Monday, October 02, 2006

The Crazy Train

At almost thirty years of age I have never once in my life owned any sort of motorized transport (unless you count that one time I hooked a guy up to electric nipple clamps and rode him around the back yard like an epileptic AT-AT). For the better part of three decades I've managed to get by on my own two feet and the odd bicycle when I can keep one from getting stolen or impressively falling apart underneath me. Aside from those times in life where getting from point A to point B is too far for my little legs to carry me I really enjoy not having a car. It's very affordable, parking is a breeze, and there's no such thing as having too perky a butt.

However, living up here in fair Portlandia there comes a time of year when riding my bike is just not very practical. I'm not the psychotically dedicated type that will try to ride my bike home through a blizzard. At least not any more, that's a mistake you only have to make once. As the weather turns brisk and the leaves all turn that lovely shade of almost-dead it comes time to put my bike away for the winter and exchange it for a bus pass.

And therein lies the problem. There are two modes of public transport up here. There's the high-tech and usually quite clean MAX system that ferries working stiffs from the outlying territories into the city proper so that they can be productive little consumer bees, and then there's the regular bus system. You know the one I'm talking about. This is where all the hard cases go, those burnt-out used up revenants of humanity who's only goal in life seems to be getting more cracked out than Whitney Houston. I'll grant that the MAX usually smells like pee, but the bus usually smells like the crushed dreams of people that haven't showered since the mid-80s. Personally, I'll take a little urine stink over the emaciated lady screaming and hollering about why the girls don't like her as she clings to my shirt hem. Pee odor is something you can at least tune out.

Had I my druthers I'd be riding the MAX to and from work, happily gazing at the world as it melts past my window, or lazily reading my latest collection of short stories as the automated voice on the P.A. system narrates my trip through life. But I live too close to town for that service. Instead, I get to wait in front of the Plaid Pantry trying not to make eye contact with the random black guy hanging out trying to sell me something. No, I'm not remotely racist, but I've yet to have a random white guy with a hard-luck story try to sell me a leather jacket or cell phone service on the street. The white people just ask for money or scream and yell at cracks in the sidewalk for talkin' smack 'bout their baby's mama. Only a great fool talks smack about someone's baby's mama, at least that's what I've heard from the mumblings around the methadone clinic located a few blocks away from my house. So I don my hoodie, plug myself into my iPod, and do everything I can to get through the winter without getting sandwiched between two overweight mongoloids having a marital dispute.

All aboard the Crazy Train, next stop: the out-patient clinic for the pathologically high-spirited.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your sense of humor cracks me up! Thanks for the late night entertainment:)
~jess

9:40 PM, October 02, 2006  
Blogger Hot Toddy said...

I am trying to decide whether to catch the bus right outside my apartment or walk a few blocks to a MAX station. I think, thanks to you, I've decided on the MAX.

2:38 PM, October 09, 2006  
Blogger Don C. said...

I highly recommend ditching the white ear buds. People see those things and think, "hey, a free Ipod! I think I'll jack him". Well, that's one way to avoid trouble. The other way is to simply not think like a victim. Fear has a way of manifesting itself. People are mammals, after all.

Well met,

Don C.

2:48 PM, May 03, 2008  

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