Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Seeing and Not Seeing the Sign

Trying to work out a few thoughts. A few weeks back I was in downtown Los Angeles. Mass transit is so much better than it was when I got here. There was a transit infrastructure until the late 1950s when the push for freeways and selling cars became to great to ignore.

By the 1960s the trolleys were gone and bus service was an oxymoron. You had to be a broke or a moron to ride the system. In the 1980s I caught the tail end of that era when some of the drivers really hated the passengers and didn't care all that much more for the RTD.

Not kidding about the hate part. There was this one drive that had an elaborate sign system rigged on the fare box. It went something to the effect that I am the driver, not customer service. The fare is fifty cents, a transfer is 25 cents, step behind the white line and do not talk to the driver.

He meant it. You didn't ask him for nothing.

Red Line Train Station Sign
Time passes, court ordered mast transit reform begins a new phase. There are new non-polluting buses, underground trains and express routes. This is a good thing but looking at that sign makes me queasy.

The water damage is apparent. The concrete has a rust seam and the tiles have seen better days. I try to forget that I'm underground but I notice details like this all of the time. It looks solid but there are fissures.

The train stations are ok. They are kept well for the number of people that flow through it.

It is just that I remember that I put up a mighty verbal fight about stepping foot on an L.A. subway. I got over it because I needed to go some place quick that involved getting money.

I find money is an excellent motivator for me. I do map out the escape doors and pathways so I know I can get out and back up to the street if I have too. I ride the train looking at the pipes and the hidden doors. In case of trouble I'm not staying underground for nothing.

People are talking more and more about escape routes. The number of people blessing me is on the uptick. Normally this is not a problem cuz I need all the help I can get. However, I get the impression there is some kind of quota system in effect.

Something like how many of the heathens can be converted by May 21st, October 21st or an as yet undetermined day in 2012?

I have Octavia Butler's Parable of the Talents on my mind and it is kinda like looking and not looking at that sign. Good people will do bad things and worse people will raise them double or nothing.

Then again, I fully expect just another day. Except for the cracks and fissures.

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