Sunday, July 03, 2011

Shame Train

When I was in high school, I took the city bus. I went to school almost 20 miles from home before this city built many of its freeways. My parents were unable to drive me the whole way to school every day, so I took public transportation. At the time, I rode with many friends. It was not a bad experience, but it was marked by many jokes and ribbing. I rode the shame train, travelled on Tico(the bus systems trademark for years), walked the mile home from the bus stop and was dependent on the bus schedule. As soon as I could drive, I did. I rescued a few of my friends and formed a carpool to and from school.

Later I moved to a big city, one resplendent with public transportation options. When I moved, I sold my car. I knew I did not want to manage parallel parking in a city bursting with traffic. I was again doomed to the public transportation timetables. I discovered that it wasn't too bad. I could read, talk, craft or sleep during my commute. I had friends that commuted with me each day. I even had a few options for my daily commute. I utilized a few different options to get home each day - bus, metra train, elevated train, and carpool.

When we moved back to Arizona, I firmly planted myself in our car. I would drive everywhere. We lived far from the city center, so the car was my only available option. Then we moved closer and public transport became an option again.

Now I relish taking the light rail, neighborhood circular or bus. My children love our adventures on mass transit. They don't feel embarrassed by the mode of transport. They know they are trying to reduce their imprint on this earth by sharing their ride. We people watch and look out the windows. We come up with games (try naming a type of cheese for each letter of the alphabet) which cause our seat neighbors to smile. We laugh, talk to others and relish this city we call home.

3 comments:

  1. Another reason I think you are great.

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  2. It's so bizarre, yet interesting, how differently people view public transit. I grew up outside Boston and it was the norm there, but currently we're living in a somewhat suburban rural area where you're judged if you make use of the little public transportation they have here. We're carless still (rely mainly on walking) and people think we're nuts for doing so. All our basic needs are within a two mile radius, so we huff it!

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