of 22 /22
October 29, 2008 Liesil Alderfer Arredondo Quantitative Data Collection/Analysis and Field Exercises: Social Setting #1: The first social setting was found riding the TRE to Ft. Worth and stopping at the end of the line, the T&P Station. Observational Write-up: Early Monday morning, October 27, 2008, a brisk and chilly morning, the ticket machine at the Rock Island rail platform was being difficult. The time was 10:16am. Three Caucasian women arrived as my struggle persisted. An older woman in her late 60’s, with shawl tied around her head as a bonnet, stood shivering as daughters, in their 40’s, stepped in line behind me. We collectively continued to grapple with the machine. Each of us tried different money in different ways, noting how close it was getting to train time.

Field Study Notes

Embed Size (px)


another ticket machine further down. This fourth arrived as my struggle persisted. An older woman Walking further down the platform another woman, in her 50’s appeared to be homeless, for continued to grapple with the machine. Each of us Rock Island rail platform was being difficult. The October 29, 2008 brisk and chilly morning, the ticket machine at the Liesil Alderfer Arredondo arrive and still no tickets. We agreed to vouch for tried different money in different ways, noting how

Text of Field Study Notes

Page 1: Field Study Notes

October 29, 2008

Liesil Alderfer Arredondo

Quantitative Data Collection/Analysis and Field Exercises:

Social Setting #1: The first social setting was found riding the TRE to Ft. Worth and stopping at the end of the line, the T&P Station.

Observational Write-up:

Early Monday morning, October 27, 2008, a

brisk and chilly morning, the ticket machine at the

Rock Island rail platform was being difficult. The

time was 10:16am. Three Caucasian women

arrived as my struggle persisted. An older woman

in her late 60’s, with shawl tied around her head as

a bonnet, stood shivering as daughters, in their 40’s,

stepped in line behind me. We collectively

continued to grapple with the machine. Each of us

tried different money in different ways, noting how

close it was getting to train time.

The younger women shared that they were

riding the train that day just for fun, an activity with

their mom. Three minutes until the train was to

arrive and still no tickets. We agreed to vouch for

each other that the ticket machine was broken.

Walking further down the platform another

woman heard our talk and offered that there was

another ticket machine further down. This fourth

woman, in her 50’s appeared to be homeless, for

she was a bit weathered, untidy and carried some

bags covered in plastic.

Page 2: Field Study Notes

The sisters shuffled their mother to the

raised platform in preparation to enter the train

without having to step up. The mother was cold

and looked miserable. The sisters were getting

more talkative, laughing and loud. I headed toward

the additional ticket machine.

An African American woman with a big red

coat and a furry black hat was purchasing her ticket

and having trouble. I offered to switch hats with

her. Mine, a ball cap, was no protection from the

cold wind blowing at us. She laughed and

commented on the cold morning.

The ticket type she was after was a one

zone, all day pass. The machine was charging her

$5, but yesterday’s price was just $3, she

complained. Her money, $3, was being accepted

and then pushed back at her as she ordered and then

canceled the ticket several times.

The sisters arrived at the machine as their

mother, huddled and shivering on the raised

platform, watched. The younger sister, a streaked

blonde, with a ponytail and smoker’s voice, jumped

in front, saying she wondered if hers would work.

She pushed the two zone, all day buttons and put in

$20. Tickets and coins poured into the receptacle.

We all commented on her success as she and

her sister laughed about the “jackpot” and how this

was better than at the casinos. The lady with the

warm furry hat asked if the smoker might push the

buttons for her ticket as well. Not only did she push

the buttons, but she put her silver dollar change in

Page 3: Field Study Notes

the coin slot, and the lady with the hat had her


Funny how the hat lady commented that she

was so happy to have saved her $3, never offering

to pay back with the paper money flapping in her

hands, and never saying the words “thank you”.

