So being that I take The SlaveBox Express (aka public transportation) to work everyday, I walk a few blocks between bus stop and destination and therefore get to see…and notice…things that those speeding around in cars might not. While you’re hurling along down the asphalt, rummaging in your purse on the passenger seat, illegally texting novellas to clients/friends/bosses/family and risking life and limb (and fines and lawsuits), I’m getting a tad bit of exercise, earbuds firmly set, a new-favorite-band-discovered-recently blaring from my iPod…and perusing my city. Looking at nothing. Looking at everything. Searching for color, line, shadow, glare and texture.

Today was no exception. The little green walking man in the walk-don’t-walk sign blinks on, my Dr Martens leave the curb, I glare at the aging bimbo in the Stupid Ugly Vehicle (SUV) who almost “forgot” that the red light means that she actually must stop…preferably BEFORE entering the crosswalk portion of the road. I reach the far side curb, begin my decent down a sidewalk with an incline to rival any in San Francisco…hell, it could well double as a certain piece of playground equipment it’s so steep…and, lo and behold, there she was: A 1961 Mercury Comet 2-door coupe…with an obviously very adequate parking brake…just sitting there on the cobblestones.

Now, this sweet vehicle really deserves a better mommy/daddy…because sweetie needs a bath, as well as some extensive work on her interior. A little minor exterior sprucing up would be nice too. That all said…I want her.

Isn’t that ironic? Put me behind the wheel with my little driving gloves, Jackie-O sunglasses, floaty headscarf and deep red lipstick slathered on my pouty-snarly lips and…oh! I’d suddenly be in with you lot, zipping around the city not noticing anything anymore wouldn’t I?

Huh.

And therein lies the dilemma.

But ain’t she COOOOL?? I would be SO bad-ass in her. sigh

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All content copyright D. Kessler 2012. Unauthorized use strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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Ever sit on a public transportation vehicle in a city and actually watch everything go by, the people get on and off?  I mean really.  I can’t say that I even do it anymore.  Me…watcher of people and inanimate objects…I have succumbed.  To The All Powerful iPod.  Bow down and be saved, be counted, be ridiculed by those Poor Souls that Don’t Know.  Just plug in, tune out and become One.

Now, once upon a time, way back in the day…oh, 18 or 19 years ago…I had a car.  I loved my car, or so I thought.  It was Japanese, had power locks & windows, including a sun roof, leather seats, four doors and a nice stereo. I kept it clean, no one was allowed to smoke in my car, and it allowed me what I thought was the ultimate freedom to move about wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  ‘Course, I was chained to it by a monthly car payment and insurance payments and maintenance costs, but having grown up in some not so large cities in Arizona and California, where there really was no public transportation to speak of, I didn’t really know any other way.  That is, until the car “went away”.  Why it went away is a story for another day as it involves all sorts of unpleasant memories that I don’t like to share with just everybody right off the bat.  But it doesn’t matter why the car “went away”…it just did…and then I discovered public transportation.  And I therefore also discovered my city, for real.  There is no way I would fully have gotten to know my city in the way I do now if I had sat behind the wheel day after day in gridlock on the freeways, thoroughfares and downtown one-ways…cursing as I did so. No frakin‘ way.  Uh-uh.

Joe Metro at 4th Ave & Pine St, Feb 07Let me just explain that Seattle’s public transportation…King Co Metro…is still,  for the most part, a bus system.  Despite numerous ballot initiatives, campaigns and the voters repeatedly speaking aloud in favor of various superior modes of pub transit, we still have “the bus”…or as we call it here, “Joe Metro”.  There’s this rumor…and even some media pictures of construction…of a light-rail system being built in some parts of the city, but I just don’t see how that is even really a viable thing for those of us that both work and live in the city.  Oh, it’ll be great for the suburban commuters…if you can pry their cold grey knuckles off the wheel of their SUVs…and maybe even for some of the neighborhoods that aren’t quite suburbs but are too stretched out from the core of the city to really get addicted to Joe Metro.  But can someone tell me how a train, running on the surface with all the cars, SUVs, Metro buses etc, is such a great thing worthy of my undying love and tax dollars?  I just don’t get it.  But I digress…as usual.

So, about getting to know your/my city:  With the bus, you get time to look around, to come into contact…sometimes too close of contact!…with others that dwell in your city.  People like you, people no frakin’ way anywhere close to like you, people that you could eventually become or that you used to be.  Not to mention the things you discover walking to/from any bus stop…I bet you didn’t even know that shop was there all this time, did you!

I started blathering about this topic of pub transit because today I actually got off my ass and went out of the house…or more accurately,my apartment.  Yes…I got out of my pajamas (no, I’m not in a basement…most Seattle inner city apartment buildings don’t really have basements…but yes, I’m back in my pee-jays now!) and I got all gussied up in skirt and jacket…looking like the Corporate Whore I used to be…so I could be presentable at my interview on the 43rd floor downtown.  This means that I got to ride Joe Metro for about 15 minutes there, and 15 minutes back.  But what I didn’t realize, is that I totally forgot about what I used to love riding the bus for:  people watching, city watching.  I forgot until I got home and took off my boots with an *oof!* and sat down with a *sigh* to write earlier today.  Nothin’…I got nothin’.  I always used to have somethin’ to say after a bus ride, be it a rant, a funny thing that happened type story, or a poem about one of the riders or the cityscape outside the window as we bounced along.  What the…?

Ah-haah…The All Powerful iPod.  I had Theivery Corporation and Zero 7 and Nitin Sawhney playing the whole time and didn’t even look around me to see what characters there were with me today.  Of course, maybe it’s because none of my fellow Joe-Metroers at that time of day were interesting enough to grab my attention.  Maybe my mind was on the interview looming on my horizon.  Maybe, but I doubt it.  Now that I think about it, I did notice a few persons on the bus as I walked past them as I debarked at my stop…but they all had white wires coming out of their ears…fellow Worshipers of the All Powerful iPod…and they weren’t paying any attention to anyone either…

So, what, in order to satisfy my NaBlo assignment today (and just barely under the wire), am I thankful for?  What is this rambling post all about?  Two things:  

  1. I must say I am both thankful for and saddened by the iPod.  I love my music, I love my games, I love my various shows I can watch on it.  But at what cost to our humanity, our awareness of and interaction with our neighbors?
  2. And I am both thankful and saddened by my old friend Joe Metro.  My reliable (usually) ride, my entertaining and sometimes thought provoking bubble bouncing down the Seattle city streets.  But, sadly, we should have our Monorail or a subway system by now, don’tchya think?  I think. I know. 

© 2008 D. Kessler