Monday, February 8, 2010

Tunnel flautists

One morning two weeks ago I got out of the house a little too late to repeat my usual winter routine of riding downtown on the King Country Metro #355, so I had to ride my bike downtown instead. This would be a good thing, as it had been about three months since I'd tried riding a route with an uphill of any consequence, this ride had a nice manageable one, and I'd been feeling out of shape on my previous ride. The only way to get in shape for bike riding is to ride your bike, so away I went.

One hill turned into several: first up Dexter from the Fremont Bridge, then a much smaller hill on Dexter from Mercer to Denny. And last, up 5th Avenue through downtown. I was really sucking wind by the time I got halfway up the last hill; out of shape indeed. I'd actually hoped to stop before that last hill, to visit with Tito the tunnel flautist, who I hadn't seen in a couple months, but a slow-moving Sound Transit #545 bus in 5th Avenue's right lane was in the way of the right turn I'd planned. Plan B was to continue on 5th Avenue to the International District station, which I did, getting there about 4 minutes before the King County Metro #150 bus that would take me on to Tukwila.

That bus was fairly full, but a seat in the middle was open.

Just as I settled into it, someone said hello and darned if it wasn't Tito himself. We had a nice chat all the way to Tukwila, talking music, family, brotherhood, jobs, and more. Drop a buck in his tip bowl some morning if you see him at the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel's
Westlake Station. He's brightened my commute many a time.

Interestingly, on my way home, I saw a different tunnel flautist at the University Street tunnel station, where I've never seen anyone playing before. I wonder if he'll become a regular there. I have to think that word of Tito (and his good nature) has gotten around in more than one community.

If it comes to it, I'd recommend tipping any musician around public transit who brightens your day. For many, it's their job.

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