Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fear of Buses

  1. From time to time during the school year my favorite graduate student will come into my office and gossip with me. Usually about the department or about our students in the low level ghetto where we usually teach. One of his students was failing abysmally after a bout of mono because she couldn't come to class because the math building is at the top of the hill. He asked her why she didn't take the campus shuttle. She replied that she has a fear of buses. Since then, he and I will sometimes meet in the hall and just say "Fear of buses!?"

  2. I took the Chinatown Bus to New York on Saturday. Uneventful ride. On the way there we passed a car with a bunch of guys in it (college-aged, maybe early 20s) with a sign in their window showing a phone number in 4" tall numbers. Did they really expect anyone interesting to call them? We passed to quickly for me to take a photo.

  3. Arrived in NY earlier than I needed to. I have a fear of unfamiliar forms of local transportation. I can ride the 30, 41, or 150 bus in San Diego. I can take the T on the red line. That's about it. I needed to get from Canal Street in Manhattan to Adams Street in Brooklyn.

  4. There was only one obvious answer. Walk. Since I had plenty of time, I took the long way (Brooklyn Bridge). I was able to pack everything that I needed in my laptop bag, so I didn't have any luggage to speak of. My parents were shocked and dismayed that I walked by myself in New York City and made me promise to get a cab back to Manhattan on the way back to the bus by 6am on Sunday. They were not swayed by my claim that the only criminals up at 6am are white collar criminals. All the New Yorkers around agreed with me: Manhattan Bridge at daybreak on a Sunday: Not scary.

  5. I can get over the fact that the iPhone doesn't have a GPS, so you can't ask for directions from wherever the heck you are to where you're going. I'm really getting sick of it giving driving directions. I walk around Cambridge. I walk in NYC. I walk wherever I can. I need walking directions.

  6. What I saw upon entering the wedding venue. I knew that I would be OK. I needed some quinine to fend off the malaria risk of mosquitos at an evening, outdoor wedding.

  7. My parents got me a very nice hotel room. It costs per night about what my benefactors here are paying each week for my room here in Cambridge. Only downside of the hotel room: No wireless internet. I was even willing to pay for it -- especially if I could have charged it to the room.

  8. Left NYC this morning on the 6:30am bus and was back at MIT by noon. On the bus I sat next to a very talkative Ukranian chemist. He came to the US for a conference, had some flight difficulties in getting to Boston, and was on the bus. He talked about languages and accents. His English was amazing even though he mostly learned it from books; he was even able to demonstrate other accents. He also had a lot of opinions about the US in general and New York in particular. He also said that he'd met plenty of stupid people in his short time in the US so far (I think he decided that a mathematician spending the summer at MIT was up to snuff intellectually). And he showed me the pictures he'd taken on his journey so far. I couldn't tell if he was merely outgoing or if he was flirting with me.

  9. Somewhere along the way home I lost a reflector tail from my bag. :(