When I tell people here that I take the bus they are shocked and surprised. It’s one of those things that people accept in theory but can’t believe anyone actually does. But I do. Granted, it’s quite different here. The buses are never full. Everyone gets a seat. Few people read or listen on headphones. (I’ve yet to see an i-pod here, by the way.) I’m beginning to recognize a few regulars and to become a regular myself. It’s hard to tell why people are taking the bus. No one looks overtly poor, although I did see a homeless man once. He was the only homeless person I’ve ever seen in Little Rock. There are a few office worker types like myself. A few disabled people, including an older blind couple who cling to each other either out of warmth or affection. I see one older black lady regularly who gets off at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. There’s a white gentleman who takes the same bus who also gets off at the same stop. They never speak to each other, and when they step off one walks silently behind the other.
My favorite lunch time browsing and eating destination is the Farmer’s Daughter Café. I like the saucy name and the sandwiches are hearty and filling. Plus when I get lunch to go I can look at the used books on offer and when my name is called to pick up the lady sounds exactly like my mom.
Yes, a co-worker also from California and I talked about how much more car-centered Arkansas is. At least in CA there's a concerted effort to promote public transport, etc, probably because it's the most environmentally advanced state. But here one can quite literally live without ever leaving the car. Even the banks and pharmacies have drive-up windows.
Since buses here are so limited it's the same cast of characters....