19 October 2006

Train in Vain

I thought it was time for me to talk about something other than clothing; I'm sure everyone who's bothering to read was getting pretty bored with my denim difficulties. You may have noticed that little string of non sequiturs above, under the title. All things I care about, all things I plan on covering here.

One of the defining facts of my life is that I am unable to drive. I've been extremely near-sighted since birth, and thus no DMV in its right mind would issue me a driver's license, and rightly so. So I depend on public transportation for most aspects of my daily life. In a good-sized city this is not so unusual; every morning I see hundreds of other people doing the same thing. But the major difference is, pretty much all of them have some degree of choice. You can choose to live outside the mass transit coverage area but drive to a train station. If you've bought something large online and the delivery requires a signature, you can have it sent to where you work and drive in to get it home. If you just don't want to deal with parking and insurance and all the other hassles of owning a car, you can rent one when you need one. But I can't do any of those things.

Now, I don't want to paint an inaccurate picture. I'm married, my wife has a car, and she does her share of driving on my behalf. But I've had to turn down jobs because they were inaccessible to me, and I've had my share of difficult, tedious, convoluted commutes. Since I graduated from college, everywhere I've lived has been an area that required taking the bus in addition to the subway, which adds layers of time and increases the likelihood of a delay somewhere along the way. My point is that, after more than two decades, I feel I'm thoroughly qualified to discuss (and criticize) the transit system I use every day, and going forward I intend to do that.

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