Changing The World One Pansy At A Time!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Riding The Bus in Los Angeles

Gas is nearly $5 a gallon in L.A. & many parts of the country! Where is that cheap Iraqi oil we were promised? Hmmmm

To make matters even more challenging; CA is now a “hands free” state! It is now illegal to hold your phone in your hand & converse while driving. All our problems solved, right? HA! You know what isn’t illegal & is more common & drastically more dangerous? TEXTING!!! Have you seen these people typing away on their key pads with their OMGs, LOLs, IMHOs etcs, ?? It is INSANE! It is a first class miracle that even more people are not killed on CA roads every day! You may have seen the bumper sticker: “Pray for me, I drive in Los Angeles” No kidding.

I digress…So I get the great idea to try taking the bus again. Not to work, but on my day off so there is no pressure. I agree to meet my friend for a late afternoon hike in RUNYON CANYON where all the celebs go & I have written about before. It’s only about 8 miles or so from my house so this should be easy. Straight up Fairfax to Hollywood Blvd then right and you’re there! Well, not quite.

I walk the 2 blocks to the bus stop. Blessedly, a bus appears within seconds. ALL ABOARD!! Uh yea. As soon as the 3 elderly ladies with their shopping bags & 8 Asian tourists (one with a bike & 2 with kids in strollers) board ahead of me. Oh, a delay; as the tourists are told that the DAY PASS price has gone up from $5 to $8. Why anyone would need a DAY pass to anything when it is 4:30 in the afternoon is beyond me. Thus begins an exchange of monies between the tourists & the bus driver & fellow passengers that lasts for about 10 minutes.

Now safely ensconced in my seat in the middle of the bus, I start what I estimate is a 15 minute journey. The bus is a local & not an express so let’s say 20 minutes. In my experience on a local bus there are “announced stops” And, if you want to stop at a place in between the announced stops; you signal by pulling that cord (which I always get a little-kid-thrill out of doing & always reminds me of I LOVE LUCY when she stopped the train!) These memories were very small consolation this day. I soon realize that in addition to the announced stops, someone is ALWAYS pulling that God Damned Cord! So we’re going to be stopping at every single block. I saw a person board at one intersection & get off 2 blocks later!!! HELLLOOO AMERICA!! This is why WE’RE FAT!!!! Yea, I know, maybe they were making a transfer or were suddenly struck ill. But hell they could have walked to their nearest urgent care center in less time than riding those 2 blocks on the bus.

Now the matinee begins. At one stop a very large, smiling, perhaps developmentally disabled, person bounds onto the bus. He seems very happy to secure his usual seat at the back. Good for him. I hear a rather pleasant voice asking him: “Hey dude, you having a good day?” Oh see this IS a positive experience! Why am I so cynical? I think to myself. I then get a little queasy feeling in my stomach as I hear the next words: “Oh, no prob…I’m used to the staring!” Oh God, is the speaker disfigured in some way, I wonder as I timidly attempt to sneak a peek at him. Well, yes, but at his own hand. A young African American guy with a grown out afro & some sort of GENE SIMMONS tribute makeup that has his eyes encircled with black kohl. A sad little OWL, my new friend. He also seems to be wearing some sort of sheeting. Maybe on his way to some HALLOWEEN in JUNE after school party?! The d.d. man clearly did not wish to engage with our costumed rider. He simply grunted & got off at the next stop. Dashed at losing his audience; our K*I*S*S devotee begins to sing aloud along with his Ipod. I cannot say the song was familiar to me. But it did have lyrics something like this: “I’m down with the hood, I’m gonna rock with the hood…you’ll see me in my casket with my .45…motherfu****, motherfu***” Delightful! What teenager couldn’t relate. I used to sing along on my WALKMAN with LIZA MINELLI on the bus when I lived in New York!
I was so relieved when my stop was announced nearly 40 minutes after my journey began. I wasn’t even annoyed at the bus driver who lectured me that I had to “pull the cord when I wanted to get off” even though it was an announced stop. I figured he had enough problems as SNOOP Jr. was still warbling away in the back.

The bus costs $1.25 each way. I would have spent about $5 in gas & it would have taken about 15 minutes. I really think Angelenos want to do the right thing. We DO care about the environment. But pubic transportation? It’s not the GREEN Factor. It’s the FREAK Factor.

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At 7:13 AM, Blogger Brick1101 said...

I was laughing out loud reading this. The perils of public transport.
Enjoy your blog... read it all the time...
Hang in there...


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