Posts Tagged ‘transit’

Social Network

24 September 2010

Dear J-

I’m waiting for the bus, which used to be an opportunity for some down time and reflective thoughts. Given the way this day’s projected to run, though, I’m taking the chance to do a little writing. It used to be that the bus was a social experience but our lives are littered with devices that allow us to sidle off into our own little worlds. My last bus trip all I did was watch the other passengers; the younger the rider, the faster they whipped that DS out in an almost desperate attempt to stave off boredom.

It’s not like my generation was any better, grabbing a Walkman for those long bus trips, but even then that was a social experience. For me I’d make sure to sit next to someone I liked and offer to share my cool music tastes*, otherwise there was the chance at conversation and learning about people. Right around the time I started riding the Boston MBTA was when I stopped talking to people on buses — that particular incident is traceable to the guy sitting next to me who advocated carpet-bombing China.

I’m still continually amazed by how many people I recognize by sight here at the plant and not just because someone’s pointed them out to me at one point or another. For the most part I’ve worked with them on some little thing or another; it doesn’t take a social butterfly to meet people after all, just a willingness to hold out a hand once in a while and ask how you can help.


* As so many have pointed out it’s still a wonder I’m married at all.


Mass Appeal

7 March 2009

Dear J-

I always liked riding the subway; when I got to college one of the first things we did as a dorm group was ride the subway (my first subway ride, incidentally) over to San Francisco for the day — through the Transbay Tube, transferring to a surface trolley using the SF MUNI system, and then disembarking in the Haight-Ashbury district (where the only evidence of the past was the lingering smell of patchouli; a Ben and Jerry’s occupied the attention and mind of our generation at the end of the day).

Likewise, when I first moved to Boston I remember staying up to memorize the route I needed:  from the airport, Blue Line, transfer via Green Line to the Red Line and out at Central Square.  It felt like a matter of necessity:  who knew what kind of thugs lurked out there on East Coast subterranean trains at night?  Once I got used to the stares, though (when I was there, perhaps the most underrepresented group on Boston public transit was Asians) I got to like it even more than before:  cheaper, and with more destinations.

Now I’m in San Diego, and I have yet to ride the trolley (there having been, at some point, a clear decision that folks north of I-8 disdain public transit to the point where it’s not even offered as a serious alternative).  Then again, I have yet to support either a Charger or Padre game in the nearly eight years we’ve been here, so perhaps it’s just a question of laziness on my part.