been on. The loop is massive and buses are randomly parked and pulling up every which way. Some also change their number to NIS when they are parked, since they are not in service at the time. I tried to remember what the driver looked like, and I think I may have found the right bus. Sadly, I found it as it was driving away, out of the bus loop, and out of my life. Forever.

I called Translink but they have no direct contact with the drivers. I must have sounded so sad and pathetic reporting a lost lunch bag. But this wasn’t just any old lunch bag. In fact you would even know it was a lunch bag just by looking at it. It was one of those insulated ones that looks like a purse. When I would carry it around, it simply looked like it was a small purse. Not to mention the fork and the Tupperware container inside it. And the food. My food, damnit! I spent all day thinking about the great meal I could have had but didn’t. It doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. But imagine if I had lost a twenty dollar bill on the bus instead. When you add up the cost of the bag and the food and everything, it’s basically the same thing. I also take care to prepare my lunch every day because I have some dietary restrictions which can make it difficult to find something suitable when eating out. I ended up having to buy a sad looking bagel sandwich, which was very unsatisfying.

 So yeah. First world problem at its finest. But why, you ask, should I take this as a sign that I shouldn’t start blogging again? Well, when I was getting off the bus, I was in the midst of publishing my previous blog post this morning. And that distraction is what caused me to be so neglectful as to forget my damn lunch purse on the ground beside my seat. For some reason, the WordPress app kept on logging me out of my account, as I tried desperately to save and publish my post. I managed to do so, but at what cost?

I suppose it could have also happened in order to give my something random and unnewsworthy to blog about right now. But it’s not as if I’m going to run out of material anytime soon.

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The broken door and the broken phone

As you know from my earlier post today, my phone refused to charge last night. I went to Rogers on my way home today and the guy said to take out the battery and do a reboot and that should fix it. He took it and did so. I’d been reluctant to do it myself all day because I knew it would drain the battery even more and I wanted it to last me throughout the day. But he’d gone and done it and there was nothing I could do. When it had rebooted, the battery was essentially dead, my phone flashing, with insufficient coverage to do anything.

We talked about new phones and whether or not I had credit and that blackberry would come out with something new next year. I’m still confused about whether or not I have any credit at the moment. But apparently I have to wait ten months to receive a full credit. Whatever that means. I feel like that’s what they told me ten months ago. What kind of game is this?

I missed a bus since I had stopped at Rogers. But it was okay, another one came. Except it wasn’t okay. Because when we got to the next stop, the front door somehow broke. It wouldn’t close. We sat there for a while, waiting as the driver fiddled with it. He then announced that we’d have to wait because it was broken. And then finally he told us we would have to get off the bus because he couldn’t go anywhere if his door wouldn’t close.

And so we all made our way off. To add insult to injury, the back door closed in front of me while I was trying to get off. We were forced to wait for the next one. The driver eventually managed to pull the door closed. And then he drove away. Wait, what? I was very confused. The reason we had to get off was because the door wouldn’t close and so he couldn’t drive. But he got it closed. And then he drove. Could we not have gotten back on it since he was now able to drive again? I don’t understand!

The thing that bothered me most about this whole ordeal was not the fact that the door broke and made me wait. It was the fact that I couldn’t use my phone while I waited. So I couldn’t facebook or tweet or text or blog about it to complain. It’s as though Translink and blackberry have both joined forces to conspire against me. Do I even stand a chance?

The worst cough I’ve ever heard

So Translink upset me today. What else is new? I missed three buses due to a stop being rerouted. And then there were like ten transit cops at the sky train station checking fares. Cause you know, that’s completely necessary. Not to mention there’s track maintenance tonight so trains are delayed. And then there’s those annoying people sitting in the aisle seats when the window seat is empty, not leaving room for people to sit. I went and asked a guy if I could sit there and he moved for me. But really, I shouldn’t have to ask.

