I take the red line from NoHo to my excellent job Downtown every day and Metro takes me to the dark place inside myself that prematurely turns me into a grumpy old man. Or… grumpier old man if you must.
I don’t care what idealized vision you have of mass transit, but it’s awful.
I began riding it to work when I was a code monkey at LegalZoom.com in Hollywood. It is mighty convenient and the places I’ve worked get some sort of tax break or something, so they reimburse me for my parking and my metro pass. That’s pretty great.
Driving in L.A., however, is worse than the subway, so since showbiz has put me out to pasture and I must work 5 days a week for the money my loop group friends make in a few hours, I’ve been fortunate enough to land jobs where I can ride the subway to work. (If you think I complain, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard a loop group person complain. “They made us do THREE TAKES of grunts!!!”)
The L.A. metro is awful. It is just awful. It’s noisy and uncomfortable. The passengers are inconsiderate and rude. Since we’re mass transit customers, we are basically sheep. An upside to that, I suppose, is that everyone obeys the rules; mainly the “no food or drink” rule. Which is nice as I’ve been on the train when there are people who don’t follow that rule and, well, if it’s not your own food, it smells like doo.
When I first began riding, it was filled with homeless people. They would just ride it all day… back and forth from Union Station to North Hollywood. A stop has been put to that. They clear the cars at the termination point, but it was soooo weird.
I get a cup of the finest coffee (7-Eleven… Seriously.. best coffee around, but those little creamers suck my nutz badly.) and hold it. It cools off nicely by the time I get to 7th/Metro. You would not believe the “discussion” I got into with a security guard. I have a hard enough time with authority figures, so the fact that I’m not in prison to this day for head-butting an idiot with a badge who couldn’t understand that “holding” is not “drinking”. The sign doesn’t say “No food or drinks” it says “No drinking or eating”, sir. Wildly different.
Besides the fact that it’s free for me and I don’t spend as much on gas as I would (two things I’m certainly not ignoring… I’m grateful for them), if I can get a seat (more on this later), I can manage to “sleep” for the 25 minutes of the trip.
It’s an odd sleep. I’ve only ever really fallen completely asleep once. Aks the bride: I often have um, “active” dreams and this one was no different. I was strangling someone in the dream. In the real world that becomes squeezing the cup and splling coffee everywhere.
Maybe the security guard had a point. Whatever. Dick.
Back to the whining and complaining that I do so often and well:
At first, I was excited because I was actually riding the subway to work and saving money and could lord it over any hippie like a composte or hybrid car. But at a certain point, which takes about 4 years it seems, the excitement wore off and I realized “Wait a fucking minute. The L.A. Metro is just a very fast and expensive bus.”
I do what I can to block it all out. I listen to books. Angry Birds helped me through it all for about a month. I sleep. But… that’s once I’m on. That’s the least horrible part. Probably because I’m usually asleep or something.
This is what I see on the Los Angeles Metro EVERY DAY:
1) People running to STAND on the escalator.
This is a two part peeve – (great name for a band!!!)
First, there is a simple etiquette observed on escalators: Stand on the right – walk on the left. The rest of the world understands this… why can’t we in Los Angeles? B) If you’re in such a hurry, why stand on the escalator? Why not continue walking?
I know why, actually. Because people are standing on the left side of the escalator. Since this is Los Angeles and we are all narcissists and can do no wrong, suggesting to someone that they move to the side one step is met with “IF YOU WANT TO WALK, TAKE THE FUCKING STAIRS!!!” I hate confrontation. Why? Because the ones in my head end up with me throat punching someone.
2) A “Cool Kid” sitting on the steps at the NoHo Station as the rush hour train lets out. It’s already an unpleasant mom scene. We understand that you are a rebel and are mad at the world, dude, but really, how about sitting somewhere else? We notice you. You are tortured. We get it. And another thing. Pull up your fucking pants.
3) Men not offering their seats to women or the elderly. Today, March 31, on both trips I got up to offer my seat to a woman and it was promptly snaked by a man. A man younger than me, by the way.
It’s called chivalry. Look it up.
4) “Cool Kids” and others running from the train and pushing people so they can sit down on the bus.
The NoHo red line ends on Lankershim but it continues on as “the Orange Line”, which is just a space age looking bus. Bus drivers love to leave people behind, and every loser in L.A. who rides the bus knows this, so when the train arrives at the NoHo station it is a sprint from the train to the Orange Line. It’s so depressing. It’s like something out of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”. This crush of humanity… young kids, mothers with strollers, your cleaning lady, aformentioned “Cool Kids”, middle-aged proessional types, students. It makes me realize that if something bad were to ever happen in the subway, it would be, um, bad. I hope to be killed instantly so as not to a) be trampled to death or worse, b) watch people trample others to death.
5) That same “cool kid” blowing a “snot rocket” onto the platform from the train. Fortunately, I’ve only experienced this sort of joy a few times (today, being one. Lucky me!) But: Dis.Gus.Ting. It’s not cool. It’s really not. Dude, we know you don’t care what we think about you. We can tell because you’re dressed like all those other rebels who don’t care what anyone thinks about them. And dude, you’re not that cool. When I was your age, I had a job and a car. You’re riding the bus, loser. (yes, I know…)
6) The heartbreaking sight of a middle-aged to elderly woman, running to the elevator because no one is going to hold the door for her.
See previous comment about subway explosion.
7) Hey, “Cool Kid” again. That song that you’re singing along to *is* great. But… you’re riding the subway. You’re not on stage. I don’t think you ever will be, actually. Someone being “private” in public is so different from someone actually being private in public. Make sense? No. Didn’t think so. Oh yeah: Pull up your pants. Idiot.
8) The person who gets mad at me because there is permit parking and because I, personally, can’t sell them a parking pass.
You, the taxpayer, are actually paying for my parking space at the NoHo station. My work gets some sort of subsidy for reimbursing me for my train ticket and parking. I also claim it as an expense because I cheat on my taxes. Regardless, I have a parking pass. I had to make an effort to buy it. It’s not difficult, but I did make the effort. After about10am, there are NO spaces left at the NoHo station. If you don’t have a permit, you can park in the permit area at 11am. From about 11-1, it’s impossible to find a spot to park.
And… because everyone in the world is entitled to everything, that woman who overslept because she went to see Ke$ha at the Universal Ampitheater the night before can’t find a parking spot at 10:00am. So she drives around a few times and comes over to the permit side and wants to me to tell her everything there is to tell her about permit parking. Invariably, they get mad at me (REALLY!) because they can’t just buy a permit. Becasue I’m a dickhead and there are three other cars that look exactly like mine, I’ve begun telling people that “they never check that one section over there.” and “the fine is only $7.50 if they do catch you.”
I think it’s about $45. I hope so.
In addition to snot rocket man, today there were two young women with bibles. Again, they were being “private” in public. One was reading a passage (Acts, by the way) while the other one followed along. After they were finished, the first one said something like “I think it’s about blah blah blah…” and the other one disagreed; her interpretation was a little different. The first one replied, convinced she was right… she read the bit again. Her friend stopped her in the middle…. “Yeah, right there… they’re saying that…”
This is how wars begin.
On my subway. To hell.
Make no mistake, though: I’m happy to have a job and I’m thrilled I don’t have to drive.
I’d much rather be doing movies & t.v.
And I want a pony. A green one.