Smiley’s Brilliant Idea

I went to lunch with Smiley, which was good, because, obviously, I had a burr up my butt and needed to touch base with someone who could cheer me up.

If you can’t get happy around a guy called Smiley, you need to get you to a therapist, I think.

Anyway, Smiley had an idea so brilliant that I’m tempted to take Friday off and implement it.


Riding around town all day on the bus.  Various busses, but just seeing where all they go and how easily they get there.

Come on!  That’s good fun.  And I think it counts as investigative citizen journalism.

24 thoughts on “Smiley’s Brilliant Idea

  1. Which would you do: hop on a random bus downtown, take it to the end of the line/transfer point, hop on the next bus, work your way around town wherever they took you? Or pick a part of town you like (or think you’d like but have never/rarely been to) and figure out which buses to take to get there from home/work? It sounds like a fun way to spend a day. You would also discover the MTA’s dirty secret, which is that although the buses are comfortable and the routes are sensible, they are so infrequent that getting anywhere by transferring between buses is a pain.I’m speaking as someone who buses to work.

  2. I think I’d do the first, just lazily loop around town, and see where the MTA would take me. I wonder if the busses have free wifi. It’d be cool to liveblog my adventure. Okay, "adventure."

  3. Surely your laptop has a battery that will last you a bus ride. I mean, if it doesn’t you got cheated, I think. You should also take a camera. Borrow someone’s if you need to. You’ll want pictures of where you travel, and of your fellow travellers. Or at any rate, your readers will want those pictures.

  4. When Tim worked in Bermuda I went a couple of times with him. I’m not a lay(lie?) on the beach person, so this is exactly what I did. It’s what I did in London, too. There is NOTHING more cheering and life-affirming than bussing around a place. You see the varieties of people, the varieties of places. You’re just immersed in life. It’s quite cool. Come to think of it, I’ve never done this in Nashville. I probably should. It’d be interesting.

  5. Oh, true enough. I can totally blog on the bus and upload it when I get home. A camera. That’s a good idea. I’ll have to think about where I can get a hold of one.

  6. Your MTA cruise director stands at the ready to help plan your route.From the #13 where you live, you can travel to downtown and then from Bellevue to Hendersonville to Hermitage to Percy Priest to Brentwood. For a little extree, you can ride the #96 all the way to Murfreesboro. Maybe Smyrna-bloggers could meet you for a pit stop.The #26, #32, #37 #6 look like they’d be fun.Did you know your #13 runs out along the Cumberland River for a piece? Unfortunately, I doubt they’d let Mrs. Wigglebottom go along for a ride unless you gave her a harness and you had sunglasses and a cane.

  7. The #26 takes you to cool places (East Nashville!) but due to the unfortunate tendency of Gallatin Road/Pike to resemble an unending strip mall a rider would have no idea of what riches lie just to the east and west of the route.

  8. This has potential for a great little short film documentary. If you had a video camera you could film it. I’d help you edit it. I’ve got the software. Then you could throw it onto YouTube or submit it in a local film festival contest. It could be an ethnography of Nashville commuter culture.

  9. "It could be an ethnography of Nashville commuter culture."Or it could just be how public transportation can provide a cheap and effective way of breaking out of the self-imposed barriers of routine and familiarity. And how it opens your soul to visit your own planet.

  10. I have to say I’m intrigued by all of this, as I like exploring a city; whether taking the minirail in Minneapolis from downtown to the Mall of America or the subway from Oakland to San Francisco. I think the train from Riverfront Park to Mount Juliet would be cool, but on a MTA bus? Isn’t that the city version of riding a Greyhound bus? I have some emotional baggage from the 2 times I rode Greyhound, swearing that I’ll never ever do it again – but the MTA / blogging / photo angle does make me want to get on the bus – and I do think that have a busload of bloggers – like Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters with a video or photo journal in mind just might make me say yes to getting on the MTA bus after all.

  11. Pardon my snobbish wet blanket here……. I’ve never rode the bus in Nashville, but the office is right next to the main transfer point on Deadrick. It’s totally disgusting. It’s an open air street and it still constantly smells like pee and feet. I have no doubt that lots of nice people use the bus, but I see a lot of people standing around down there that I wouldn’t want to sit next to.

  12. Well, then I won’t ask you if you want to join me for lunch on that day, in case I smell like pee and feet.

  13. I believe that the pee and feet smell is from those homeless people who sleep under the shelter roofs overnight, not from the bus riders. <snifs self> Nope, not from me or anyone I’ve ever sat next to on a Nashville bus. In fact, I change buses at Deaderick most work days, and I guess it has aired out by the time I get there. The only smelly problem I’ve run into is too many smokers. I only use the shelters on one side of the street, though. Perhaps the other side smells worse.I’m kind of astounded at the number of people responding to this post who think of riding the bus as an adventure, though.

  14. NM, you just didn’t know you were one of the hip adventurous ones who have mastered a skill the rest of us only dream of acquiring.

  15. No, I think I’m just old. When I was a teenager and a college student in St. Louis, it was highly unusual for kids to have their own cars. Not unheard of or anything, but mostly you walked the mile to school or whatever. Unless the weather was super bad, and then your parents dropped you off, unless they had already left for work (or were stay at home parents who thought that a little rain never hurt anyone)–in that case you took a bus. And if you wanted to go to the ballgame with a friend, you hopped on the bus to get there and took one home afterwards. And in college you lived in an apartment near the campus, and walked to your classes and the bars. You didn’t expect to be a bus rider all the time all your life, but it was part of your youth. (Ah, youth!)These days more kids have cars, or have parents who can be summoned by cell phone to give them rides, and there seems to be a level of protectiveness (my kids shouldn’t have to walk, shouldn’t have to take the bus, whatever) that makes getting around on public transportation less common.So just get off my lawn, you dang kids!

  16. I did a variation of this here in LA last year. In LA you REALLY don’t want to ride the busses unless you absolutely have to. But the recently restored rail system is pretty nice.So one day when my boys had a "school closed" day we spent the day riding around LA on the Metro. We rode from the downtown hub to the end of every line except the one that goes to the really deep part of the ‘hood. We ended the day by coming home on the commuter train (which is an actual train – as opposed to a Metro rail car).It was great!

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