Commuting adventures between Tacoma and Seattle.

Category: Things People Wear

Commuter Profile: The Painted Lady

So, Janis Joplin’s granddaughter is riding the train these days.  She’s got a bunch of “doodle-quality” tattoos all over her, mostly of birds, flowers, and that kind of thing.  She wears big round, dark sunglasses every day–rain or shine–jeans, very long dark hair, and usually has her feet exposed in some manner (sandals, flip-flops, etc…).

When we’re waiting for the train on the platform, she’s vigorously sucking on some kind of miniature water-vapor hooka.  Not quite as big as a recorder (that flutey thing you played in 5th grade music class), but close…probably trying to quit cigarettes since she works at a hospital.  I’m not sure that puffing 10x as hard on the substitute is going to teach you to quit smoking, but what do I know.  She also is a voracious eater of nicotine gum.  You’d think she was a heroin addict the way she’s always fussing around with these things.

Mostly, she keeps to herself.  I’d bet my house that she’s got a bag of weed in her purse.  Given her outward appearance, it’s kind of surprising that she gets up and hits the train at 5:35am every day with me.  Someone’s gotta bring home the bacon, I guess.  I imagine that she has an unemployed boyfriend who sleeps 16 hours each day interleaved with Budweiser and weed.  When she’s trying to get some sleep so she can get up in the morning, he’s partying with his unemployed friends out in the next room.  She and her boyfriend probably have a pit-bull together, tied to a tree out in the yard who sleeps on a patch of dirt between the broken lawn mower and barbecue…no kids, though.

She seems kind of smart, and kind of dumb at the same time–you know what I mean–like she could have done more with her life, but she’s doing better than everyone she knows.  She took the tough road, and is spending her 20’s figuring out how to turn it around .


Afternoons are getting weirder.

  • Woman in full wedding regalia is getting wedding pictures taken on the train platform.
  • Guy sitting across from me is hanging his arms from the overhead rack as though he were a chimpanzee
  • Guy sitting next to me “thought you bought tickets when you get off the train, Mr. Fare Enforcement Guy.”  Yeah, right.
  • Woman sitting down and over one seat is making silk (i.e. fake) daffodils (maybe they’re for the bride back on the platform).  Her backpack has skulls all over it, and she’s dressed like someone’s grandma–probably not even 50 years-old, though.

In Other News

  • Thanks for the giant fart.
  • Angry Black Woman is a first class bitch.
  • We’ve got a woman who looks like a giant pile of laundry heaped onto an unmade bed.
  • A guy with giant rings on all of his fingers–skull motif, naturally.
  • I’m always amazed by the tenacity and ultimate surprise of people who try to squeeze in between me and The Fonz.
  • Cyclist douchery is less annoying when there aren’t two of them talking to each other.
  • People with short legs shouldn’t dive in front of me when I’m climbing the stairs.

In Other News

  • Guest Starring Larry Tate
  • Recumbi-douche is back

What’s the deal with women’s shoes these days?  Since when did club-feet become fashionable, and I haven’t seen a women yet who wears those giant leather boots with the buckles, straps and zippers who doesn’t look bow-legged.  The boots in particular are like some kind of Hugo Boss/Nazi uniform throwback.

I See Your Cycle-Douche Outfit and Raise You



What? I’m just commuting to work. Don’t judge me.

You know you’re taking it too far when your douchey biking outfit is indistinguishable from a scuba diver’s wetsuit.  To the trained eye, there are key differences between Team Douche and folks who simply prefer to breath out of a can when they’re on vacation:

  1. Scuba divers don’t have diapers built into their wetsuits.
  2. Scuba divers don’t have a giant skunk stripe of mud streaked up from their butt-crack to their neck.
  3. Scuba divers aren’t covered in corporate sponsorship logos (imagined or genuine).
  4. Scuba divers don’t get on the train “casually” wearing full scuba diving regalia while on their way to work.

I can’t wait for the next guy to get on the train with an oxygen tank, scuba mask, and a Orbea Orca Bronze/Shimano Ultegra Di2.  Everyday is like a cross between show-and-tell and Halloween with these guys.

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.