Parking is pricey in Pittsburgh so riding city transit is the cheaper alternative. Not the cheapest, though. The bike is cheaper and absolutely free, foot power. Bus in the rain, the bike when there’s no traffic, and walking for the rest.
Each day I come to know the city streets as I knew the back roads in Armstrong County. The bus drivers have for the most part been helpful in telling me where to get off. A couple of days ago I rode with two other people new to the routes and listened to their stories, a self-described old hippie chef on the North Shore and a disabled Desert Storm vet moving back to Pittsburgh after 13 years in Michigan. The chef was riding to Bloomfield to pay the deposit on a new apartment in a house with other hippie types from California while the vet was returning to housing for the homeless in East Liberty, landing there because there was no bed in the inn of VA temporary housing. He was returning that day from Brookline after looking at an apartment offered by a landlord who suggested an illegitimate rental agreement based on what the VA was willing to pay. We were three novice riders on a bus driven by a white-shirted driver-in-training.
My daughter was waiting for me yesterday when I arrived home soggy from the rain. We talked about the bus routes and then she told me her bus experience of the day. She was disturbed from her music by yelling. A man was standing beside two young women and shouting at one of them, “You need to shut the fuck up.” He moved to the front of the bus and turned pointing and shouting again, “She needs to shut the fuck up.” The bus driver had no idea what the ruckus was about. Cary stood and said to the man, “Sir, you need to sit down and shut up.” He kept yelling, so Cary told the bus driver to put him off the bus. And he was ousted. He pounded on the door from the outside and then on the window of that young woman who had no idea who he was or why her.
I was proud. My daughter is an outspoken young woman willing to stand up for someone she doesn’t know against a man who might have been more than just some angry soul. I want to be like her.