Bus riders note: A state lawBill's Briefs Thursday, April 14th, 2016
Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs
Don’t you hate it when the young and healthy sit in the senior seats staring intently anywhere but in our direction or are too enraptured by their pod/pad to notice us? Worse, of course, is when they offer you their seat before you’ve even paid the fare. It’s like being given a senior movie ticket without anyone asking.
Good news, riders. The bus company is stepping up efforts to enforce the state law: “Refusal to vacate a seat for a senior/disabled rider upon request may result in a citation and the following fines: $25 first offense, $50 second and $100 third” … plus court fees. Wow! But let’s not get too excited. Unfortunately, the procedure was unclear in the pamphlet thus arousing my suspicions as to its effectiveness.
For example, I fear it would not be politic to demand the seat from an unkempt, unshaven, quaintly dressed gentleman engaged in a ferocious argument with himself. Also, loudly clearing one’s throat and foot-tapping are seldom effective. Perhaps, “May I sit down” would work or a request to the driver to stop the bus, give them a stern lecture and, if no results, hand them the citation. With luck, the threat alone will get the offenders to cede the territory.
If you 60-year-olds don’t yet appreciate the chance to sit down, wait; you will. This new benefit plus the $18 senior monthly pass is a great deal. For you living near a bus stop, save yourself the driving and parking hassle, ride the bus/trolley.
A positive, imaginative mind-set will soon reveal a world of entertainment as you observe the performance of fellow passengers; each is unique with an occasional star to make your eyes roll.
Don’t forget, you are a cast member too.
When plans change
While solving many of the world’s problems at my Saturday FOG coffee, a friend mentioned hearing of a great inexpensive lunch buffet in Elcentero which he was told was “not far, somewhere on 8.” Agreeing it was an appealing idea for a short drive and lunch, four of us gaily set off.
As we drove, I tried to locate Elcentero on my iPad/pod machine, but my map was not cooperating. To my companions’ annoyance, I was still trying 30 minutes later when a road sign announced “El Centro” (Two words! Who knew?) awaited us 105 miles ahead.
It seems our informant’s “not far” needed a bit more clarification. Ignoring hints that my meager app skills were somehow to blame, I agreed we should reconsider our plan and instead head for the much advertised buffet at the casino in Viejas, a town I was ordered not to try to find. I couldn’t even pronounce it.
With no signs directing us to the place, it suddenly popped up on the other side of the highway. Several U-turns later we found ourselves entering the gorgeous, clearly tobacco-friendly interior filled with silent habitués staring blankly at panels of flashing lights.
By now, we would have eaten dog biscuits, so the promise of the buffet awaiting us was like a magic magnet propelling us forward. The spell was soon broken, however, by the $36 price. We agreed the cost was of no importance, but mindful of our diets, the waste involved and concern for the starving Chinese children (ask a senior), we decided on the very nice sandwich cafe.
A day of unexpected hassles, yet joking and bantering together made it fun. Remember, friends make issues and obstacles, big or small, bearable.
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