Commuting adventures between Tacoma and Seattle.

Month: January, 2013

Wide Loads and Conspiracy Theories

Loogie Hocking Zombie and Momma Lovell are discussing the prospect that Louis Lebeau is an FBI agent.  They’re pretty certain about it, and they are unimpressed with him sleeping on the train when he should be vigilantly protecting himself and the rest of us from a Terrorist Act.

I’ve learned two things about the FBI this morning as a result of LHZ and ML discussing Agent Lebeau.  First, FBI agents are supposed to take a different route to work every day.  “Agent” Lebeau is making a terrible mistake by riding in the same train, and snoozing in the same seat every morning.  This is an important safety behavior so the Russian spies don’t ambush him some day on his way into the office.  An interesting thought since he apparently didn’t notice The Evil Nazi standing right in front of him last week.  Sounds like vanpools are verboten at Quantico.

Second, LHZ and ML are equally concerned about their own safety against Russian spies, or Terrorists, because they take a different route to work every day.  (I’m still scratching my head on this one, since these two are on the same train as Agent Lebeau, and the rest, of us each morning.)  This might explain LHZ’s aimless pacing on the train platform: it’s definitely harder to hit a moving target.  Stay away from the cans, Mr. Zombie!  The terrorists hate cans!



Not every pair of sweatpants should have “Love Pink” printed on the butt.

So, Lebeau gets on the train and Momma Lovell’s commuting partner is sitting in his spot.  He turns to take his usual seat, and he finds his spot is occluded by about 33% of someone else’s butt-cheek.  He pauses for a moment, and you can see the cognitive discord flash through his brain:

Alright, here’s the train, and I’m all ready to get on and sit down here in my favori….What?? What’s this?  My seat is so much smaller than I remember it from yesterday.  [looking around] Am I in the right place?  What’s going on here?  Weird.  Well, I’ll just sit here anyw…Huh?  What?? Who is that?  Hey!  Someone is in my seat!  What am I going to do!?!?  Where do I go?  How will I survive?  Who is this person?  I know, I’ve seen her before, sitting right… OVER… THERE!  The nerve of some people!  Well, two can play at this game.  I’m going to just take her seat and see how she likes it.  That’ll show her who’s boss.

I’m very interested to see how tomorrow plays out with Lebeau and Momma Lovell’s travel partner.  Will she go back to her usual spot?  Will Lebeau need to adapt to a new routine (which he should be doing anyway, according to FBI regulations)?  So many questions.

Note: Once Momma Lovell’s travel partner left the train in Tukwila, Agent Lebeau IMMEDIATELY took his usual seat.  No hesitation.  A true leader.


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Señor Botas?

The guy with the fancy new hazmat booties is back, but without the booties; makes me a little sad.  He’s clearly Hispanic.  Today he is standing right in front of me, facing me, talking loudly on the phone with someone who can’t hear very well.  He’s literally–literally–shouting into his phone trying to spell something for the person on the other end.  It’s like he’s yelling at me.


This photo must have made Robert Downey, Sr. so proud.

“Eme!  Eme!  No!!  Eme!  Say!  No!  Eme!!!  Say!  Day!  Day!!!  Hey.  No!  Jesus Christ!  EME!!!  Ok.  Say, day, airrrrrrrrrrray.  Punto.  SAY!!”

I think he’s trying to give someone an e-mail address.  That “someone” is on a T-Mobile phone, in Ecuador, standing in the middle of a busy market, a mariachi band is playing, a 727 is flying overhead, a car bomb has just exploded, and that person is holding their phone upside-down.  There’s a time and place for everything.  Here and now is literally–literally–screaming for the phonetic alphabet (or a txt message).

Señor Botas is the spitting image of an unshaven, nicely tanned, Mexican Robert Downey Jr. wearing a bike helmet and backpack.  Dude is LOUD, but smells OK.

Newest Trend in Biking Footwear


Mukluks for the 21st century.

Sure, some will wear running shoes.  Others will wear those fancy bike shoes that snap into the crank in some all-too-clever way.  No other cyclist so far has shown up on the 1502 with anything close to what I just saw this morning: blue hazmat foot covers like you’d see at an Superfund cleanup site.  The rest of the guy’s clothes were reasonable–even non-douche-like–but where his saggy and loose pants met his feet was a soggy flump of blue fabric.

Climbing onboard, it appeared as though his legs terminated in two soggy diapers: saturated in that blue liquid they use on the TV to show which diapers are more absorbent than the “leading brand”.  Shuffling through the train (after properly stowing his bike) he left footprints to rival a water-logged Sasquatch.  Pretty remarkable stuff, even for this commute.  Basically, he was a normally dressed guy, perhaps a little taller than he is now, but when he went outside into the rain this morning he forgot that his grandmother was the wicked witch of the west and the water caused his shoes and lower part of his pants to swell up and disintegrate as his feet and lower legs began to melt into the ground.