Listening to see how this would play out, I

ordered my ticket with a twenty and received my

own jackpot change. The group repeated the casino

comments and the lady with the hat walked quickly

towards the arriving train saying to “watch your

purses, they’ve begun to snatch them”, while the

smoker and her sister looked down at the hands -

holding Susan B. Anthony coins and no paper

money. They were quiet, as the train made the

noise. I stepped aboard.

In my back pack were books on train

stations and a daybook titled Simple Abundance.

Munching on Trisket crackers and assorted nuts, the

view from the window was grabbing my attention,

not the books.

The loud speaker announced “Center Port

Station is next” and a conductor entered the train

car. There were only 3 people sitting in the car.

The first, a Caucasian man in his 50’s, wearing a

black cowboy hat and a western cut suit coat, was

talking on his cell phone. The conversation was

something about the next business trip and laughter.

The conductor, a mid 40’s aged woman,

passed him and headed towards the end of the car,

Page 4: Field Study Notes

towards me. Smiling, she asked if I had any

questions. I asked if there were buses connected to

the T&P stop. She said there was nothing at the

T&P stop, that the Bass family of Ft. Worth had

made them continue on the the T&P, that TRE

wanted to stop at the Intermodal station.

It would be an hour of waiting before the

train returned to the Intermodal station; she

discouraged me from going past the Intermodal

station. I thanked her and she passed on through the


The third passenger in the car was a woman

in her 30’s, African American, looking tired,

leaning her head back on the seat. She sat in back

of me on the other side of the aisle. She exited at

the Intermodal station.

The cowboy and I rode until the T&P

station. As the conductor warned, the train rested

there for an hour and fifteen minutes. During this

time I entered the old terminal building, a

remodeled building first constructed in the 1930’s.

Residential lofts now fill the upper floors while the

waiting room, being restored, remains the same.

After viewing the waiting room, the walk

towards the parking structure proved to be

interesting. Antique built-in cabinets with chalk

boards remained on the concourse walls, once used

to announce train schedules.

Upon exiting the end of the concourse a

family walked in my direction. The gentleman,

around 70 years old, swerved towards me and asked

Page 5: Field Study Notes

about the next train. I told him about the hour wait.

His wife and daughter, a woman with a cane and

limp, caught up to us. The daughter looked as if she

had had a stroke, one side of her face was hanging

and she appeared to have a glass eye on that side.

They began to ask about things that were

around the terminal and I confessed that I didn’t

know very much, but that the waiting room was

worth looking at.

After looking at the parking garage I headed

back up the concourse, passing the family - who

was buying tickets at a machine, towards the

waiting room. The daughter, sitting at a bench in

the middle of the hall way, looked at me and we


In the waiting room, this time I tried

opening doors throughout the room. One was open

so I entered. It was a private dining/meeting room,

also beautifully restored, with an adjoining kitchen.

Leaving these rooms and heading to the front of the

building, I took photos of the façade. A post office

houses the building to the west of the terminal.

The entry to the lofts is a revolving door

leading to an information desk and several

elevators. Housekeeping and maintenance workers

in uniform stood around the information desk

talking to the attendant. A resident stood waiting

for the elevator.

Entering back through the waiting room I

noticed the family now admiring the ceiling

decoration in the great hall. Deserted, other than

Page 6: Field Study Notes

the four of us, they looked my direction and asked if

I would take their picture. The gentleman asked

why I was showing an interest in the place. I told

them that I was a student of Architecture. He all but

gasped, and announced that he was an Architect, the

one who had worked on the renovation of that hall.

Though disappointed that it was so little

used, he was admiring his handiwork once more.

Bits of information began to be offered without me

asking. He was now in his tenth year of remission

from suffering lung cancer. The daughter had been

in a car accident suffering head trauma. The father

hinted that she wasn’t all there anymore, and the

daughter piped up, in a slurred lisp, that she had

“lost some wit, that’s all”. I tried to communicate

that I could see she had every bit of wit that the rest

of us had.

The Architect asked, What kind of

Architecture are you interested in working with?”

