Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Much as I'd dearly love to wax rhapsodic about assholes and all their majestic glory, in the interest of good taste I think I'll refrain. For the moment. Because I don't want to talk about buttsex right now. sorry to disappoint for the time being.

Instead, I think I ought to get down to business and whomp up a contribution or three to Helping Us Help Ourselves, Lauren's collection of sui generis survival skills for this crazy mixed up modern world.

The first lesson: How To Exploit Public Transportation (or, how I learned to stop worrying and love The Bus)

Greetings, happy passenger!

Due to personal preference, medical issues, prohibitive costs, political convictions (or other convictions) - for whatever reason, you have cast aside the automobile and will now be using the city bus, train, metro or whatever combination your public transportation system uses in your area. Congratulations!

What - don't roll your eyes. It's not a punishment!

if you ever find yourself all alone in a big-ass metropolis (or even a moderately-sized metropolette), starting your fabulous new life from the bottom up after leaving your abusive partner, and your fabulous new life doesn't seem to include a car - trying to figure out how to get from place to place can seem like an insurmountable task.

If you weren't raised in a metropolitan area (like New York, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, I could name a hundred other cities), or have always used a car to get around, you may be somewhat daunted by the whole public transportation "thing". Those transit maps look like nothing so much as a plate of spaghetti served by Jackson Pollock. The timetables are arranged according to some mystifying algorithm that you seem to need a Ph.D to read properly. And everyone says that public transportation is late. And unreliable. And dirty. And full of...eeew...people...

Well, all that seems to be pretty much true. But once you get the hang of things, you'll find that your transit system operates with a logic all its own.

First things first - if you have net access, it's possible to get a lot of information that you will find helpful, like fare information. However, if you've never had to do this before, even the website may look intimidating. The most important piece of information on the site will be the Transit Information Telephone Number.

The customer service rep probably won't be snide or impatient with you, but s/he may tell you something like "oh, take the E3 to State Street and transfer to the Yx8, unless it's sunday, then you gotta take the K to the Q to the Y9, or you could take the 3/5 of the Square Root of Pi line..." Unless you mention that it's your first time using Public Transportation, and/or are new to the area, that stream of nonsense coming out of his/her mouth will be all you get. So speak up. They should be able to tell you how much it will cost, how long it will take, and whether you need a transfer to go from bus to bus without paying an extra fare.

You may be lucky enough to live within a short walking distance a bus/metro/subway stop. Excellent!

okay - in the rain, snow, or blazing heat, even a short walking distance is not so excellent, I admit. I could tell you stories, wet cold miserable stories...dehydrated sunburned stories...I got a million of 'em...such is the price of the courage of convictions (or, in my case, an apoplectic phobia of driving).

Hey, a little exercise generally doesn't hurt anyone. But be sure to consider the terrain (hills?) and whatever health restrictions you may have to work within, and allow for extra time to deal with that. Once you've figured out where you're going and what bus you need to get there and what time it gets to the stop, plan on getting to your stop at least ten minutes before the time the bus leaves. Don't worry - if you're planning to make a habit of this, you'll soon be able to judge how close to the edge you can cut it without having to see the ass end of your bus belching exhaust at you as it pulls away. But for the first time, give yourself plenty of room.

When the bus gets to the stop, have your fare ready. Smile at the bus driver. S/he may not respond, but it pays to be a little nice. If you ever find yourself hauling tail as the bus approaches your stop, if the driver recognizes you, s/he is more likely to wait for you.

The great thing about buses and trains is that the time you have while you're riding is absolutely your own. Someone else is worrying about traffic, rude drivers, cops - all that stuff is no longer your problem. you can turn off your cell phone. you can just sit quietly, with a book or headphones or some knitting or just your own thoughts. Under ordinary circumstances, nobody will mess with you. (If they do, tell the driver.)

I don't know about you, but twenty-some minutes of mostly-uninterruptible downtime is healthy for me.

The day I realized taking the bus totally kicked ass was during a terrible blizzard that shut down the whole state, and everyone closed early, and all the office buildings downtown disgorged their human contents all at once, causing a tremendous traffic problem, what with way too many cars on the road in hazardous conditions, skating every which way, getting stuck, causing all manner of chaos - I got home with no trouble at all, un-stuck, un-crashed, un-cranky.

Shopping trips may have to be planned for more carefully without a car than with a car, that is true. And if you want to hang out with friends, they may have to come and fetch your non-driving ass. But they won't mind. you're cool. and you'll have extra money from not buying gas or paying for parking or them a drink and they'll forgive you. (but not more than one...they're driving...)

So that's one of the things I know how to do. I'm a pro at taking the bus, which is good for the environment and healthy for people. I'm strongly pro-bus.

Other contributions from me will include How To Leave The Abusive Jerk and How To Get Arrested. I live to serve.

"your fabulous new life doesn't seem to include a car" I seem to reconize this line of events for some where. But it involved The Discovery store and some cranies.

Here's a qestion for you, what if you live in say West Hartford{who lives in West Hartford,I mean its West Hartford]and almost every other weekend you go to some kick-ass relitives that have pretty much adopted your husband guy since the 80's, but heres the rub... you don't have a car? I know the anwser and it is located in your blog, read it through then anwser me.
no see, I made robert jensen my new nemesis...i could possibly build a feminist career on trashing him...(but that would cut down on my buttsex)
RenEv- I love how all of a sudden we're a pro-porn posse. but I'm getting all kinds of modded out over there.

we're really more anti-Jensen, specifically, in this case.

whenever two or more of you are gathered in his name, there is...buttsex?
FS201 - do you mean the whole blog or just this post?

mostly, to get around to fun places like the grocery store and y'all's house, it is necessary to rely on my highly developed social skills and convince your mom that she really wants to come get us. it's magic. ;)
that seems to be a pretty common defense, actually:

"Why, a whole bunch of people are suddenly calling me out on blahblah! They must all be in it together! Certainly they can't all inedpendently have come to the conclusion that I'm utterly full of shit on this! Leggo my ego!"

cf "I'm gonna shut down this thread calling me out on racism, and furthermore you're all clearly just 'Shannon's friends,' even though some of you have never spoken to each other before today"


"BitchLab's posse/sockpuppets/[of] multidegreed asswipes."

Makes life easier, doesn't it? Oh, okay, it's just another hivemind/clique: ignore.

On the downside of this particular form of LALALALALA CAN'T HEAR YOU:

"The great thing about believing everyone's out to get you is that sooner or later it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."
or, congratulation! you've just created a community where previously there may not have been one! bonding them all together: the shared experience of "godDAM, that person's an asshat, isn't sie?"
just this post.
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