Call me a cab

July 7, 2000

Recently I had the opportunity to ride on Nashville’s buses. On one of my trips, I sat next to a man who called himself an "assiduous mendicant", and explained that his primary occupation was "surveying alternative sleeping arrangements." In exchange for some spare change, which he assured me would go toward his 100 proof medication, he gave me some advice about riding the buses. I’ll share that advice with you–for free–because buses everywhere are exactly the same.

  • Buses don’t stop in residential areas (such as suburbs). Buses are public transportation, and the public doesn’t live in residential areas.

  • Don’t bother getting an early start. If the bus schedule says the first bus comes at 7:05 and the second bus comes at 7:19, go ahead and sleep a few extra minutes. If you go the stop and wait for the 7:05 bus, you’ll still end up taking the 7:19 bus. Actually the 7:19 bus IS the 7:05 bus. No one’s really sure what happens to the 7:19 bus, and anyone dumb enough to sit around wondering is going to miss the 7:34 bus.

  • No matter which side of the street you’re on, there will be more bus stops on the other side. Chances are the other side of the street will have stops every eight feet. You’ll have to walk two miles to find one.

  • When you see the bus you want, step directly in front of it. Standing at the bus stop is not sufficient. But be careful: buses are the only vehicles on the road that will stop for pedestrians, because they’re in no hurry to get anywhere.

  • Modern buses have soft seats covered with dark fabric. The fabric is dark so you won’t notice that they’re wet.

  • You don’t want to know why the seats are wet.

  • Next to every third seat will be a button or cord or some other device that’s supposed to tell the driver you’re ready to get off. On modern buses it’s designed to look exactly like part of the wall. This is because the driver doesn’t care that you’re ready to get off. Press the button, pull the cord, or punch the wall three or four times, then get ready to jump off at the next stoplight.

  • No matter where you get off it will be at least one mile from where you’re actually going. You’ll also be on the wrong side of the street.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

[Now that the 90’s are behind us…]

  1. You just tried to enter your password on the microwave.

  2. You now think of three expressos as "getting wasted."

  3. You haven’t played solitaire with a real deck of cards in years.

  4. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

  5. You call your son’s beeper to let him know it’s time to eat. He e-mails you back from his bedroom, "What’s for dinner?"

  6. Your daughter sells Girl Scout Cookies via her web site.

  7. You chat several times a day with a stranger from South Africa, but you haven’t spoken to your next door neighbor yet this year.

  8. You didn’t give your valentine a card this year, but you posted one for your e-mail buddies via a web page.

  9. Your kids just bought a CD of all the records your college roommate used to play.

  10. You read the label on chicken soup to see if it contains echinacea.

  11. You check your blow-dryer to see if it’s Y2K compliant.12.Your grandmother clogs up your e-mail, asking you to send her a JPEG file of your newborn so she can create a screen saver.

  12. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone’s home.

  13. Every commercial on TV has a web-site address at the bottom of the screen.

  14. You buy a computer. A week later it is out of date and sells for half the price.

  15. The concept of using real money,instead of credit or debit,is foreign to you.

  16. Cleaning up the dining room, means getting the fast food bags out of the back seat of your car.

  17. Your reason for not staying in touch with family; they do not have e-mail.

  18. You consider second-day air delivery painfully slow.

  19. Your dining room table is now your flat filing cabinet.

  20. Your idea of being organized is multiple-colored post-it notes.

  21. You hear most of your jokes via e-mail instead of in person.

  22. You’re reading this.


  1. "Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit."

  2. "It’s been hotter’n a goat’s butt in a pepper patch."

  3. "He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down."

  4. "Have a cup of coffee, it’s already been ‘saucered and blowed.’"

  5. "She’s so stuck up, she’d drown in a rainstorm."

  6. "It’s so dry, the trees are bribing the dogs."

  7. "My cow died last night so I don’t need your bull."

  8. "Don’t pee down my back and tell me it’s raining."

  9. "He’s as country as cornflakes."

  10. "This is gooder’n grits."

  11. "Busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor."

  12. "If things get any better, I may have to hire someone to help me enjoy it."


The following is a pre-approved posting whose purpose is to offer insight and advice to Northerners moving South.

  1. Save all manner of bacon grease. You will be instructed on how to use it shortly.

  2. Just because you can drive on snow and ice does not mean Southerners can. Stay home the two days of the year it snows.

  3. If you do run your car into a ditch, don’t panic. Four men in the cab of a four-wheel pick-up with a 12-pack of beer and a tow chain will be along shortly. Don’t try to help them. Just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.

  4. You can ask Southerners for directions, but unless you already know the positions of key hills, trees and rocks, you’re better off trying to find it yourself.

  5. Get used to hearing, "You ain’t from around here, are you?"

  6. Don’t be worried that you don’t understand anyone. They don’t understand you, either.

  7. The first Southern expression to creep into a transplanted Northerner’s vocabulary is the adjective "big ol," as in "big ol truck," or "big ol boy."

  8. As you are cursing the person driving 15 mph in a 55-mph zone, directly in the middle of the road, remember: ALL Southern folks learned to drive on a John Deere, and this is the proper speed and lane position for that vehicle.

  9. If you hear a Southerner exclaim, "Hey, y’all, watch this!" Stay out of his way. These are likely the last words he will ever say, or worse still, that you will ever hear.

  10. Most Southerners do not use turn signals; they ignore those who do. In fact, if you see a signal blinking on a car with a Southern license plate, you may rest assured that it was already turned on when the car was purchased.

  11. If it can’t be fried in bacon grease, it ain’t worth cooking, let alone eating.

  12. The wardrobe you always brought out in September can wait until December.

  13. If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the most minuscule accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It does not matter if you need anything from the store. It is just something you’re supposed to do.

  14. Satellite dishes are very popular in the South. When you purchase one, it is positioned directly in front of the house. This is logical, bearing in mind that the dish cost considerably more than the house, and should, therefore, be prominently displayed.

  15. Be advised that in the South, "He needed killin’" is a valid defense.

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