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the other senses field notes

October 10, 2006, 11:40am
Fayette Mall to UK

It’s only the driver, Carl, and me when I get on the bus. It’s a beautiful fall day but more like summer at 76° and blue skies. Too beautiful, I suppose, to ride the bus. “Beautiful day, huh?” I say. “Too beautiful,” he replies as I get on. This is the same guy that barely nodded when I first started riding the bus. Now I’m common enough for a few words. [aside: He must be bored, I think. I would like to interview him, but he’s not very approachable. I’ll work on this one.]

I decide to put my headphones on today and focus on the non-verbals. [aside: Am I avoiding? Yes, probably, but I sometimes feel like I’m missing something, constantly listening and maybe not looking or absorbing the whole picture.] I put my notebook away. I feel more conspicuous since I can’t hear anyone behind me.

People are looking around more today (or am I just reading more into the “looks” since I’m not focusing on talk?). There is even some eye contact when a black male in his 30’s and wearing scrubs gets on the bus at Central Baptist. [aside: maybe it’s ok to make eye contact and even smile when it’s obvious because of the headphones that there will be no chance – or threat -- of conversation.] He seems tired as he slumps into the seat in front of me and against the window. He probably just finished work.

Up front, a white male in his 40s sits in an inward-facing seat. He says hi to anyone getting on the bus that will even glance his way. If someone would throw him a sentence, I’m sure he’s jump into the dialogue.

The bus itself is clean, I notice today, looking around. There isn’t any trash and the floors appear to be swept every night. Come to think of it, you rarely if ever even see a newspaper lying on the seat. But then again, you see more people reading novels than newspapers on the bus. I can only see one little piece of graffiti on the window in front of me – a stylized signature. The smell is neutral, not like diesel or unwashed bodies like you would think. [aside: Overall, in so many ways, the environment itself is rather neutral not grungy or “inner city” at all.]


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