May 7, 1999
For years I took public transit to work. I live
right on a major route, and it dropped me off steps
from the office. No worries about parking, traffic
or bad road conditions.
Every morning I packed myself in with the other
commuters and let someone else drive me to work.
The car sat in the driveway, used only to visit
distant relatives or to go major grocery shopping
But then I changed offices, and public transit
just couldn't get me where I was going anymore. So
I've been forced to become a car person.
There are real advantages to driving myself to
work. The company I keep is marginally better, and
I don't have to listen to someone else's rap music
thundering out of their earphones.
Still, there are some things I miss about public
I miss mornings standing next to women (or men)
who buy their perfume in thirty gallon drums. Even
then, judging from how much they slather on, it can
only last them a week. Breathing next to them is
like being beaten to death with a ten-foot vanilla
Then there's the other end of the scale. These
are the people who don't so much need a bath as
they need a good sandblasting. Either that or they
haven't figured out how buttons work. Unable to
wash or change, I figure they're waiting for their
clothes to eventually disintegrate.
I just hope I'm not there when it happens.
Not being a morning person, I did all of my
waking up on the way to work, which is a little
more tricky now that I'm actually required to do
the driving. I'd hang from the bar like a chimp
with one hand and read the paper with the other. I
knew my limits, but other passengers insisted on
juggling a briefcase, newspaper, cell phone and cup
Every bus ride was a lesson in physics. There's
always a handful of passengers who are jerked off
their feet when the light turns green and the bus
takes off. They always look surprised, even though
it happens to them at every stop.
For the science grads in the crowd, this is
Newton's First Law, which roughly translates as:
"If you're not holding on when the bus takes off,
you're going to end up on your butt." The second
part of that scientific principle is that it is
more likely to happen if you're holding a cup of
scalding coffee. Newton must have taken the bus to
And I don't get to play my favorite game
anymore: Guess your neighbour's psychological
problem. Now the only person's sanity I have to
worry about is my own. It was almost as much fun
as playing "Name That Skin Disease" or "Guess What
I Have Under This Bandage".
I miss coming home early and riding with high
school students and playing body-piercing bingo.
To play you mentally divide the human face into a
tic-tac-toe board, and mark off the places you find
metal studs on your fellow passengers.
When you get a full board (or face), you yell
Then everyone on the bus gets to look at you and
wonder who the nut is.