Friday, September 08, 2006

Things I Don't Miss About L.A.

Oh, so many. But mainly... the traffic.

I guess it's not really true that traffic is something I don't miss about Los Angeles per se - if I wanted to be more accurate (which I don't), I'd have to say it's something I don't miss about working in Los Angeles; although, to be perfectly honest, if I were working here in the Bay Area, the traffic would be at least as bad, possibly worse. And at least in Los Angeles, once you get where you're going, you can find a place to park - unlike here.

In short, what I really don't miss... is driving. I've driven the car exactly once in the last three weeks. It makes me happy not to drive. It makes me happy to take the bus. Yes, even when it's packed so full the driver can't let anyone else on. Because, you see, I live at the end of the line, and I go to school at the other end of the line, so whichever way I'm going I'm always one of the first ones on, and I always get a seat. And I like to sit at the back of the bus, and when you sit at the back of the bus, you never have to give up your seat, because the old, infirm, handicapped, and pregnant have already been taken care of, way up at the front of the bus. At least, I hope they have. Anyway they never seem to make it back to where I'm sitting. Although of course I would give up my seat to anyone who really needed it. Actually, I would give up my seat to anyone who needed it even a little bit more than me. But I do have a really heavy backpack, so in all honesty, I feel I have a good claim on a seat. Incidentally, another advantage to riding in back is that, for some reason, it seems that the really, really smelly people who occasionally ride the bus like to sit toward the front. Don't ask me why.


I've never lived in a place that had good public transportation. LA's public transit system is a well-worn joke, and the town where I grew up was way too small to support a bus system. And maybe someone from New York, or, I don't know, Paris, or London, might sneer at BART and AC Transit. All I know is, even though I've never had mass transit... I've missed it.

The very first day I had to be at school, I had no idea how I was going to get there, short of either driving the car - thereby depriving SW and the kids of any means of getting around all day, which is to say, making it impossible for them to get me a desk at IKEA - or waking up SW and the kids so that they could drive me to school, which believe me was a very poor option. You have no idea, unless you have kids, and maybe not even then.

I couldn't go on the Internet because it wasn't hooked up yet, I didn't have a phone book or the time to figure out how to get the information I needed on the phone... I walked out the front door, headed for the nearest street, looked around - saw a bus stop - walked over and read the schedule. Sure enough, five minutes later, the bus came; twenty minutes after that, it dropped me off in front of the law school.

This sort of thing probably seems commonplace to both of the people who will (probably accidentally) read this post. It still, after three weeks, seems slightly bizarre to me. I had to take the bus to school once in Los Angeles; it took me - no joke - two and a half hours. Admittedly, places in LA are roughly six times as far apart as they would be in a normal city, but still.

Berkeley rocks.


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