Upon sharing that buying land, developing and

overseeing design was my plan, he interrupted

saying he was also in Development for many years.

He had worked on developing malls. He only later

got into the refurbishing of buildings as the T&P

station. His wife worked in the real estate field.

The daughter had only had 2 years of college before

her accident. She was now a forty-something

young lady, still cared for by her parents.

Coming from Austin, their vacation was just

beginning. They were on their way to Carlsbad

Caverns, but first a ride down memory lane on the

Page 7: Field Study Notes

train towards Dallas - from a station called Texas &

Pacific Railroad Station.

Social Setting #2: The second social setting was found riding the TRE from the T&P Station in Ft. Worth and stopping at the Intermodal Station, also in Ft. Worth.

Observational Write-up:

The train had just started its engines again

after an hour’s rest at the end of the line. Climbing

aboard I found a car that was empty but for me.

The day book, Simple Abundance, was calling. The

cool of the day had lost its nip, and the sun shone

through the car to warm me. I nestled down

expecting to be inspired.

Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban

Breathnach, began October 27th with a quote:

“There must be more to life than having everything.”

Maurice Sendak

The October 27th entry was about quieting

our wants by acknowledging them. Sarah suggests

we must “honor our desires by winnowing them

out, so that all that remain are authentic.”

Authenticity of desires, capturing authentic

qualitative information for research, not entirely

unrelated. A woman enters. While I would rather

be in my train car alone, to think, she chooses the

seat closest to mine. She is in her early 50’s, with a

short early 50’s curly hair style. She is in a

Page 8: Field Study Notes

uniform. I try to read and think. She opens

her cell phone and begins to dial. For the next 20

minutes she call everyone she hasn’t talked to in a

while. Jewish, she talks of going to New York for

the bar mitzvah, and the Hebrew society this and


Staring at my book, seeing words but unable

to focus on them, I try to tune her out. She has a

great laugh, but it changes. Her current conversation

requires laughing when she doesn’t really think its

funny, that kind of a constrained, but forced laugh.

I read October 28th, some sentences two and

three times when she gets too loud to ignore. Sarah

starts with this quote:

“A little bit added to what you’vealready got gives you a little bit more.”

P.G. Wodehouse

The train is now moving. “Energy does not

increase if it’s hoarded. Energy must circulate

freely for power to be released.”

It takes less than 5 minutes to get to the

Intermodal Station; I pack up and step off. The

station is alive with movement. Busses are entering

and pulling out from diagonal stops , adjacent to the

train platform. An antique trolley car, painted red,

is displayed on stinted display tracks leading to the


Wall art decorates the entry corridor, faces

of African American people and activities protrude

from the wall, sculpturally offering a look at the

Page 9: Field Study Notes

history of a people who once occupied the land the

station was built upon.

The waiting room, with vaulted ceiling, was

warm and inviting. Train and Greyhound bus

traveler sat on benches, watching a flat screen TV

mounted high upon the eastern wall. On the screen,

Barrack Obama was saying something and then the

news reporter returned.

The smell of baked bread reminded me that

it was near lunch time, I followed my nose. A

Subway sandwich shop housed the right front

corner of the station, while Enterprise Rent-A-Car

housed the left front corner. I headed towards the

fresh bread. “Tuna with everything but the

jalapenos…yes, banana peppers, please.”

Mmmmm, good. A young couple stepped

up to the counter. The clerk said the manager was

hiring and would be right back. He asked if he

could get something to drink while he waited. She

pointed to the small clear cups. He helped himself

to some coke. They sat down to wait, both sharing

the clear cup with coke in it.

Tattoo on the back on his neck, an earring.

Short hair cut, bright blue eyes. The girl more

unsure of herself, probably 14 or 15 years old, a bit

over weight, her hips popping out from under her

shirt when she sat down. She adjusts the tail of her

black t-shirt, pulls it down over and over. Black

jeans, black t-shirt and black dyed hair, with a nose

ring. The boy was probably 18.

