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August 29, 2007

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I've really been enjoying my commute to West Seattle. Three or four times a week I board the 8:25 #5 and ask the same question: "Do you turn into the 54?" Invariably, the operator is at first confused (and for some reason it is almost never the same driver--wouldn't it make more sense to assign the same routes day after day?) and then says yes. It's part of the King County Metro bus system madness that some buses magically transform into other route numbers but cloak this tendency towards metamorphosis under a shroud of mystery. It's like you have to know the handshake to be let in on the secret. The ride lasts 50 minutes, during which time I read. Lately I've been glomming onto Sarah's library books. First it was I, Claudius, which initially I disparaged as a highbrow Lifestyles of the Rich &  Famous, but then I got into it. It's about a noble-born Roman whose democratic leanings are out of step with his royal relatives' imperial ambitions and the decadence and debasement that come when family dynasties rule. It was a somehow timely read. This morning I was burning through Mongo by Ted Botha, a collector of collectors, who relates the habits of various types of trash-pickers in NYC. Anarchist kids scrounging delicacies from chichi food boutiques' garbage, a last-hand book dealer, mud-pickers and privy-diggers, can-do canners, savvy antiquarians and scavenging salvagers, all of whom live for and/or make a living from the discarded goods they glean from the city streets. Fittingly, as I get off the bus I spot a few cardboard boxes in the garbage behind some businesses. Computer peripherals, a toy car, a checkerboard, this bingo card. It seems to be stitched together cardboard with a leather-like veneer, with little plastic sliding windows--a strange and attractive blend of materials craftily assembled. You know it's old because it was made in the USA. BINGO!