Thursday, July 16, 2009

Metro Journal: Jul 16 Asshole Express

I had a job interview in Westwood this morning, so, well, of course I had to test the public transportation waters. It's actually a fairly long way, over 20 miles, and as far as driving, the two main highway choices both suck ass. I can go through downtown Los Angeles to get to the 10 to go west, or I can take the 134->101 so I would then have the privilege of parking on the 405. Fun! By PT, though, I only need to take two buses. Yes, it's about 1 ½ hours, but sitting in traffic even for half that time? I don't think so.

The first bus was my old favorite, the 780. This time I stayed on way past Hollywood and got off on Wilshire, where I caught the 920 Rapid Express. The Rapid Express is, well, what they have while they sit around waiting for the permission and the funding to extend the Purple Line further west beneath Wilshire. It makes very few stops, even compared to a regular Rapid. (It overlaps the route of the 720, and makes maybe ¼ of the stops.) And it stopped a block from my interview!

The morning trip went well, the interview went pretty well, and I got out around 12:30. The building is right across the street from Westwood Village, but I was wearing my angry shoes.1 However, while I was now armed with a Band-Aid® Friction Block™ Stick, I still had no intention of taking a detour, say, through the La Brea Tar Pits, which the bus did, after all, pass on the way back. (I ended up with two small blisters this time, but it was still a massive improvement.) I decided I'd head back, but get off the 780 at Vermont and Hollywood and eat in one of the little places there. I had to take the 720 going back east, because the 920 only runs during rush hours.

I had a nice lunch at Mamma Mia's, which, of course, made me think of my beloved card game, which I never get to play. Then I got back on the 780 to go home. I was surprised when it was standing-room only. It was only 2PM.

Now, standing-room only brings out one of my pet peeves and increases the likelihood of another. The former peeve: people getting on the bus and then standing right at the front, making it impossible for more people to get on or requiring them to squeeze past the immobile assholes to find a place to stand. Move back, people! Jesus Christ! The second peeve: able-bodied people who sit in the front seats, the ones with signs above them clearly stating that these seats are priority seating for the elderly and the handicapped, and particularly when those people make no effort to move when someone who clearly falls in to that category gets on.

The second peeve really made my blood boil today. An elderly couple got on at my stop. Half a dozen people got on in front of them. I stopped and let them on in front of me. No one made any effort to offer them a seat, particularly the woman, who was noticeably stooped and frail-looking. I glared at the teenager sitting right at front. The asshole was oblivious. Everyone acted oblivious. I Just Could Not Believe It. The elderly man helped the woman shove through the people in the aisle who, of course, had not moved back, and someone at the very back finally offered them seats, but they had to walk through 45' of assholes until then.

Seriously, I could not believe that I had gotten on a bus with 45' worth of assholes. Doesn't anyone's mama raise them right anymore?2 I couldn't find the words. Finally, I resolved that the next time I saw this kind of bullshit, I would use the excessively-polite guilt card. "Would someone please give up their seat so this lady can sit down?"

What the fuck is wrong with people? And, yes, while I may have been standing in my angry shoes, I would have been equally pissed off in my Birkenstocks.

1See this post for my previous adventures with these shoes. See the movie Fear of a Black Hat for the reference.
2I don't remember if I've told this story before, but maybe one or two mamas do. One time I was on a very crowded 780 which was full enough that a couple of people ended up standing. The young man in front of me, probably late teens, dressed like a skater-headbanger with long black hair, black t-shirt, and carrying his skateboard, twice got up and offered his seat when an older woman was standing nearby. Without being prompted. (Both women took him up on it; he reclaimed the seat when the first got off, but then gave it up again when another woman needed it.) Just goes to show, never judge a book by its cover.

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