Now that I’ve said my piece about that, I can get to the real issue at hand. There’s this guy on the Canada Line right now who has the worst cough I’ve ever heard. And I’ve heard some bad ones, let me tell you. I’m actually scared. He sounds like he might cough up a lung. Or worse. I’m not sure what would be worse than coughing up a lung. I don’t really want to think about it. I’m guessing it’s smoker’s cough, but I mean it must be more than that. I’ve never heard a cough before that made me afraid for my own safety.

I can’t describe in words what it sounds like. Even if you could hear me, I wouldn’t be able to properly emulate it. I would say it sounds like a dog barking, but then that would be an insult to dogs and their barking. What I wouldn’t give to hear dogs barking right now instead. It’s just this nasty, loud, throat clearing, hacking sound. Sort of cavemanish. Like grunting almost. Sometimes it’ll stop for a moment but then I’ll hear him again. I’m scared to look over at him. I’m just grateful that he’s not sitting beside me. And I really hope that whatever problem he has clears up soon. And that it’s not contagious, since the Canada Line is a rather confined space.

That one good morning

So I’m constantly complaining about Translink. And rightly so. The other day two of my buses didn’t come and they assured me that the one I asked about was running on time and was right where it was supposed to be. I informed them that it never came to my stop but they just continually said there had been no reports. Then they finally said that it had been running late and had skipped my stop to compensate.

I constantly deal with these types of problems, as well as the crowds of people that surround and annoy me during my commutes. Like the throat clearer this morning who would alternate between the throat clearing and deep breathing for no apparent reason. And the even worse guy standing between us who made noises with his mouth as if he was chewing when really he wasn’t. I don’t know how to describe the sound in words, other than that it was annoying and unnecessary.

But yesterday was a good morning. A key part of it anyway. The part when I was on the 43 bus. Why? Because not only was the bus on time, but it was almost completely empty. There were maybe five other people on it. But they sat away from me. I had pretty much the whole back of the bus to myself. It was so nice and spacious. Not that I made use of the space or anything, I only took up one seat. But it was nice to be able to look up and not have to bear witness to any annoying habits that I otherwise would have.

It was odd. It was like a miracle. I began to wonder why it was so empty. I almost felt like tweeting translink to ask them why my bus was empty and what they did with the people. Were they gone for my benefit? I remember this Twilight Zone episode where for some reason this kid has power over this small town and when people think bad thoughts about him he can wish them away. At one point he complains to his dad that there aren’t any other children there for him to play with and his dad explains to him that it’s because he had wished all the other children away. He was an annoying kid. But yeah, maybe I had somehow subconsciously wished away the annoying people on the bus, before the bus even arrived at my stop. Although why I’d want to compare myself to an evil and disturbed little kid, I don’t know.

But clearly that wasn’t the case. Because I’m on the bus this morning and there are people on it. Unless they’re still gone and now I’m just hallucinating. Maybe I’m not even on a bus right now? Am I dreaming? Whatever the case, it’s not so bad. The bus isn’t completely full and the people on this bus are far less annoying than the ones on the Canada Line. If only I could have wished away some of those people. Particularly the throat clearer and the fake chewer. But alas this is real life and not the Twilight Zone. But still, a girl can dream.

I almost gave a middle aged Asian lady a lap dance

No, not intentionally. I don’t mean that I thought about doing it but couldn’t work up the nerve to. Do you honestly think that would be something I would want to do? It was never my intention. It’s just something that could have potentially occurred due to a combination of my poor sense of balance and Translink conspiring against me.

This morning, I got on the bus, walked down the aisle, and chose a seat. I was about to sit down when the bus jerked forward and I moved to the side slightly before I sat down. But I’m proud to say I did not fall on anyone. But I came dangerously close to falling on the middle aged Asian lady beside me before maneuvering away. Hence the almost lap dance. That would’ve been awkward.

A bad omen

I’m not actually superstitious. I see crows all the time and think nothing of it (except for “Ew, crows I wish they would go away”). But I don’t usually see them perched on top of the sign at my bus stop, as if with some sort of sense of entitlement. What the hell is that about? Most people know all about the beef I have with Translink. Now they’ve got the crows involved? How dare they. Translink and crows, two things I despise, conspiring together. I don’t stand a chance, do I? If seeing a black crow is a bad omen, then seeing a black crow sitting atop the sign at your bus stop must be a really bad omen.

