Invisible Trajectories

Maneuvers with Claude

October 6, 2006

Last Thursday, the 6th, I went on a short jaunt that took me from Rancho Cucamonga to Altadena. The day before, Deena had picked me up from CSUN and drove us to the studio in Alta Loma. Our hardwood floors were being refinished in Altadena and we couldn’t walk on them. So on Thursday afternoon I had to head back and prepare for Friday.

I left the studio around 2:30pm after hearing from Greg that the floors were not quite finished yet. I was allowed back and this was just fine with me. I packed my things and walked across the street, zigzagging my way through one of the earliest tract-home subdivisions of Rancho Cucamonga. With most of the residents at work, the entire development seemed very still. The occasional dog moved behind a fence and barked as I went by, but few people were out and about. I found 2 dead ends and soon located a busy thru-route that would take me to Archibald. Cars accelerated when they spotted me, a pedestrian, in their path.

Once on Archibald, I glanced across the street at the new mini-mansions peeking over the wall surrounding them. All done up in bright colors with windows shut tight and AC surging. Certainly not inviting, but they felt very sculptural, peaceful, and permanent. At least this stock was not built in a floodplain like the other tracts I had recently seen.

Ten minutes later I was standing in front of a historic structure, clicking the camera’s shutter for my files. A few paces more and I was standing in the car lane of a drive-in convenience store. There I got some change, the proper bus fare for the Omni bus. As I approached Foothill, the #66 bus, which was coming, passed me despite my waving arms. I thought I’d give it a try even though I pretty much knew that bus drivers have little sympathy for would-be passengers gesturing from a non-designated stop.

Less than 15 minutes later, I was on another #66 heading east to Montclair. $1.15 well spent. At the Montclair Transportation Center, my home away from home, I got off, sat down to read my book, Biopolis (about Patrick Geddes), and within a few short minutes the #187 Foothill Transit bus was rolling into the lot. It was a hot day, approximately 95 degrees. I was shaded most of the time, or on a bus blasting the AC, so the day was comfortable.

Once on board the #187 bus, two young African American women got on behind me, sitting near the back. The disturbed fellow in front of me started immediately with a barrage of paranoiac rants. His topics covered everything from cigarette smoking to television, to surveillance cameras and McDonalds. He barely paused to breathe, but when he did shut his trap, I counted the seconds before he started up again. One of the young ladies told him that he was making them uncomfortable. That stopped him, somewhat, but he never acknowledged them. His rants, which were slightly above conversational tone, were directed at an invisible void, so I wasn’t sure if his words were intended for anyone specific. Maybe he was trying to communicate with other passengers, maybe he wasn’t. Nevertheless, he was articulate and I tired hard to make sense of
his words as quickly as they came out. It was hard to ignore him.

My annoying little friend got off about 30 minutes later, but I still had another 90 minutes onboard. I really enjoyed my trip on the #187. The route allows you to catch a glimpse of the region’s history. If you look hard enough, you can see old buildings and street-frontages much different from those seen today. Anytime I move down Route 66, whether it’s in a car, bus or on bike, I feel hopelessly nostalgic. There’s something to be said about a route with so much history and identity. The signs constantly reaffirm where you are, and I’m certain that this is a good thing.

The bus moved slowly through rush-hour traffic. At one time the bus was full. Before I knew it, we were at the Sierra Madre Gold Line parking structure. Many got off to take the train. I stayed on with the few stragglers going into Pasadena. By 5:30pm we were in Old Towne and I got off on Raymond as the bus was about to pull alongside Memorial Park. Hastily, I made my way around the block to find the MTA #361 to Loma Alta coming up Fair Oaks. I used my MUNI transfer and took a seat. Less than 15 minutes later I got off at Harriett and walked home.

Lambchop and Zoe were back in Cucamonga waiting for Deena to come home from PCC. Nobody met me at the door except the odor from the floor coating. It was now 6:00pm. 3.5 hours from Cucamonga to Altadena. The next morning I had to travel to work on my bike. The morning’s two-hour bicycle-commute required energy, so I went to bed by 9:30pm. --CW

December 15, 2005 >