If you haven’t read the first two parts of my adventures in public transportation, check them out first.
After my interview with the good looking urban planner (to be fair, I had no idea what he looked like, nor did it matter, prior to the interview – just bonus points), I decided to high tail it back to the bus stop.
Just look for the silver bus, right?
All the buses have silver on them. My attempt to segregate out the appropriate public transportation based on color scheme (which is how it works in Boston and in many other cities) failed.
Now, thousands of people use public transportation in Los Angeles on a daily basis with no problem. I somehow defied the odds and am incapable of understanding the system out here, which involves memorizing bus numbers. Downtown LA has probably 500 bus stops, and each bus stop has a sign posting 4 to 8 different bus numbers.
After wandering around a bit, getting sweatier and more annoyed (it was hot out), I asked a local pedestrian for assistance. She didn’t seem the type that would rape or mug me, although she had two giant dogs (which, she explained, were to keep her safe from being raped or mugged). I certainly did not feel safe around those dogs. They looked at me and thought ‘lunch’. I looked at them and thought ‘uh oh’.
I finally wander to some sort of bus stop and a bus rolls up. I ask them ‘hey, does this go to the green line?’ The guy thinks for a bit and goes ‘yeah’!
About 40 minutes later, I’m still on the bus (it should have been like, 13 minutes). The bus changes drivers. My mouth asks the new driver ‘does this go to the green line?’; my eyes ask ‘oh god help me where the hell am I?’. He does not know and will try to find out.
In the meantime, I’m on the bus easily for another 35 minutes, posting status updates to my Facebook so that my entire friends list may feel my pain.
Here are some highlights from my 90+ minutes on the bus from hell:
- I saw parts of LA that most people never see. Third world countries. It was truly amazing, from an anthropological point of view
- I watched a woman repeatedly hit her 6 year old child on his head. I thought about saying something, but she would have beat me, too
- There is a TV on the bus displaying trivia, and every other trivia question was extremely morose. Did you know that charqui is llama jerky? Seriously. That was a trivia question.
- Buses make me motion sick
I finally got to the effing Green line. Here is some of the public art that greeted me when I got up to the station (click on the picture to see a larger version):
REALLY? REALLY NOW? But wait! Look behind the hideous public art – what do you see? A person! With a BIKE!
I started chatting the guy up – he was on his way to Bicycle Kitchen (one of the social organizations that helps people with bike maintenance). So that was a positive.
I finally make it back to where my car is, and start walking the LONG WALK back to my car, when I notice the last fine example of public art that decorates the metro stations. Look closely at the image below, what do you see? It’s a person covering their face with their arms in a protective stance, while some kind of sharp impact (bullet? train crash? ninja?) explodes on their chest.
Holy sh!t, Los Angeles. And so, I conclude my adventures in public transportation.