I’m lighter, the scarlet passenger, no one cares about your humor, & a Gulf Coast trip meeting…

~Tuesday~ I was pleased with my Tuesday morning weigh-in, another three pounds intently—and intensely—worked off.

I caught the Wolfline #1 Avent Ferry bus at around 8:15 from the Food Lion Park & Ride on Avent Ferry Road. At a subsequent stop, a girl who looked a little bit like Tonya Harding, boarded and took the seat across from me. She wore sunglasses that were so large that they covered most of her cheeks—in a sort of Jackie-O look. She wore a bright red coat, and her thumb absent-mindedly rubbed back and forth, ever so slowly, across the display area of her phone, which she held in her left hand.

For some weird reason, watching that thumb, I started thinking of when a woman sits cross-legged and swings that top leg ever so slowly back and forth, perhaps subtly picking up ever-so-much speed, eventually resulting in a silent climax—so to speak. I also thought of the joke where you take a wine glass, and in an off-handed sort of day-dreamy way, you rub the skinny stem part and say, “Thinking about my husband,” and then move up the glass and rub the bulbous top, and say, “Thinking about my boyfriend,” repeating the up and down—if you will—movement along with the moaning about the husband and then the boyfriend, for maximum effect. But I have so entirely digressed…

So, girl… red jacket… red phone in her left hand, and bright red gloves held in her right hand. The only thing missing was bright red lipstick, and perhaps a bright scarlet “A” on the back of her jacket.

Two guys sat on either side of me, and they both had on gloves. The guy sitting diagonally across from me to the left kept both of his hands tightly wrapped around his stainless steel coffee thermos the entire ride. Yup, it’s definitely the coldest day of the week at 24° out this morning.

My boss and I had a very pleasant and productive staff meeting this morning, covering a lot of ground, and making plans for the future. A step in the right direction.

Otherwise, I had a decent work day, which included a 15-cent, 16 with tax, 16-ounce cup of coffee, as it’s a special they run in the university dining venues every semester during exam week. Sweet.

The support guy finished all my installations today, so I finally got back on the Novell GroupWise client for e-mail, so I’m a happy camper again.

When I boarded the bus to go home this afternoon, one look at the bus driver standing at the doorway clicking his counter for every person that boarded, I thought, “Oh boy. It’s the talker.” The one that says inane things. If you’ve been reading, he’s the one that last week or the week before said, among other things, when closing the exit door before everyone had gotten off, something to the effect of, “If you get caught in the door or it closes before you can get out, just say, ‘Open the door, black man.'”

It happened again today. After the Carmichael Gym stop, where the biggest group of students always boards on this outbound route, he pulled the microphone toward his mouth, making that loud screeching noise of the speaker system, and said, “I hope everyone studies for their exam tomorrow, because Santa Claus won’t be good to you if you don’t pass.” Crickets.

Before I say what he said two minutes later, let me explain (and I’ve said this before, when highlighting some of the differences between the city bus and the university bus) that on the university buses, you have to come in the front door and go out the back door—it’s the university’s rule, it’s certainly not anything the passengers dreamed up. The back door has a sign on it that says, “Exit only,” to clarify the flow.

So about two minutes after the Santa Clause comment, the mic screeched again and this time he said, “Ok, it’s almost time for the bus driver to go home, so we’re going to expedite this process and get you off the bus as quickly as possible. The front door is going to be open at each stop. So if you’re in the front of the bus, there’s no need to walk all the way to the back of the bus to exit. That doesn’t make any sense. If I see anyone from the front walking to the back of the bus to exit, you’re gonna get an F.”

Again, crickets—and no one even looking up. It’s just not part of the culture that the bus driver talks to the students on the buses. Not sure if this particular driver is ever going to figure that out, if he hasn’t done so by now.

Then again, I could be totally wrong about this, and on all the rides that I’m not on, he’s just getting an uproarious, sidesplitting response to these ejaculations. I guess it’s possible. Where are my animated eye-rolling icons? Ah, , there’s one.

Here’s the culture of the Wolfline in a nutshell: Driver drives. Students listen to iPods, text on smartphones, study for classes and exams, and some—more than you’d probably think, actually—shout “Thank you,” while exiting. That’s all there is to it.

At least recognizing the lack of reaction, he grated our eardrums one more time with the screeching mic and said, “I know everyone’s had a long day. It’s just a little humor.” To which I mentally retorted:

I have been meaning to check two things with regards to my health: 1) my current BMI, and 2) my target and maximum heart rates. I finally remembered to do both of these things today.

As expected, my BMI is still well into the Obese range, but surprisingly it is already below the maximum it can be in order to qualify for State Health Plan at the 80/20 level (as opposed to the 70/30 level) come July 1, 2011, when the Weight Management Component goes into effect.

And thanks to being old, my maximum target heart rate is 167, with the target rate being between 100 and 133. This is good news, because during my cardio workout on the elliptical machine yesterday, my heart rate ranged from about 142 to 155 over the majority of my 40-minute workout. All that does, I suppose, is confirm that I’m getting as good a workout as it feels like I’m getting.

We had a group meeting tonight for all of us going on the 2011 Gulf Coast Alternative Spring Break trip in March. Joyce and I, the two faculty advisors, met with Tracy, the student leader from 7:30 until about 7:50, and then set up to meet with the kids from 8:00-9:00.

Our ice-breaker activity tonight was the game where each person gets a celebrity’s name on their back and you have to guess who you are by asking only yes or no questions of others in the group. I was Benjamin Franklin and it took me a long time to figure it out. It wasn’t until a hint sent me down the path of being on money that I was able to guess it.

After that, we watched some heart-wrenching videos of the post-Katrina chaos, not only at the time of the hurricane five years ago, but also at the two years after point, and at the five years after point. We reflected about the videos, reflection consisting of people sharing their thoughts about—and reaction to—what they saw.

The final activity was to have people state, as best they could at this point, what their expectations (and hopes and dreams, if you will) are for this trip. The group wasn’t very talkative, but we did capture a short list.

Today’s favorite holiday song takes me to one of my favorite artists of all time, Barbra Streisand. I like a couple of things about this song:

  1. I like how she’s taken a song that’s not really a Christmas song—it’s most often sung at Christian weddings—and put it on her Christmas album. She did the same thing with a similar song, My Favorite Things, on that album.
  2. I like that a Jewish singer has unabashedly done a Christmas album.

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