Doctor? Is that you?


Could I interest you in a gently used autoclave?

Tubby old guy on the train last night wearing a hospital-blue dust mask; like something you’d see Trapper John, MD wearing.  Made me wonder whether he was wearing that for my protection or his own protection.  Was he being considerate or eccentrically rude?

Was he all “I should really try and stop the spread of this flu that I’ve caught, even though my boss is a dick and makes me come to work when I’m sick,” or was he like “I’ve read dawfun’s blog; you’re lucky I’m even on this train.”

I want to believe he was wearing it to disguise wounds from a recent knife fight where he lost the tip of his nose.

Commuter Profile: Evil Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark


Vee have vays of making you talk.

Oh my sweet baby jesus, IT’S HIM!  I swear I saw his face melt back in 1984 when I finally got to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, at home on VHS, and only after all of my friends had told me everything about the movie.  But there he is!  Black leather hat, round eyeglasses, long black leather jacket, black pants, black shoes, and a sporty red tote (something new for 2013).

I can tell he’s up to something by the way he’s looking around without moving his head–just his eyeballs, head tilted slightly back, gaunt complexion…dude it’s totally him!

What is he after?  Is Dr. Jones in danger?  Is there a band of well dressed men in fezzes running across the top of the train RIGHT NOW?  Is the train going to just blow through the station and dive down into an abandoned mine with crazy roller-coaster-like tracks?  Is that a red-hot poker in his hand?

Oh, good, it’s just an umbrella.

Commuter Profile: Momma Lovell


My boy Jimmy isn’t going to be on TV? They said he was…

Momma Lovell is an old fashioned girl.  She expects a man to give up his seat for a lady like herself, and she’ll have you know her son could land a washing machine if NASA could figure out how to make one fly.

Sounds like Jim Lovell has really let himself go after limping Apollo 13 back to earth in 1970.  Apparently he works at Boeing now and rides a tricycle to work.  Proud Momma Lovell reports her son as weighing about 450lbs (an ounce or two more than herself).


Rollin’ on 22’s.

The Loogie Hocking Zombie knows of Momma Lovell’s boy, too!  If you think about it for a moment, a 450lb grown man riding a tricycle to work would probably be difficult to forget if you ever happened to see it.  It seems like Momma Lovell uses this as her conversation starter if she learns that someone works at Boeing.  “Oh, you work at Boeing?  Do you know my son?  He rides a tricycle to work and weighs 450lbs.  Yep, that’s right.  That’s my boy!”  Maybe I’ll get to see him on the train on Bring-Your-Kid-To-Work Day.

Commuter Profile: The Ewoks

So, there are these three or four Filipino ladies who get on the train in Auburn, just outside of Endor, and they’re bundled up like they’re heading out to shovel snow in Barrow, Alaska.  They are really short–no more than 4’8″, all about the same size, and they kind of look like what you’d get if the Michelan Man found a wife in Fargo and they had babies: big puffy coats, fluffy fur-lined hoods, fuzzy hats, furry-trimmed boots, and knit gloves.


I think the train is late.

They are really cute and a bit of a crack-up.  When they get on the train, the first thing they do is scurry around looking for open seats, then signal to the others when one is found.  Next comes the oh-you-take-this-seat-no-you-take-the-seat dance.  When two of them find a seat, it’s usually nowhere near the other, which precipitates the is-this-seat-better-no-I-think-your-seat-is-better dance.  Eventually someone gives up so the group can stay together.  Sometimes there is no seat to be had, so they all stand in a tight little circle talking to each other in a language that I don’t recognize.  French?  Spanish?  Hard to tell.


Found a good seat today.

They sort of remind me of a nest full of baby birds, especially when The Marionette is towering over them–a full 20″ taller.  Their Ewok impression is uncanny, whether that is their intention or not.  Maybe some day they’ll come onboard and make me their king.  They’ll carry me on a a bamboo throne high above their heads–maybe 5′ off the ground–and plan to roast The Old Bitty over an open flame in my honor.

In Sickness and in Health

Typhoid Mary is coughing up a lung this morning.

Someday This Will Be Me

Saw a really old, really small asian woman trying to buy a train ticket out of the pay phone on the platform.  So cute and sad at the same time.  I’m almost right there with her as far as my ignorance of fancy new technology goes.  Whaddayamean you start the car with a push-button?

Excuse Me…

I think the Loogie Hocking Zombie is writing a book.  He went out of his way today to ask a guy to take off his headphones and answer a bunch of questions about where he works, what he does, and why he doesn’t get off the train in Tukwila anymore.  Reminded me of a five year-old kid yanking on an adult’s sleeve at a dinner party to ask if the adult wants to look at the five year-old’s Pokemon collection.