Transit Nightmares

Essay by badballCollege, UndergraduateA+, August 2005

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I have made every effort to prove myself an ecologically responsible member of the human family. I am aware of the crisis our planet faces unless mankind alters his profligate ways in how we use the Earth's resources. And so I faithfully separate my plastic and paper recyclables. I never litter. I even use a pooper-scooper when I walk my dog. But please don't ask me to take public transportation to get to work. I have tried to use public transport, but each experience has only served to strengthen my resolve to drive to work. I say let global warming continue if preventing it means I must give up my car.

In theory public transportation is quite sound, and it was with this initiate's view that I first stepped onto a bus in Philadelphia about twelve years ago. Everything started out okay. The bus was only about twenty minutes behind schedule; and since I was wearing my heaviest coat, only my hands and feet were frozen when I stepped onto the bus.

Trouble started in earnest when I took a seat and discovered I'd sat in a puddle of what I at that moment hoped was a spilled beverage. Doubts on this point were fueled by the presence of a restrained and whining toddler across the aisle whose pants appeared to be as wet as mine. Moving to another seat, I heard an older child comment, "That man peed himself, mama!" Stifled laughter spread throughout the bus as I finally settled into a seat which offered a view of an especially hateful assortment of racial and sexual prose scrawled onto the back of the seat before me. My return trip that day was no less eventful when four teens boarded with a radio the size of a compact car and...