Today I had to take a bus again up to Coral Ridge Mall, to return a camera I had bought at Best Buy (it was WiFi enabled, but refused to love my MacBook. Grrr…Windows!). As it turned out, the very nice young woman at Customer Service calmly and politely refunded the money to my Visa, so ***** to Best Buy.
On the journey there, a middle-aged black woman on a Gameboy began to talk to the machine as if it was a phone, and then make random remarks to us, her fellow travelers. The bus was taking its time, meandering through the suburbs and picking up people here there and everywhere – so I got to see some low to middle income housing.
We passed the Iowa Bicycle Coalition HQ (gotta check that out), a reminder that there are a lot of two-wheeled commuters in Iowa City, a student town (most of them don’t wear helmets). They have rental scooters too, 50cc jobs with little orange flags zipping all over the place (no helmets either, eeek, and wearing shorts and sandals).
The overall bus service is atypical of a middle class US community, I would guess: its suits the student community who want cheap transport, as the city is really just one huge university,the hospital, the dentistry, everything revolves around UI.
But my bus journey was what charmed me today, seeing an America that can get by without a car if it needs to and bringing people into contact with some of the oddities and eccentricities of their neighbours.