Archive for the ‘I Don’t “Do” Kids (AKA: Your Kid is Not Cute)’ Category

  • Monday Morning: DART Story of the Week

    4

    I’m sure that I’ll rant about public transportation more than just on Mondays, but I think for a while, I’ll try to share an awesome story with you every Monday morning. And let’s face it, that’s one less day I have to think about content, right?

    We should get things started off with a bang, too, so I’ll start with the only day that I’ve wished for a car.

    My boss, who can’t remember how to attach files to emails, has a really hard time understanding that the train runs on a schedule. And if I’m not there when it leaves…I can’t get on it. So he’s constantly just asking me one more thing or making endless small talk as I watch my train leave the station.

    The day in question was one of those days. I usually leave the office at 4:00 pm, to catch the 4:13 train. It takes 20 minutes to get to my stop from the office. That day, I had missed the 4:13 and the 4:28 and was running to catch the 4:43. I reached my stop just a little past 5:00 pm and went to wait for my bus. The 5:10 bus.

    Twice in the three months before this day, the 5:10 bus had not shown up at all. Every other time I had to take it, it was very late. And so I sat down to wait.

    And wait. And wait. And wait.

    The buses are on a 20-minute schedule at that time of day. By 5:30, the time for the next bus, I was still waiting.

    And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

    It was a cloudy, humid day. One of the first hot days of the year. The sky was so swollen with rain, it looked like it might explode.

    Tick. Tick. Tick.

    Finally, at 5:45, when I could have walked home nearly twice (it takes about 25-30 minutes) in the time I had been waiting for the bus, I stalked off toward home.

    About halfway across a parking lot, I saw the bus FINALLY coming around the corner. I ran to catch it at the next stop.

    Safely on the bus, I figured my troubles were over.

    At the next stop, there was a woman waiting. She was not a small woman. She couldn’t climb the two stairs to get on the bus, so the driver had to activate the handicap-person hydraulic system for her. This system is slower than Christmas. The woman finally made it on the bus, sat down and left her walker out in the aisle; she immediately starting having the loudest conversation ever with the bus driver…about coupons. As our bus was pulling back out into the street, the 5:50 bus (of the same route) passed us. It stopped at the next stop and we passed it.

    We, however, got to stop for the CAN! Academy kids. One of whom, who was at most 14, was pushing an enormous stroller with her infant in it. Cue hydraulic system again. When the kids got their kid on the bus, they found themselves at an impasse. The large woman’s walker was still in the middle of the aisle (as was half of herself), and she wasn’t really interested in moving it. The bus driver refused to go until they sorted it out. We sat at the intersection through three lights and the rest of my patience.

    The 5:50 bus passed us once again, as we got underway. We were close to my stop, so I thought, again, that my pain was about to end. I pushed the dingy-bell, requesting a stop. The bus driver…ignored it.

    I jumped up and said, “HEY! That’s my stop.”

    She said, “Well, that other bus is behind me, so I can’t stop there.” It does no good to yell at bus drivers, but keeping my mouth shut was the hardest thing I had done all day.

    I had to get off at the next stop, which meant that I ended up walking half a mile home anyway. And the guy who got off the bus with me?

    “Hey. How you doin’?”

    “Sir, you can fuck off.”

    “Why you gotta be that way?”

    “Because I am having a bad fucking day and you are just going to piss me off.”

    By the time I got home, I pretty much hated everyone. Even myself.

  • The Joys (and Sorrows) of Public Transportation

    0

    Photo Courtesy of DART.org

    Just recently, I read a post on Zen Habits (one of my favorite blogs) about the lessons to be learned from riding mass transit.

    I’ve been without a car myself for nearly six months, and I wanted to write about this anyway, but Leo has given me a good excuse. And that is: I disagree. Not completely, but on several points.

    If you haven’t read the post, you can find it here.

    So far, there has been only one day in which I literally threw my hands up in the air, used an expletive, and wished (fervently) for a car. No car magically appeared in front of me, so I’m still car free. Also, I’m just learning about exactly how hot it is in Dallas in the summer. Our fair city has had several days over 100 degrees already, which I’m pretty sure is unusual. Thanks, global climate change.

    I gave up my car, officially, on December 23, 2010. Mostly because it broke and the repairs were going to cost more than the car itself. Since I had been working on making some changes in my life anyway, I decided to see what life would be like in Dallas, Texas without my own vehicle.

    My parents still think I’m nuts.

    I live near enough to a train station (about 1.5 miles), and there are several bus stops near my apartment. Our office recently moved, and now, instead of being a mile from a train station, we are across the street from one.

