Memorable Moments in an Alien World

{August 1, 2013}   Public Transit: Killing You, One Stop at a Time

One of the few perks of being a teacher is getting summers off and I have decided to make the most of it this year, by having the most random adventures fathomable. The most recent of these randomosities is when I decided to see how long it would take me to get from Westwood to downtown Los Angeles if I took the Metro #4. It’s practically right outside of my apartment complex and since parking in LA in general and downtown in specific, is such a nightmare, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

I jumped on the #4 and rode…and rode…and rode. On that ride, I discovered a few things: 1) on the public bus (at least in LA), there is always an underlying sense of danger that may lurch out at any time (so carry pepper spray or know Krav Maga, 2) People are lazy. LAZY. I observed at least two dozen people who would apparently rather pay $1.50 to ride the bus two blocks, rather than being inconvenienced to walk to their short destinations and 3) riding the bus for any period longer than twenty minutes begins to slowly suck your will to live.

It goes down something like this:

You take your seat on the bus and within a few stops, a random, twitchy guy sits next to you, even though the bus is bus picalmost entirely empty. You try to take your mind off of this feeling of discomfort by looking out the window. You tell yourself that this is great. You never get to enjoy the cityscape when you are driving! You continue to look out the window, acutely aware that something is not right with this guy and the bus begins to fill up. People are pulling the cord at every stop. You begin to feel jealous of the cars zooming past you, as this monstrosity called public transportation pulls over yet again, like a tired, asthmatic grandpa who’s out of breath. Before you know it 20 minutes have passed. Then 40. Then an hour. The bus makeup has changed and you tell yourself that you’ve definitely driven more than 15 blocks, but honestly you’re not sure. The twitchy guy finally gets off the bus and you relax slightly, but find yourself wanting to tackle every person who puts their arm up to pull the cord.

You know you shouldn’t. You know it’s irrational. But you continually have to fight the urge to inflict harm on those two-block bus-riders. Finally at long last, you are in downtown and have arrived at your stop. You pull the cord and stand up, noticing grimaces on the faces of the other bus riders. You know what they’re feeling and begin to calculate how to deflect an attack from a weary bus traveller who may snap. Before you know it, you’re off the bus and in the heart of downtown.

And it only took one hour and twenty-six minutes to get there.

Totally worth it.

bus pic 1

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