Monday, August 3, 2009

Metro Journal: July 31 Turnstile Terrorism

Couque D'assesWednesday I went down to Lunchmont for, well, lunch with some of my former co-workers. They're apparently thisclose to putting a sign over the door reading, "Arbeit macht frei."

Anyway, after a nice lunch, I took the 14 east toward downtown. There was this guy a couple rows ahead of me and across the aisle who seemed very much like he was talking to himself. He was a little better-dressed than the type of people who usually talk to themselves on buses, and I wondered if he had a bluetooth headset on the ear I couldn't see, but he had some wacky crap coming out of his mouth. He was rather excitedly talking about some woman who was responsible for setting up some conspiracy on the web. I couldn't tell if it was the same woman, but apparently someone was accusing him of fathering her three children, which was impossible since she apparently lived in Michigan. I had this odd sense of déjà écouté, like I'd heard someone telling basically the same story about the "Billie Jean" effect a long time ago at the stop at Melrose & Western.

There weren't many people on the bus, so it was passing a lot of stops. One time it did stop because the driver couldn't tell if the people waiting at the sign wanted to get on, but they didn't. Except the guy waited until after it had stopped and the driver started pulling out again before he gathered up his stuff and told the driver he was supposed to stop when it was a stop. I hadn't been paying attention, but I didn't notice if anyone had pulled the stop request cord. Anyway, the driver said, "All right, I'm stopping," although he couldn't pull back over. The guy, who actually was wearing a headset on his other ear, was still talking about stopping when it was time to stop when he got off. A few people sitting near him looked at each other with that "okaaaaay" grin.

I got off and got on the Red Line, which was really crowded. I decided to get off at the 7th St Metro station to see if they had some kind of kiosk where I could ask about putting straight dollars, rather than passes, on my TAP card. The station has three levels: street, Blue Line platform below that, and Red/Purple Line platform below that. It also has exits to two streets, Flower and, I think, Hope. The street level exits for each street are not contiguous; to get from one to the other, you can either walk outside around the block or go down to the Blue Line level and go back up the other side. I wandered around, found no kiosk, then decided to take a DASH to Little Tokyo, as that would involve less walking that taking the Red Line to the Civic Center station. Except I wasn't sure which DASH stopped where or what their schedules were. Fortunately, there was a tourist welcome center across the street! I figured they might have bus schedules, which they did. They also had typical tourist tchochkes and sold things like Disneyland tickets. I got the Downtown DASH brochure and left. The Little Tokyo DASH (line A, I believe) was right across the street and supposedly ran about every 7 minutes during the day. It took a very circuitous route, but I got where I needed to go.

Kinokuniya didn't have anything new and exciting in the way of craft books, so I went downstairs to the Japanese supermarket and got some goodies, including some langue de chat cookies (that's what the box said in Roman alphabet characters, among lots of Japanese stuff I couldn't read), literally "cat tongue." The box also had "Couque d'asses" on it in big letters, so I assume that was the brand name. I have no idea if that's real French, and I don't think it would matter. (I thought cookies were called biscuits.) The cookies, which have a maccha (green tea latte) filling in the middle were ok, but not as good as the name.

Feeling lazy in the heat, I took a Metro with a headsign for Union Station to, well, Union Station, where I took the Gold Line to Pasadena and the 780 back to Glendale. All in all, I think I swiped my Metro day pass about 9 times.

Oh, yeah, and apparently they're installing turnstiles in the light rail stations. Right now it's kind of an honor system, where it's assumed you'll either swipe your TAP card or have bought a small, paper ticket from the machine. They do have period checks of riders, but rarely. I haven't seen any turnstiles yet, but they started installing them in June. However, the weird thing is that not only are they doing it to reduce fare evasion, but apparently turnstiles will... get ready for it... also stop terrorists! I am not making this up.

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