Earlier this month, I attended the opening of an exhibit at SOIL Gallery (www.soilart.org): The Adventures of Transitman. Here’s how the artist (a.k.a. former Sound Transit artist-in-residence, Christian French) describes his project:
“A meditation on the power of choice, and the ramifications of its exercise, this project expresses some of my assumptions about the hidden capacities we all have to make a difference in the world. Every act has infinite consequence. Even a simple choice like how you commute.”
Finally, a superhero a bus chick can get behind! (No Batmobiles necessary.)
The exhibit runs through June 3. If you make time to check it out, you’ll see, in addition to cool photographs and comic panels, and a seriously sexy yellow and red superhero uniform, Transitman’s version of a bus chick bag: a briefcase that contains a notebook, keys, a copy of Real Change (seriously) ,and an old-school flask. Now why didn’t I think of that?
And speaking of Bus Chick heroes…
Tom Bakker, also known as the Human Bus Schedule, is one of the finest.
It all started back in the day, when Metro was still Seattle Transit, and six-year old Tom wanted to try riding the bus. First, he asked his parents if he could take it from their Capitol Hill home to his elementary school a little farther north. Being the cool (and highly intelligent) parents that they were, they said yes.
After Tom had proved himself able to get to and from school without incident, he expanded his bus repertoire, buying all-day passes on the weekends so he could explore the city. It wasn’t long before he started memorizing schedules. (Some kids put together puzzles or model trains; budding transit geeks study bus schedules.) And memorize he did. He quickly mastered all the routes in the Seattle Transit system.
These days, Tom still lives on Capitol Hill, only now he rides the bus downtown to work and has memorized the schedule for every Metro and Sound Transit route in existence. (Seriously. I tested him.) This accomplishment has earned him a fair amount of local notoriety (including an appearance on Evening Magazine that has been repeated 23 times since 1996) and at least one huge fan.
Tom has never owned a car, and, like most transit geeks, can get almost anywhere in the Pacific Northwest on the bus. Unlike most transit geeks, he can tell you how to do it (including which routes to catch, transfer locations, and wait times) without consulting a single reference. Perhaps we should call him the “Human Trip Planner.”
I think Tom and Christian should team up and form an alliance — like the Superfriends — and use their powers to help bus riders in distress. If I keep improving my bus skills, they might even let me join. I always did like Wonder Woman…
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