Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Urban Transportation

        I'm 23 years old and I don't have a driver's license. I'm not exactly sure what is truly wrong with me. However, when I take a look back on my childhood, I can further understand why this may have come to be. My family did not have much money growing up. We spent most of our time walking in the local park and eating Shake 'N Bake. When we went anywhere, it was by walking. If it was an adventure that took a significant amount of distance, then we would take a cab when we could afford it. My Mother, Princess Toadstool, NEVER drove. Naturally, I became quite accustomed to using my own two feet to get me to where I needed to be. However, as I've gotten older I've realized that in some instances, it is quite necessary to have your own wheels, particularly when running from the police or a drunken Mexican. After I graduated from High School, I lived in Vancouver for 2 years, Toronto for 1 year, and New York City for 3 years. During these times in my life as I slowly blossom into a bi-racial Canadian adult, I have come to have an understanding of a very strange world known as public transportation.

          It's been a love-hate relationship I have had with the bus and subway situation locally and internationally. The "subway" system in Vancouver is known as the SkyTrain! Doesn't it sound amazing? Just hearing the term "SkyTrain" makes me immediately want to ride it. Many people feel similarly about LL Cool J. In Vancouver, the SkyTrain is run on what can be best described as an "honor system". This means that there are no patrolling officers in the station, no cards to swipe, and truly no way to ensure that each and every person actually pays for their patronage. There are electronic booths at each station to purchase your ticket and then an open walkway to the train itself. The train, by the way, not only has no police officers or electronic system to enter, but in fact there is not even a driver for the train! Everything is run electronically requiring no personnel to be present in order for it to function. Leave it to Canada to be trusting enough to let people voluntarily pay to hop on public transportation. Things are certainly not that lackadaisical in New York City. If you so much as put your foot up on a seat on a subway car you will be looking at a $75 fine! Not to mention, that you cannot entire the Subway track until you have entered the turnstile with an eligible previously purchased ticket! They are not playing games in America. They will find anyway to screw you over, punch you in the face, and then slap you in the vagina on your way out the back door!

        The subway in New York City is 24 hours! No matter how late I decided to continue my drink fest, I could always have a reliable trip home! I may have had to wait a half an hour for the train to come, but that's what I deserve after deciding to irresponsibly down seven shots of Patrón! I also have to make note of the crazies that I would often run into on the wrong (or right) Subway car! First off in the morning, you have your Caribbean Christians. These people speak at a volume that a deaf mute could make out quite clearly. These Black people roam subway car to subway car preaching the word of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! They usually take time, as people are still trying to awaken themselves on their journey to work, to make specific mention of homosexuality. They preach very strongly that you will burn in Hell for an eternity if you shall choose to lay with a person of the same gender. I can't tell you how many times I sat on that New York City subway early in the morning on my way to school trying to catch a little extra shut eye in my sleep and I 've been rudely awoken by a hideously loud Jamaican partnered with his or her Bible. I'm not sure if Jesus really intended for you to YELL at me. For Christ's sake!

          But alas, the grass is always greener on the other side. At this point in my life, I live in Texas. This is a place that has a transit system equivalent of the efficiency of Mariah Carey's dietitian. I discovered very quickly after moving into a lovely loft downtown, that I could in fact simply walk to work in 45 minutes! It keeps me thin, full of vitamin D, and stops me from murdering myself or others waiting 20 minutes for a train during rush hour. However, I have found recently that there are certain circumstances that require that I must take this horrendous transit system to save time that has been lost on some unfortunate situation (like waking up late because I had been drinking more alcoholic beverages than a toddler at a Michael Jackson sleepover the night previous). So I have forced myself, only on occasion, to jump on a little system that is referred to as the DART! The DART which stands for Dallas Assholes Ride the Train, is one of the most hideous adventures you will ever experience. I'm not exactly sure what is wrong with people here but for some reason they believe that the train car is equivalent to the atrocious ghetto dwelling in which they live. Here's how this past Tuesday went down.

        I had a trip to make to the leasing office in my building which does not open until 9am and I had to be at work by 10am. After a brief trip in to see my landlord, I found myself in need of a little help from public transportation to get to work on time. I normally walk, but I was pressed for time. I ventured to the train station across from my home and went to the electronic vendor which functions only on occasion. I was very relieved when I discovered that the temperamental machine was willing to cooperate on that Tuesday morning. As the train pulled up, I gingerly stepped up onto the car holding my breath to avoid the inevitable stench of mediocrity. I looked both to my right and left to most effectively make a decision as to where I should seat myself. Upon my glance to the left, I realized that I had no choice but to sit behind what was a sight for sore eyes. There was an African-American woman who had seemingly fallen asleep on her boyfriend (or perhaps random guy) with both of her feet stretched out into the aisle. I noticed a pair of empty seats behind them; this opportunity was too good to miss. I placed my tukkus in the row behind them and began to take more closer notice to the monstrosity that had been bestowed upon me. Upon further investigation, I came to realize that his woman, who was wearing a nursing uniform by the way, had some issues in the prosthetic hair department. Like many Black women, this young lady had a weave in. I take no issue with this. However, when I can clearly see the Krazy Glue debree slowly crusting onto where the tracks are attached, I feel the need to desperately yell out to said unfortunate person to let them know that natural is coming back into style. How embarrassing to have your tracks showing! It's unprofessional is what is, even if you're riding the train! Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, I turned my head to the right to take a gander at the homeless person she had fallen asleep on (presumably this was her boyfriend or manpanion). This heffer had hair nappier than the 1981 version of the Chia pet. From my view, I could see he was donning a white wife beater, a necklace complete with golden cross, and a Bluetooth in his ear; the ultimate Black accessory! At least he had the respect to remain awake unlike her. It must have been a long nursing shift at the hospital. What a mess! I guess these two deserved each other. I was baffled that two people as unkept, messy, and "urban" as they were would wind up finding each other attractive enough to sleep on in public. To each his own....

            On the one hand, I have come to find that I am perhaps a little too uptight for public transportation. However, my bank account takes a very different opinion. Still, I feel that I have been benefiting greatly from walking. It's been keeping me thinner than Nicole Richie with the stomach flu. However, these unavoidable situations that have left me with little time or options, have led me to rely on squishing myself amongst a plethora of smelly unsanitary persons who occupy a very cramped box on wheels; otherwise known as the train! This is absolute craziness. I don't understand why the clientele is of such an "urban" variety on public transportation. Don't normal people ride the train? Apparently not in Dallas. Here, there is a limit for the amount of teeth you are allowed to have in your mouth to ride public transportation in Dallas (which I'm pretty sure is a number comprised of one digit).

                Public Transportation

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