Saturday, May 3, 2008

Intro to the May Metro Experiment

I've been taking public transportation to work most days for the past 10 months, the time I've worked at my current job. Most days are relatively uneventful, but sometimes even the little things are entertaining. Or perhaps I'm just easily entertained. At any rate, I decided to document my experiences for a month, and April was so weird I was sad I missed it but figured it was time.

If I could figure out a way to keep specific places more anonymous, I would, but it would end up being too hard to do, making the language too awkward. I live in Glendale and work at a motion picture studio in Hollywood. There, I said it.

Note: I tend to read while I'm on the bus, although I sometimes knit if I have a seat to myself and the book is boring me. Both activities are liberally salted with just spacing out. I also rarely put on headphones unless I'm knitting or someone near me is having a particular obnoxious conversation. (I'll try to skip the headphones altogether this month, as that's sort of what I'm after, unless I'm too cranky and the conversation is in a language I don't understand anyway.) I have had maybe 3 cell phone conversations on the bus in the past year, but I do use my BlackBerry occasionally. I plan on otherwise mostly continuing my regular bus activities, but I have a small notebook I use to jot notes and try to document the best quotes before they exit my brain. I tend to a small amount of paranoia, so I try to be surreptitious about it without being overtly sneaky-looking.

On most days, I can be door-to-door in an hour in the mornings. Driving would usually be at least half that and leave me cranky, to boot. Evenings, though, it tends to be closer to 90 minutes. I've had nightmare evenings where it was even worse, but because none of the Los Angeles MTA light rail lines go near my home, I am stuck on buses and they are at the mercy of street traffic.

Another note: I called this the "Metro Journal," but the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (aka, "Metro") is only one of the bus lines I use. It goes between the major incorporated cities in the area around the city of Los Angeles, while most of those cities also have their own smaller lines for travel within their city. I usually take a DASH bus, a line run by and within Los Angeles proper, from Hollywood Blvd to my actual place of employ. (Hollywood is an "administrative district" of the city of Los Angeles, the occasional separatist movement aside.)

Disclaimer: While I may make occasional, potentially negative remarks about some of the providers of public transportation in Los Angeles County, my opinion overall is mostly positive. I own a car so I have the option of not riding the bus. The vast majority of passengers are reasonable people who are just trying to get from point A to point B with a minimum of fuss. I also know that everyone, passengers and bus operators, have their bad days and I try to take that into account. Of course, if all the buses always ran like clockwork and all the passengers were always quiet and normal, there wouldn't be much to write about, would there?

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