#6 – Use Public Transportation in LA For A Day

Last week when my car was playing games with me I asked the world to stop spinning. But that bitch ignored my request, so I had to do something I greatly feared since I’ve been in Los Angeles; I had to use the bus for transportation.

I look at public transportation as something only poor people use because they can’t afford a car. It’s the only time in my life that I think I’m above doing something. The only time public transportation is acceptable for me is if I’m in New York City or another city that has an efficient system. In Los Angeles, if you don’t have a car I don’t know what you’re doing here. Move away. There are too many people here with places to go.

But last week I had a tight schedule and needed to get some errands done while I was charging my car’s battery. First stop on my list was Target and then to my pharmacy. Since I’m a virgin bus rider I grabbed a handful of quarters even though I didn’t know the routes and times of public busses, but thankfully I have an iPhone, which basically does my breathing for me.

The iPhone has a Maps application in it, which has quite a functional option to choose directions based on if I plan on travelling by car, feet, or public transportation. I always leave the option of the three on the car selection, since Los Angelenos don’t walk anywhere either.

I typed Target’s address into the Maps app, and it told me to get walking to the nearest bus stop 0.4 miles away from my house. I started my destination on foot at 10:23am. Thankfully, I waited no less than 2 minutes for the bus to arrive, because a bus stop looks like the perfect place to hang out if you want to get raped.

So, this is where I'm going to die.

I paid $1.50 when I got on the bus, and sat down right in front. While everyone behind me got on the bus, I immediately felt out of place because they all had bus passes, signifying my rookie status compared to their routine.

While in the bus, I then noticed the majority of passengers were Latinos, which is a socio-economic statement that I couldn’t ignore. The bus ride started out quite anti-climatic. I didn’t really expect a party-bus-like atmosphere, but then I remembered the movie Speed started out anti-climatic too. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone on the bus who looked like Sandra Bullock.

Clearly this guy is so embarrassed he's riding the bus that he covered his face with a scarf.

The Maps app said it would take 7 minutes to go 2.4 miles to get to Target, and it was right on the dot. Tell me again, how did people figure out things before the iPhone was created?

I spent about 15 minutes in Target and picked up a new Mossimo sweater. I then entered in the directions via bus to my pharmacy. The Maps app told me it was going to be 23 minutes until the next bus arrived to take me 2.3 miles. How ridiculous is that? So, instead of waiting I walked along the same path that the bus was going to take me. I figured I would eventually pick it up on the route. I was at least being productive by burning some calories. I also wasn’t a sitting target to be kidnapped.

My chariot arrives

The bus eventually picked me up and I spent another $1.50 in quarters to drop me off 0.5 miles away from my pharmacy. That bus only had two people on it compared to the packed first trip. I began to feel more comfortable even though it had a slight aroma of urine wafting through the air. That bus also had upholstered seats for the urine to really get soaked in.

I think that grey stuff is fecal matter.

I picked up my prescription and returned to the previous bus stop, so that another $1.50 in quarters could take me 3.9 miles in 11 minutes and drop me off 1 mile away from my house, which I ended up walking the rest of the way. That final trip was way more interesting than the prior two, however, because a somewhat attractive woman got on the bus at the stop after I was picked up. I say “somewhat attractive,” because Speed built my expectations that Sandra Bullock’s are rampant on the LA Metro system.

Since the Speed scenario never occurred, I figured I’d create some action and try my game with no car attached to it. The woman sat next to me, and I initiated conversation. She was kind of shocked that someone was trying to talk to her on the bus, and I could tell she really wasn’t interested. Now that I think back to the prior bus rides, everyone was silent. I guess everyone is so unhappy they’re riding a bus that there’s an unspoken code not to commiserate. I eventually halted my attempt, but I wasn’t bummed because I have a car to return to, unlike her. Plus I’m going to blame my strike out on the fact that there was a seemingly homeless guy sitting next to us, which can make game spitting awkward.

Pretty smart advertising considering bus goers spend a lot of time hoofin' it.

By the time I got back to my house it was 12:38pm. It took me over 2 hours to complete two errands that would normally take me less than 40 minutes. I imagine I’d develop a greater sense of patience if I lost the freedom of my car and became dependent on public transportation. It’s not something, however, that I want to experience again.

I’m also glad I only had two errands that day, because I would’ve likely held off on any other things given the time factor. And through the bus riding experience I have an even greater respect for my car, because if I’m going to waste time it’s going to be in bumper to bumper traffic while I’m behind the wheel of my own vehicle that smells like urine.

I missed my car.

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