Picking up the couches, Part 1: Why I hate Translink

So on Wednesday, I went with my dad to my grandma’s apartment in Coquitlam to pick up some couches.  She’s moving, and she’s giving us her couches because she doesn’t need them anymore and they’re nicer than the ones we currently have.  But we had to rent a van in order to fit them in.  So we went down to Budget to rent one.  We were going to take the bus down there, since there wasn’t really any parking room for us to leave our van while renting theirs.

And so we went to the bus stop.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Did I ever mention how terrible the 401 bus service is?  I’m sure I have.  And that’s an understatement.  But yes.  The bus was supposed to come at 2:35pm.  But it didn’t.  The next one was scheduled for 2:49pm.  Also it was raining.  And my grandma was expecting us.

When the first one didn’t show up, I tweeted Translink to ask them if it was delayed.  Because one time I updated my status to “That awkward moment when even translink won’t reply your text messages”.  Because normally you’d text 33333 with your stop number and then receive an instant reply of when your bus is coming.  Translink had sent me a tweet in response to my “That awkward moment..” tweet saying “But we always respond to your tweets!”.  Which isn’t actually true.  But nevertheless, I took them on their word and decided to tweet them.  Besides, if I were to text them, it would tell me the scheduled time, but wouldn’t be able to confirm whether or not it was running on schedule.

Eventually, they replied my tweet and informed me that the bus was running about 12 minuted behind schedule.  I replied them and told them that it had been 20 minutes.  And then we saw the bus turn the corner.  And it spent forever at the stop prior to ours.  Never take the bus when it’s around 3pm.  It will be filled with school kids.  And it will be delayed because of the school kids.  It’s worth rescheduling everything just to avoid this.  Trust me.

And so finally, the bus pulled up to our stop.  And the driver opened the back door and let two passengers off.  But he refused to open the front door.  It was only me and my dad at that stop.  But he wouldn’t let us on.  We were standing right next to the front doors.  I could see there was room inside the bus, especially since he had just let off two people.  I tapped on the door to get his attention.  He just looked at us and gave a sort of wave of his hand before driving off, leaving us there.  I think I yelled “We’ve been waiting 30 minutes!” as he drove away, not giving a shit.

It’s not as if there was another bus behind him.  There wasn’t.  And how can you not have room for two more people when you’ve just let two people off?  Also, it was not a matter of trying to save time, because in the time it took for the two people to get off, we could have gotten on.  He had to stop there anyway.  There was absolutely no reason for him to have not opened the doors to us.  It’s his job and it was incredibly frustrating, especially since we had been waiting for so long.

This happened at around 2:50 or so.  We ended up driving and parking and then having to take the Canada Line anyway to get down to Budget.  We just wasted a lot of time waiting for nothing.  I tweeted Translink again, informing them of what just happened, or trying to as best I could within a 140 character limit.  I don’t know if they really got the picture.  But they tweeted me back saying sorry that happened and giving me the customer service link.

I’ve been referred to the customer service link before.  And I’ve filled out the form.  And I’m pretty sure they haven’t done anything about it.  I think they have my name on file right now for complaints about the system, and likely just ignore anything I happen to say anymore.  I have yet to fill out the form.  I should go and do it, maybe after this blog post.  But I don’t even know if there’s any point.  I was able to get the bus number of the bus that he was driving.  It was R7103.  Maybe that way they can figure out which driver it was.  I would hate for the wrong person to get blamed.  If anyone even does get blamed to begin with.

Can anyone think of any possible reasonable explanation as to why the driver wouldn’t have let us on the bus?  You know, other than the fact that he’s an asshole?

Stay tuned for Part 2, if you care at all whether we managed to make it to pick up the couches…

Customer service complaint form that I've yet to fill out