Bus Tale: A Rant

Aside from rolling my eyes at those Negative Nellies and Neds curling up an upper lip to sneer at any number of downtown Hartford's positive steps towards improvement, I've noticed- (for a while now)- another trend amongst Connecticut's resident Hartford booers and hissers... Disdain towards people who take public transportation. While taking the T might seem like a normal occurrence for many a Bostonian and utilizing MTA is par for the course for most New Yorkers, I've found myself constantly needing to defend myself for choosing not to drive, to people from my home state... and why should I have to? I'm a product of the urban landscape and hopping a bus to get to school (especially after having missed the yellow bus) or to get wherever else I need to go has always been a normal part of my life. I've never needed to rely on anyone to take me anywhere I've ever wanted or needed to go. The moment people have noted me needing to dash off to catch the bus they automatically launch into a host of reasons why they can't offer me a ride... shuffling their feet as they express regret ; "Oh, I'd offer you a ride, but I need to go pick up my son/daughter" or "Sorry, I can't drive you, because I've gotta get to my Zumba class, plus I'm not going in that direction."  In which case (after a *blank stare*), I point out to them in a matter-of-fact tone, that I never asked them for one to begin with, much to their dismay... because after having been gently glove-slapped across the face, I've had those very same people DEMAND that I take a ride from them the following week or insist on knowing how I managed to find my way to some social event sans a car. And don't get me started on the dates that have ended on a sour note, because some jerk automatically assumes he'll have to become my personal chauffeur... Umm, really?? If they could be so lucky to be taken on what would make for an interesting and titillating ride ;-p 
One of the primary reasons why I think people here find taking the bus so repugnant has a lot to do with classism. Yes... I said it. Residents currently living or who have grown up outside Hartford's perimeter, in suburban and rural areas either move to Hartford or some equivalent CT city and embrace being able to utilize public transportation or they don't know the first thing about how mass transit functions at all and so will harbor and add to an already discriminatory attitude towards Hartford dwellers, for apparently not only are most of us niggers, spics, drug users, unworthy of happiness, insignificant, sad, incapable, gun toting thugs, uneducatedtrash or whatever other myriad of insults they hurl on the Courant comment boards and amongst their neighbors, but according to the memo (I must've purposely missed it), only CT's lower class/losers/minorities ride the bus, can't afford to drive a car, and are probably unemployed. No  self-respecting employed professional would ever dream of boarding a bus with the riff-raff *(drips with obvious sarcasm)*  EVERYONE should want to drive a car everywhere and MUST enjoy doing it.  It's impractical to take CT Transit. It's a lame system... Notwithstanding that it's still better than many other ones or even exists for that matter... it's still laaame! and so the foolery of the arguments go. 
Once while on a semi-date- (and after the schlub stopped blathering on about his visits to his therapist and how evil his ex-wife was)- I was asked, "What if your mother has an accident and needs to get to the hospital?" I reminded him that my sister lived close by, has a car, and generally most people would probably dial 911 in the event of an emergency. My answer was fruitless and unsatisfactory;  "How do you GET anywhere?" he kept demanding to know... "I get to where I WANT to go without incident. 9 times out of 10, I've no desire to frequent any rural parts of CT. What would be the point? What use would I have for Enfield or Wallingford... Is it hopping out there?" It went back and forth until I grew bored and until I discovered he grew up and still lived somewhere on the shoreline and drove into Hartford for work every morning. Made perfect sense. Not only was he a self-important ignoramus but he had no sense or concept as to how the metropolitan mind works. Furthermore, I opine that those CT residents who have the most contempt for the bus and people who ride it don't understand how to utilize the system and have never taken mass transit in their adult lives. That's my argument and I'm sticking to it. The sole point they try to argue is; that public transit riders are shit out of luck and can't navigate as easily. I say it's just the opposite. I can't count how many people I know, who actually LIVE within the boundaries of Hartford/Hartford County, panic when they're having car troubles. They'll convulse and explode into a sweaty, sticky mass as if they're in the throes of a sugar rush when faced with the prospect of needing to ride the bus... mostly because they don't know how to nor do they understand the way the schedule or routes function. 
Listen, if you want to drive everywhere, be my guest, but don't unfairly judge other people because they choose to bus (or bike) to work or wherever else. Contrary to popular belief, it's an extremely convenient and cost effective way to get around... waiting and all and many people do it because that's their preference. It's no more inconvenient than having to maintain the cost of having a car.  Whether you have faith in mass transit- (and yes sometimes hopping in a car can be convenient)- or not, it still would benefit car seat warmers to at least learn the system "In Case Shit" (© Chris Rock) happens. Not every bus taker needs or even wants a ride from you nor are people who choose to take advantage of public transportation in this state, poor, uneducated bottom feeders (I've seen how some of you act in the comfort of your cars when you think no one's paying attention...).  Rarely ever would you see or experience that level of stereotyping over taking the bus or subway in NYC or any other major city. At the end of the day, when your car gets totaled and you feel lost, confused, and discombobulated over not knowing how you'll get around... what does that make you? Rant over. 

3 comments

  1. ShanghaiL8:22 PM

    All valid points to me! I agree that people shouldn't criticize others that choose or have to take public transportation. Preach on! *fist pumping in the air*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Over the winter, I decided that it would benefit me to take the bus to work. Whenever I'd mention to people that I'd had a pleasant ride in on the bus, their eyes would widen and they'd say, "I didn't know you were having car problems! I'll give you a lift home!" (or, as you said, the awkward reasoning on why they can't give me a ride home that I never asked for.) Though I happily own a car, sometimes I like to take a backseat. Though it can take me up to 20 minutes longer to reach my destination, I'm willing to sacrifice that time to not have to deal with traffic and discourteous drivers. Especially with the winter that we had, getting to work on unplowed roads in my tiny car would have me stressed out by the time I walked in the office. Riding the bus with my Kindle and headphones on allowed me time to myself before my busy day began. I even rejected rides home so I could have that much needed period of decompression that the bus allowed me after work.

    It's amazing to me how many people in the Hartford area commend bike riders but act as if the bus is for teens and hobos. There's room for all of us to get around!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous1:52 PM

    I understand how you feel because before I was able to buy a car I was hopping the bus with an infant. Very difficult especially when you have your work bag, diaper bag and sometimes a little grocery bags. Now that I've been driving for what several years, for myself I can't imagine taking the bus now because of sheer convenience. I'm so used to hopping in the car and jetting where I need to be, that when my car breaks down, you're right I'm at a lost because I start thinking of all the bus trips I may need to take to get to picking up my daughter, going shopping, the list goes on. However, since I have taken the bus before, if forced to do so I wouldn't have any issues with it. As long as you get to where you need to go, who cares and who spends time discussing with someone why they dont' drive. Some people just don't like having to deal with other motorists. Even I get tired of driving sometimes. Also there are people with a license and that have a car to drive who choose to still take the bus to save money for parking and gas. And common sense, if mom was sick and needed emergency attention the most logical thing to do is call 911.

    ReplyDelete