Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Metro Journal: June 24 A Different Kind of Bus

Because I was so early yesterday, even after the unintended walking tour of downtown Los Angeles, I figured I could take the bus that leaves about 25 minutes later and still get there on time. Which might have worked in theory...

I did catch the bus that whipped me around to the Commuter Express stop. I walked up to stop from the opposite direction that of the Park & Ride lot, which most people come from, so I thought it was odd that there was one person standing under the sign and then the rest trailed off in the opposite direction. But people just glanced at me like I Was New Here but didn't say anything. Then a couple minutes later someone else came from the direction I did and walked past everyone who was already standing there. I asked the man under the sign if there was in fact a line and he said yes, so I went to the end of it. It was just weird after the shove'n'trample method of boarding Metro buses. At any rate, the Commuter Express was already almost full when it got there, so most of us were stuck standing. Now, because this is one of those coach tour buses, there just aren't a lot of conveniently placed vertical bars to wrap your elbow around and read. In fact, the only ones are right at the front and then in the middle in the fancy wheelchair lift area. So the rest of us were stuck holding onto the luggage rack.

There's this big, white, old, boring building in what I guess is maybe Highland Park called Ribet Academy. I'd only ever seen it from the 2, but as the bus got off the 2 right next to it, I actually saw the front gate. There's just something about the name... plus the writing and trim is in green....

I thought it was kind of odd that we took surface streets the rest of the way downtown, but it was mostly working... until we got a little ways into Chinatown. We were going down Broadway, or we would have been, except nothing much on Broadway was moving. Finally we, along with all the other vehicles on the road, were detoured off by the police to New High/Spring St. After crawling a couple blocks, we could see why: a mid-size red SUV was lying belly-up on Broadway near the off-ramp for the 101. Ouch.

I did at least get off at the right stop this morning and thus didn't repeat my walking tour/Marilyn moment. The rail rides were pretty uneventful, but the net result was that I was about 20 minutes late. Oh, well.

We got out earlier, but I still wasn't sure I would make the last Commuter Express. On the Green Line, a woman was behind me talking to a 22-year-old recent college grad named Christopher. Apparently Christopher was bitching because he had been in a car accident and he didn't have the money to fix his car and no one he had asked had the money to fix his car. Apparently the accident had also been preventable, because he had known his brakes were going bad and had not fixed them. The woman was showing remarkable patience trying to explain to him that it wasn't anyone else's fault that he had been in a car wreck and couldn't afford to pay the repairs. She was trying to tell him that if he wanted to grow from this experience and become an adult, he needed to stop coming up with excuses and instead identify his role in the situation, that every time he was interrupting her (and, trust me, she was getting interrupted a lot), that was another excuse coming out of his mouth. I'm not sure what relation she was to him, but I seriously doubt she was his mother. Most mothers would have started getting medieval on his whiny ass after about 3 minutes. Maybe an aunt. At any rate, when I got off the train, it didn't sound promising.

The Blue Line got in the last station almost 10 minutes after the last Commuter Express was scheduled to leave, at least according to the times I got off the LADOT site. I left out of the station and was going to start walking to the bus stop for the 81, which stops about 1/4 mile from my home, when coming straight at me was the Commuter Express 409 headsign! Yay! Perfect timing! And I got a nice seat!

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