I wrote this post when I was still living at the House. I think this is one of my favorites. Some times I really love myself...
Living in a big city seems so romantic...when you aren't living in the city.
Regardless of my former experiences with big cities, before I live lived in DC the thought of taking public transportation was so enthralling to me. I couldn't wait to be one of those urban folk who constantly has bus schedules and line delays running through her head like some kind of neurotic background music. I'm still not fully one of those people, but my friend Shorty is. Shorty is a New Yorker, and she can tell you what bus you need to catch in order to get anywhere in our fair town. Shorty takes public transportation like some people change underwear. I'm not being nasty, that's how the saying goes. Shorty once took a bus from our house, where we have free coffee, to Dunken Donuts to get a coffee. Coffee.
Did you hear me? She took a bus from our house just to get coffee.
My transit knowledge is every growing, but I keep a strict focus on basic survival needs. Home and work are my anchor points. I need to know how to get from home and work.
Metro is no sweat. I had the lines memorized when I interned out here in college and I know the lay of the land pretty well. Just remember --
Green and Yellow, kill a fellow.
East on Orange or Blue? They might knife you.
Glenmont on Red? At night you'll end up dead.
Unless you want a stab, in Southeast you'll take a cab.
My first year here I was almost a 100% metro rider because buses were just too much for me to handle. One, they don't run on fixed tracks and make fixed stops. The driver may go crazy and drive off into the distant with nothing to stop him/her. He/she could also blow past your stop (happened to me) leaving you to walk the 3/4 of a mile back to stop they should have left you at in the first place.
Two, there's less room to stand on a bus. I am not a sitter, I like to stand.
Three, there are more crazy people on the bus than on the metro. Like the man who calls women filthy names under his breath for the entire ride.
Four, buses go to more, shall we say, suspect locations than trains do. Yes, trains go to the hood, but buses go all over the hood. If your driver does go crazy, or if you aren't entirely sure when your stop is coming, you could end up dead in Rock Creek Park. Am I right, dad?
But now I take the bus, risks be darned. It drops me off closer to my house, and I'm tired off popping out of the ground like a mole. Metro in the morning, and bus at night.
This post was supposed to be about all the walking you have to do in a city, and how it seems so fun when you first get there, but when it's part of your daily, all-the-time-life it gets old.
And also about the fact that sometimes I walk home. It's two miles along Penn, then up Constitution. When it's not humid, I love it. I pretend I'm in London or Paris.
Coincidentally, if you ever want to strike up a conversation with a Washingtonian, the weather and Metro delays are you're best bet.