Friday, April 27, 2007

Nuts to Earth: Why I Hate Public Transit

I've been pondering this post for a while, and now seemed like an appropriate time.

Don't mistake me, I see plenty of value in mass transit, especially since it helps me save lots of money for getting to school. But there are a lot of aspects of it that just grate on my nerves. In no particular order:
  • The Smells
There's always something. If it isn't just the general reek of BO from trapping a bunch of people into a small space on a warm day, it's the guys who seem to lack hygiene and smell like the bottom of an ash tray. Seriously, these people must cease smoking only to sleep and ride the train.

And why do they always sit next to me? The other attractive women my age will avoid me like a bald plague, but these guys will sit down next to me on an otherwise empty train. No thanks.
  • The Disorders
I'm constantly telling my sister, a medical student, that she should just skip her rotations and ride the train with me everyday. She'll see more there than any doctor's office.

It's a little bit of everything. The people with mental disorders are interesting. Most seem harmless if amusing, though I do feel a bit nervous when they talk to themselves. One woman actually carried on a loud, raucous conversation with her, um, "friend." I guess if you're going to hear voices, they may as well be entertaining.

However, the physical maladies are more disturbing. For example, the other day I saw a man with what looked like a horn coming out of his forearm. Black and about the size of a human thumb, I have no idea what it was. Maybe he broke his arm and never had it repaired. I don't know. Still . . . gross.
  • The Music
Allowing cell phones to play music was a terrible innovation, especially when combined with speaker phone. There are plenty of jerks (with, wouldn't you know it, terrible taste in music) who feel no shame in sitting there, letting their phones blast out music to the rest of the train, oblivious to the rudeness. Almost as bad are the people who wear headphones but play their music so loudly that I can hear the music coming from their headphones.

This one wouldn't bother me so much except that I usually try to study or grade papers on the train, and trying to concentrate while listening to some guy call out, "Shut up N*gga while I screw this ho or I'll shoot you," (or, well, insert your favorite rap lyrics) tends to be hard. Disruptive to the train of thought and all that jazz.
  • The Cardinals
Okay, so I'm normally a baseball fan, but the baseball games are almost always at times when I'm on my way to school (either in the morning or in the evening). This can be frustrating when I have to stand for 20 min. of my ride and I have a lot of books in my bag. I'll be lucky if I don't give myself scoliosis.

However, it's also an opportunity to mourn for the state of common courtesy. The other day when there was a game, I had to stand for lack of seats. A woman came on the train with two young children in tow, and she tried desperately to hold them both while grabbing a rail to keep herself steady. She stood right next to two men who just ignored her. Nobody offered her their seat. I just couldn't believe it. I hope those two men sleep soundly at night.

Like I said, none of these are deal-breakers when it comes to the transit, but it seemed like an opportunity to share some humorous griping. Well, "humorous" as I can provide, at least.

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