    In February of this year, around the time that Dallas was to host the Superbowl, we experienced some extreme weather. The temperature dropped drastically, with windchills into the single digits. I thought, then, “If I can get through THIS? I can get through anything.” I bundled up and braved the elements and I didn’t die.

    One important lesson: Hiking boots are not suitable for the concrete jungle. Even if it’s freezing and wet, running shoes are a better choice (traction on ice is maybe the only exception). I really messed up my calves using my hiking boots to keep my feet warm. The lady at Run-On! was not happy with me, and I’m still dealing with some of the effects.

    I’m here to tell you now that I was wrong. Three months of 100+ degree weather, plus humidity, is going to be far more difficult to get through than a week or two of really cold. I’m melting out here.

    And this is where I take issue with Leo’s lessons (I’m not arguing that his points don’t apply to him, just that they’re not universal). While yes, I believe there are some wonderful things about not having a car, Leo is in San Francisco. Home to some rather perfect weather, from what I hear. Having to deal with 100 degree swings in temperature is no small feat. And it certainly adds to the number of items of clothing I have to own.

    In Dallas, we always say that layers are the key to handling the sometimes 50 degree change in temperature on any given day. However, layers are more difficult when you don’t have your own vehicle. Who wants to be carrying around 5 extra layers of clothing when it gets hot?

    Leo’s first lesson:

    1. How to wait. Mass transit isn’t always on time (surprise!). But rather than look at that as a reason why riding buses and trains suck, we learn how to see that as an opportunity. My boys climb trees while I do pullups and (admittedly rudimentary) gymnastics from a low branch. We tell jokes and I swing the little kids around. We share things with each other, make each other laugh. It’s a good time.

    I think this is super…for him. But I’m not (yet) self-employed and there really aren’t any gymnastics trees near my bus or train stops. Not that I couldn’t benefit by doing any kind of pull-up, even the rudimentary variety. But that’s a story for another day. When my bus in the morning is late (as it almost always is) it makes me late for my train, which is often early anyway, and then I’m late for work. When I’m late for work, my boss isn’t happy. When my bus is early? The next one doesn’t come for 20 minutes, and it’s usually late, causing me to…you guessed it, be late for work. See above for frowny boss.

    I have a lot of patience for a lot of things, but this just isn’t one of them. And if I were talking about two or three minutes, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. At minimum, my bus is usually eight minutes late in the morning. The afternoon bus is often 15 minutes late or doesn’t show up at all. That is a sign of a failing system and DART needs to address it. Shorter bus routes, faster hydraulics on the handicap-person lift, whatever it may be. Fifteen minutes late on a 20 minute bus schedule is just ridiculous.

    Yes, I sit and read a book. Yes, I’m polite to the driver. Yes, I know that this will probably never change (unless I move to Japan where buses and trains actually run on schedule).

    The only other of Leo’s lessons that I take issue with is this one:

    3. How to deal with humanity. We’re often shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, which is something you never experience with a car. We deal with smells, with annoying people, with those who talk loudly, with the mentally challenged, with plain crazy people. In other words, with people. And this is a great thing. We learn that we come in all shapes and sizes, that life isn’t the perfect picket fences you see on TV, that the world is real … and that that’s OK. We’re learning to celebrate differences.

    Ummm…riding public transportation is just making me hateful. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. I’m not saying that riding public transportation isn’t a huge diversity day lesson. It is. I’m just saying that I’m having a lot more trouble than Leo in this department. I’m having a hard time seeing the bright side of people who don’t shower. Men who won’t stop hitting on me. Women who want to borrow my chapstick. People who have no volume control. People who listen to their music without earbuds.

    You see my point?

    I’d love to just look at this as a bright, shiny lesson in humanity. Instead, I’d like for people to be taught manners and hygiene. And also for them to get out of my personal space.

    Maybe after a year without a car, I’ll feel differently?

    Having said all of that, I DO like not having a car. I like that I’m doing something good for the planet. It’s saving me a TON of money on maintenance and insurance. It’s a good excuse to actually be home more. I’m getting more exercise (which I’m pretty sure is just leading to eating more, as I haven’t lost a pound, but instead have gained about 10). I’m learning to be more patient (sort of).

    I can’t say it would work for everyone, but I feel really good about my decision. And you can watch this space for rants about late buses!

  • We need to talk.

    7

    It’s about rompers.

    Look, I know what you’re thinking, okay? I’ve been gone a while, so who am I to be sticking my nose in your fashion sense?

    Trust me on this one. I don’t care if it’s on every runway in New York, Milan, and Paris. It’s a onesie. And you’re an adult.

    Side note: If you’re not an adult, you should probably not be reading this, as I have a tendency to use the word fuck and talk about sex. At the very least, don’t tell your mother.

