Public transportation has a bad reputation in the United States. Those who often use it are at the lowest levels of society. They are the people who work tirelessly to ensure society functions. These are the men you see at the malls sweeping up the boogers from the floor. At least, growing up in a middle-class town, this is what I was told by all the white people with cars around me. Public transportation is dependence on strangers. The direction America is headed, we like to do everything ourselves.
As an adult I see the value in public transportation. I haven’t had a car for a few years now because it’s not really necessary. Parking is nearly impossible in my town anyway. Unless you don’t mind driving around for hours or placing your car on top of a group of children, you’re going to have a lot of frustrations owning a motor vehicle.
Jenny has gotten a nice taste of American public transportation in her month-plus in the United States. She is forced to ride the bus sometimes and has even had the pleasure of riding the train. The Philippines isn’t very big on trains at all so it’s a new experience for her. Back in her homeland, they prefer the Jeepney or dying from heat stroke then having your body transported to wherever it was you needed to go before death visited.
The first time we rode the train together, I think, was to the Filipino supermarket a few towns over. It was a relatively safe ride except on the way back she encountered a scary black man who thought flirting with girls loudly and talking about beers and fighting people was the way to their pants. He stayed away from us because I look tough and didn’t shower that morning. Still, she was startled that someone could be so forthcoming, loud, and extroverted. It was mostly the latter on that list that disturbed her. Seriously, who the hell wants to meet new people?
We’ve gone on a few other, safer train rides too. Just last week we were set to take off for our journey home when some woman informed us we were on the incorrect train. So, we dashed off before the doors could close. I asked an angry looking conductor if his train, which was located across the platform, was going to our destination. He said something like “No. You have to figure that out yourself.” Thankfully we did. Even better, one day he’ll be dead.
Since Jenny got here I feel like I’ve taken more public transportation than I had been. Usually I’ll take the same train to work and see the same people. There’s the guy with the skateboard, the mean short butch lesbian, and the girl with the horse face. Over the last month, we’ve needed to hop on buses or take trains to other locations with a different cast of characters. Jenny doesn’t seem to really like it much other than the fact that she can avoid walking in the freezing temperatures.
From these bonus moments riding public transportation I have noticed the one constant trend is that the people who work on each are rather miserable. The bus drivers are grumpy and probably wish they’d crash. In fact, not once did I see any snort cocaine to stay awake! Are they trying to fall asleep at the wheel?
As for the workers on the train, our last ride nobody ever came around to collect our tickets. For all we know that was a ghost train. I’m pretty sure neither of us has talked to anyone since so it is very possible that we’re dead. Please comment below to clarify we do still exist.
Luckily we haven’t had any long train rides. In the summer I do plan to take Jenny to her first American beach. I’ll force her to ride the train for about an hour to get there. It’s either that or ask a friend or family member to drive us there. God willing, we never have to resort to such a heinous act.