Nerd In Transition: Seriously, Don’t Metro
A couple months ago my car stopped running right as I reached my home. Since that time I have been walking, biking and busing my way around LA. While this is not the first time I have been without wheels in this sprawling city, this was the time when I was most optimistic about our metro system. Even with the bike and the close proximity to the downtown hubs I gotta say; I WANT MY CAR BACK!.
Recently I heard a report on NPR about the physical differences of people who live in car dominate neighborhoods vs. people that live in walker friendly area’s. In those neighborhoods where a trip to the bank, post office, grocery store, etc. is made on foot the over-all weight average is 10-15 pounds lighter than the places where people drive. This story came to mind when I realized I would not be sitting pretty in my Volvo for awhile. The hills, mountains and stairs that I have to deal with also excited me a little. Why surely 15 pounds was going to melt right off my body. No longer would there be chaffing between my thighs cause soon enough they wouldn’t be touching. This miracle has not come to pass.
Other than being completely over climbing small mountains daily I am also not thrilled with the bike I purchased. The frame is too small, it feels like a battle between my tits and my knee’s as to who’s going to knock out the first tooth. The original seat that came attached to the bike was so tiny my butt literally ate it. I’m not kidding. At first I thought it just sort of felt like the seat was disappearing up my ass, but then one day I wasn’t able to sit, stand or move comfortably. Upon closer inspection I had a bruise where the sun NEVER shines. Not American no nude beach or g-string in public covered butt sun never shine. I’m talking way up in the French nudist colony dark zone. Yeah up in there.
Later that week I got a new bike seat. That and the fully inflated tires have vastly improved my bike riding experience, yet there are still all these damn mountains.
Aside from the foot cycle and nature made inconveniences there is the Los Angeles metro system. If you have never been to LA it’s huge, bigger than some small states. If you have been to LA but never faced transportation without a car, it’s huge. It’s a giant, dessert engulfing, suburban rowed mess connected to additional smaller cities that aren’t LA, but really basically are. With so much space to cover the metro system here is not only stretched thin but very poorly designed to begin with. No matter how awful traffic is, even if you get stuck on the 405 for three hours, you will still get to more places faster then I could ever manage on public transportation.
The powers that be have been trying to entice a different class of people to ride the buses with an ad campaign designed to make you believe that it really is better on the giant wagon. One poster has three pictures with the subsequent phrases under each one; Save Gas, Save Money, Save Time – Go METRO. The first two I agree with, but save time? Noooooooooooooo. No my friend, no. Not only will waiting for the bus eat up all your time, but traveling on back neighborhood streets away from the main road will add 15 to 20 minutes to every ride. Plus there is the colorful array of public transients, I mean public trans riders, just waiting to leave a foul smell in your nose all day or crazy words ringing in your ears. I need to start a twitter feed called #whoaMetro. Here is a recent example:
While sitting on a bus passing through downtown we stop to pick up more passengers. I notice there are cops patting down some guys on the street. A guy of about 40 climbs onboard, as he is entering the bus he begins to yell insults at the cops. The door closes, we’re speeding away and yet he continues bitching about the boys in blue. An older woman chimes in saying that not all cops are bad. As if on cue he looks at her and says “I hate all cops. I got arrested when I was in my 20s, never did nothing, by two homo pigs. They raped me then threw me in jail. Cops are all homo-fag-pigs”
Whoa. Whoa metro, TMI. That does not make for a pleasant ride on a Friday afternoon. The conversation that followed was an interesting study between the rational stoic nature of an aging mother and that of an angry, impulsive, possibly delusional desperate man. She was calm even after sharing that the police shot and killed one of her sons. He was nothing but anger and generalizations. According to him all cops are out to harass young men out of their pants.
I let this all pass, refusing to get involved. But I wanted to ask the guy, so bad I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop it from coming out, I wanted to ask him if I should be afraid of all men? Should I hate him because he has a penis and somebody else with a penis raped me in my early twenties? What if every woman that has ever been raped started yelling at random men on the street? I’ll tell you what, there would be no silence.
But we do press o,n because that is what women do. We put our heads down and press the fuck on. Until the car is fixed I am stuck with rainy mornings, crazy people and a tiny clown bike. I am comforted by the fact that at least I am burning some calories. As for character building, I’m over it. I want comfy leather bucket seats, music of my choosing, the freedom to arrive at any destination and the ability to take my dogs to the dog park. I want my car back dammit!