Page 10: Field Study Notes

The manager returns from taking the trash

out, and is pointed to the young man. The manager

looks at the cup, then at the couple. The young man

reluctantly stands and asks for an application. Upon

receipt, he says he will bring it back. The request

was maybe just a tactic to fill a water cup, with

coke, for free.

I finish lunch and go out to take pictures.

Waiting for the train home, I sit in the courtyard,

shaded by scrawny bald cypress. Sparse concrete

garden benches are placed at intervals behind the


Taking a picture I noticed a commotion, and

looked, an African American woman of 30

something, coming from the buses, had tripped over

the curb and fallen very close to me. She was up

very quickly as I asked her if she was ok. She said

“I hurt my leg,” and with a distressed expression,

she quickly walked towards the terminal.

An elderly, African American woman came

out from the terminal, she was waiting for the

Dallas bound train, as I was. I commented on how

cool it still was. She said it was nothing compared

to Oklahoma City where she had just come from. I

told her my husband had just traded places with her,

he had headed up that way early that morning.

Her son lived in Dallas, she was coming to

spend Halloween with him. No grandkids here but

14 in Oklahoma. This son was her last and

youngest. On her lower neck, right by her shirt line

was a big black growth, about the size of a grape

Page 11: Field Study Notes

and moving about like a grape would on a stem, as

she adjusted her coat more snuggly around her.

Aboard the train I sat across from the young

couple from the Subway sandwich shop. I recorded

the movement of the train and the outside scenery

with my video camera, for a short while. After

putting the camera away, the young man interrupted

my thoughts by asking if this was for school. I told

him yes, and about the assignment.

He said he was, “riding the train to Terrell to

pick-up some free Haunted House tickets,” he had

won from a radio station. No, they didn’t ride the

train often.

Another young man, yet not nearly so young

(looking more like he was in his late twenties or

early thirty-something) piped up with a question

about the study. Straining to turn around and look

at him, we met eyes. Mousy brown hair under a

ball cap, much like mine, he smiled. I asked him

what he was doing on the train that day.

“My car is acting up and is in the shop, I live

right next to Center Porte Station.” I looked

inquisitively at him. “So, I drove to my mechanic

in Ft. Worth and dropped it off,” he finished.

I asked if he used the train on a regular basis

because of living so close to the station.

“Yes, I work in down town Dallas and ride

there every work day.” He answered. I asked if he

noticed a lot of people that lived in the same area

commuting the same way. “No,” he said. “There

are very few town homes and residences in walking

Page 12: Field Study Notes

distance of the station. Most everyone getting on at

Center Porte drives in.”

The Haunted House teens asked if I knew a

good place in Dallas to get some Pizza. “No, I

don’t go that way much,” I said. Turning to the

man that lives at Center Porte, I asked if he knew a

place. He gave several options to them.

We all sat lulling with the train rocking us

too and fro. The teens were nervously stealing

peaks at me like they wanted to talk but didn’t know

what to say. I asked if they were going to dress up.

“He’s going to be a “jail-bird” and I’m going to be a

cop,” she said shrugging.

“That’s cool,” I said. The 18 year old was a

bit embarrassed and said, “We don’t do it for the

candy, just for the fun. We give the candy away.” I

reassured them that it was fun and there was

nothing wrong with having some fun.

With that we all stared out the window. I

noticed when stopping at North Richland Hills

Station that the station and parking was build

directly under a high powered electrical line.

Interesting how space was found and utilized where

otherwise useless.

Upon exiting the train at Rock Island

Station, the Engineer waved passage as I crossed in-

front of the train. With a quick pang of anxiety I

crossed the tracks, in no real danger. Its funny how

train tracks evoke fear, just at the site.

Back at the car, the parking lot is full.

Construction is being done, a line of raised tracks is

Page 13: Field Study Notes

being erected adjacent to the one I came on. The

warmth of the sun is signaling mid-afternoon. The

lot is quiet, full of waiting cars.