    Listen. I’m all for childhood nostalgia. I still eat the occasional Lick M Aid (now called Fun Dip, I suspect because of what happens when you try to google Lick M Aid…those spaces are VERY important). I’ve been known to put my hair in braided pigtails when I’m working out. But this? Is taking it too far.

    Just in case you haven’t noticed, it’s also an invitation to the worst camel toe you’ve had in your life. Like, wedgie meets camel toe in an unfortunate “get your ass juice in your vagina” kind of way. And at your age? You don’t want to be messin’ around with that.

    For those of you who are wondering, I’m still just as passionate about leggings/tights as pants. I’ve just added this to the list.

    And while we’re on the subject, I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ve already read Mandy’s rant about Julie Klausner’s rant about women acting like little girls to attract men. If you haven’t, go read them both. I’ll wait.

    Not that it’s necessary, but I do want to add my two cents to the…debate? Discussion. Whatever is going on here.

    I agree with a lot of the points Julie makes in her blog. I think it’s sad when women are scared to be intellectual or funny, because they don’t want to intimidate men. I also believe that this is a phenomenon that is pretty much solely settled on women. I know no men who act like babies, so they don’t scare away potential female mates.

    Of course, I could be wrong there.

    HOWEVER, Julie. HOWEVER.

    I believe that this sort of snap judgment based on superficial things is what feminism came about to fight. I don’t want to be judged purely based on the superficial fact that I was born with boobs and a vagina. To switch the focus to judging people based on wearing converse or having pig tails or liking cartoons or Cap’n Crunch (the boyfriend says it is not Captain) or wearing stilettos or a short skirt isn’t really what I’d call progress. That’s just deciding how women should be and act all over again.

    Maybe that girl in the short skirt and the converse with her hair in pigtails has a masters degree in Russian literature and could be one of the most interesting and intelligent people you’ll ever meet, but you didn’t bother to speak to her because of her outfit.*

    I also think that, in general, we’re increasingly treated like children. Both men and women. I have some thoughts on why this is, but I know that if I use the words “industry” and “consumerism” most of you will probably think I’m a communist. A conversation with my Grandmother (yes, I capitalized it because that’s what I call her) paints a similar picture.

    Grandmother, upset that my cousin is dropping out of school, because she can’t afford it and food: “I just don’t want her to throw her life away.”

    Me: “Well, she’s only 21. That’s practically a kid.”

    Grandmother: “Practically a kid? When I was her age, I was married and pregnant with my third child!”

    That conversation really stuck with me. I know I didn’t feel like a real adult until I was about 26. I can’t even imagine being married and having kids by that age. We’re pushing adulthood and maturity further and further into the future, so we don’t have to deal with reality. Because reality sucks.

    And that? THAT is how grown women end up wearing onsies out in public.

    See how I tied that together?

    And Shia LeDouche? Should have quit while you were ahead. Which, I think, was when you were 12.

    *Leggings as pants, rompers, and ridiculously saggy pants not included. Sorry, I just can’t take it.

  • A modified stance on leggings as pants. Yes, you can call me Dr. Seuss.

    25

    I’m sure you never thought it would happen. I know I didn’t. But, given recent discovery, I’m forced to modify my position on leggings as pants.

    HEAR ME OUT.

    I still think this is ridiculous and that if you can’t cover your ass, you should be wearing PANTS. Okay? If we could all just get on board with this, my life would be a much more beautiful thing.

    Lately, though, there’s a new phenomenon. At least, in the douchier parts of Dallas. I don’t no what to call it except “not bothering to wear ANYTHING as pants.”

    Hi, I don’t want to see your ass, your underwear, your vagina, or the fact that you haven’t waxed in a while. We are not in pole dancing class, we are in PUBLIC. What is WRONG WITH YOU?

    The latest trend seems to be this: Wear an oversized men’s-style button-down shirt, belted around the waist, with…your ass hanging out the bottom. Or the slits up the sides so high I can see those little red panties you’re wearing.

    WHY?

    I know it’s hot here, but come the fuck on, ladies. It’s just disgusting.

    So I will concede this: If your choice is between “not cover my ass and wear leggings” and “just hang my naked ass out there,” please PLEASE choose the leggings. You still disgust me, but I probably won’t have to vomit on you.

    And men? This saggy pants thing? Can we be done with it now, please? I got an eyeful of a 15-year-old boy’s underpants at the Rangers game (AND he was wearing a JETER shirt) on Sunday, all because he couldn’t be bothered to wear his shorts around his WAIST or HIPS where they’re supposed to be worn. Also, I could just tell that he was a little jerkface. With acne.

    /shouting