As you've probably noted I've been a longtime public transit rider and fan, especially if your local transit system has a rail component.
One of the things about being a transit rider is you get to meet a lot of different people as you are headed to whatever destination you are traveling to.
Sometimes those rides can be peaceful and uneventful, while others can be fraught with drama and sometimes danger
Yesterday was one of those days in which I had a METRO travel day that encompassed all of the above.
I bounced out of the house at 5 PM to head to Montrose for our monthly Creating Change host committee meeting. The bus route I take passes by the University of Houston, and when it arrived at the stop at Calhoun and UH University Drive the bus filled up with students finishing their day of classes at my alma mater. I was in the middle of a wonderful discussion at that point with another passenger about the light rail system and when it was supposed to be completed which this lovely young white female student joined in on.
That discussion on which way Houston future transit needs should go lasted all the way until we got to the Downtown Transit Center where I got off to transfer to the METRORail line and my short trip to the Red Line's Wheeler Station, the closest one to the Montrose Center where we have our monthly meetings.
On that train ride got into another conversation with a black woman several years older than me who had just gotten off the Megabus from New Orleans and was telling me about her trip a few moments after I sat down.
She also complimented me as we chatted for being in semi diva mode for that upcoming meeting. We both started talking about beignets, fashion, the city of New Orleans and the Saints football fortunes moments after I sat down with her.
The Wheeler Station pulled into view way too soon and I got off to handle my rainbow community business at our September Host Committee meeting. When it was over a little after 8 PM CDT Tye West dropped me off at Wheeler Station as I waited for the northbound train to take me back to the Downtown Transit Center and my bus back to South Park.
The first train that arrived was a two car one that was standing room only and knowing I had a little time before my homeward bound bus arrived at the Downtown Transit Center at 8:48 PM. I passed on taking that full train.
I noted as the full two car train rolled northbound from Wheeler Station a petite African-American sister rocking an Afro and looking good doing so. I was surprised to discover when she got close to me she stopped, gave a quizzical look and then had her face light up in recognition of me and my blogging exploits.
I was also surprised to discover the Afro wearing sister was not only a girl like us, but was Paige Mahogany.
Paige used to run the CATS gender group while I was marking the 2k's in Da Ville as a Texan in Exile. She used to live in South Park where I live now but now lives closer to the McGowen Station in Midtown. We had an animated conversation for a few moments until the next northbound train arrived and while we were in conversation two brothers were checking us both out since Paige in her short set was dressed more apropos for the humid Houston evening than I was in my pantsuit.
I get on the northbound train and end up in a conversation discussing weight loss and midnight snacking with a Latino couple until I get to the Downtown Transit Center station to catch my final bus back to the house.
I grab a seat on one of the benches near the spot where my 77 MLK bus will park and settle in for a humid 15 minute wait for the southbound bus. I notice this young African-American couple sitting a few feet from me with a cute six month old baby and go back to dealing with my own issues of when can I get my computer from the shop and rehashing much of what we discussed in the just concluded Host Committee meeting.
While I was doing that the 11 Almeda bus rolls up and it's delayed for a few moments as they get a wheelchair passenger on. The homeboy I observed a few moments earlier with the girlfriend and baby decides to get up and starts walking in my direction toward the St Joseph Parkway end of the transit center.
He's wearing a pleather hat I was trying to see what the design was on the front of it, and whatever Mini Me's problem was with his girlfriend and daddyhood he decided to hurl a misgendering slur at me which I was in no mood to let slide. I called his Lilliputian ass out while pulling my cellphone out of my purse to dial the METRO po-po's in case this fool wants to start some crap.
For a moment I had a vision of my name being read at this November's TDOR, but that feeling quickly passed when I stood up to reveal that I was a very pissed off 6'2". I was also giving him a 'don't frack with me' death stare and prepping to give him a proper South Park ass whupping if he persisted in escalating hostilities.
The 11 Almeda patrons and the driver noticed the developing drama and out of the corner of my eye I noted he was on his radio talking to dispatch.
Finally homeboy saw the error of his ways and took himself and his saggin' pants toward St. Joseph Parkway. But he had succeeded in spoiling the good mood I was in by bringing that drama into my space.
At that moment I ran into Brian, one of my Falcon classmates who was Class of 1978 (I'm Class of 80). We'd had a long conversation a month ago and he quickly erased the frown on my face and replaced it with a smile as the bus arrived and I discovered he lives just a few blocks down the street from me. We also have some things in common besides being Falcons as we discovered after we boarded it for home and discussed everything JJ and Houston radio related for the rest of the ride to South Park.
So yeah, it actually turned out to be a good METRO transit day after all.