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Give us a little bus, will ya, huh?

August 18, 2013

 

My car was in the shop all day recently.  After dropping it off this morning, and on my way back to the shop that afternoon, I took the bus.  It’s been quite awhile since I took a bus.

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As a kid in Chicago, I was always on public transportation.  I went downtown every Saturday for art lessons and piano lessons, and I’d take the bus to the closest commuter train station, which, in Chicago, we call the “L”, or “El”, short for elevated, because, other than downtown, where some of it is below ground, the tracks are elevated above the streets.  I wonder if Spanish speaking people find it amusing to refer to the El, since “el”, in Spanish, is the masculine version of “the”, so, in a way, they’re referring to the The.  A little funny, maybe.

All through high school I took the bus, five days a week, to and from William Rainey Harper High.

But, as I wrote above, it’s been awhile since I was on a bus.  And it’s not horrible, but it’s not nice either.  After I dropped my car off, I walked a few blocks to Vermont Street to the bus stop for the 180 and 181 buses.  A bus came right away.  But it wasn’t either a 180 or a 181.  And it didn’t stop.  I looked at the sign again, and it only listed 180 and 181.  I probably waited about 15 minutes for my bus.  I got a place to sit, but it was a little crowded, which made it a little unpleasant.

In the afternoon I took the bus back to my mechanic’s neighborhood to pick up my car.  Again, a bus came right away.  Again, it wasn’t a bus I wanted, and it wasn’t a bus listed on the bus stop sign.  The next bus that came was a “Dash”, which I think means it’s extremely local, and it was listed on the bus stop sign, but it wasn’t going where I needed to go.  Then another bus came that didn’t stop where I was, and wasn’t one of the two buses I wanted, and wasn’t listed on the bus stop sign.  Go figure.  I think I waited around 20 minutes this time, and by the time I reached my stop, it was probably about 35 or 40 minutes since I’d arrived at the bus stop where I got on the bus.  We didn’t have cell phones when I was a kid, which was way back in the last century, but we have them now, and a few minutes before I reached my stop, I called the mechanic to let them know I was almost there, because it was almost closing time, and I sure didn’t want to get there and find the place closed and locked.

It all worked out all right, but I’m sure glad I have a car.  I care very much about climate change, and I know one of the partial solutions is less people in individual cars, and more people on public transportation (or on bikes, or walking), but if that’s going to happen, I think public transportation, at least in Los Angeles, is going to have to improve a lot, or things are going to have to get a whole lot worse for drivers driving alone in their cars.  Gas prices skyrocket, or traffic congestion, which is already awful in L.A., getting worse, or something else entirely that I can’t even imagine at the moment.

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