Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life Without A Car.

Being a gal from Southern California, with highways and freeways and miles of road in-between you and a destination, having a car was like having an arm in order to function: A necessity. (Great analogy, I know.)

In fact, the day I turned 16, I chose to go to the DMV.

Did you hear that?

I chose to go to the DMV for my birthday.

Apparently I was crazy. And apparently I was a nerd. But despite what they say about Asian drivers, Michelle got her license and never looked back since (minus those 90 days where my license was suspended because I got a speeding ticket for going 103mph...I guess what they say about Asian drivers is true?).

Anyway, now that we're "City People", living in San Francisco, we don't have a car. Okay, fine, I guess that's not completely true. It's more like, we sold our cars last year so that we could travel the world, and that's why we don't have cars now.

Minor details.

Fortunately, however, San Francisco seems to be very "car-less" friendly for many and they thrive on its public transportation system.

Ah yes, good ol' public transportation.

Every morning, coffee in hand, I walk down to the little bus stop near my house and wait about 2-5 minutes for the 30x bus to come pick me up for work.
SOMETIMES, I get lucky and can snag a seat.
MOSTLY, I get smushed in-between two strangers for 20 minutes.
And let me tell you something, if you're not seated on the bus, that whole balancing thing can be quite tricky. Those bus drivers do not mess around.

For Example: The other day, I got on the bus, was headed to try and get a seat, when the bus driver took off and lurched me forward....straight into the lap of another man.
And I'm not talking seated on the lap of another man, I'm talking HEAD FIRST into the lap of another man. It was weird. It was awkward. And then I had to sit next to the guy for half an hour.

Don't even get me started on the bus rides home!

Okay, fine. Get me started.

It's 5:30pm. Everyone is off work. Everyone wants to go home.And apparently, everyone and their mother wants to take the bus.

I walk down to the little bus station near my work, and wait at the stop with about 8 other people. If I'm LUCKY, the bus will arrive within 5 minutes and I'll be able to squish myself on and ride home (standing room only).

But LATELY, this has been my experience:

I see my bus!

My bus is getting closer!

My bus is not stopping.

My bus is zooming past me.

My bus has left me.

What the?!?!

WHY did the bus zoom past and not stop to pick me up? Well, friend, it is because said bus was too full and the bus driver could not fit another soul on! So off it went, leaving me in the dust.

Now, I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if the next bus just came a few minutes later and got me.

But, NO.

The next bus comes. The next bus is also too full. The next bus passes me, leaving me behind again.

Third bus? Same story.

So there I am, 45 minutes after I'm off work and I'm still waiting at the stupid bus stop.

You know what the sad part is?

I'm only 2.4 miles from my house. Like literally, door to door: 2.4 miles.

I know what you're thinking. "WHY don't you just WALK home, you lazy B?!" 

Good question, friend. And I'll tell you what. I tried that last week. Once.

And let me tell you something else. The hills of San Francisco almost killed me. Killed me! I was huffing and puffing and basically at a 45 degree angle the entire time.

So you know what I did? I called a Lyft to come, pick me up, and drive me the rest of the way home.
Which was probably only like 1/2 a mile and cost me $8.
It's pathetic, I know.

Should I get a car? Only if I want to spend an extra $250 a MONTH to park it.

So you know what I'm going to do? I'm just going to keep taking the dang bus. I'm going to keep falling into the laps of strangers. I'm going to keep getting squished next to stinky people (or maybe it's me that stinks?), and I'm going to keep getting left behind when the bus is too full.

And then, then I'm going to complain about it every now and then.

Mostly to The Dizzle.
Mostly accompanied with wine.

Or, perhaps I should start really considering this option?


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  1. I deal with the same shenanigans every single day. People ask my why I don't drive? Because I refuse to spend $20-30 to park downtown. Why don't I ride my cute Lambretta scooter to work? #1 Parking a scooter or motorcycle will still cost you $10/day and I don't know 'bout you but $50/week eats into my happy hour money and, NO. #2 San Francisco is cold, you need to wear riding gear and the whole changing clothes, shoes and fixing hair/makeup once I get to my professional job gets old fast. #3 I'm an experienced motorcycle and scooter rider (10 years) and have twice laid the damn thing down in the city, both times weren't my fault. First time a tire flew off the back of a flat bed on Van Ness Ave and the second time I had an uninsuranced driver cut me off in a minivan on Mission and Fourth and slam on his brakes right in front of me. MUNI, unfortunately, is a necessary evil, thus the need for consistent happy hour money.

  2. I seriously have considered a Vespa many times... you should totally look into it!

  3. Ah the joys of city living. My sister is fortunate and she is truly within walking distance of her job in SF and I don't think there are a crap ton of hills so it's doable. She does do a lot of walking though. They use Car 2 go a lot for air port pick ups etc. I was just telling her how lucky she is not to have to worry about shelling out $500 for new tires like I just did. It's truly a money saver. But then there is always a trade off.

  4. Oh the joys of public transportation! When I was in new york, i was way too cheap to get a cab to the airport. So I was walked with my (thankfully, small) suitcase to the subway and rode it to harlem to catch the bus to laguardia. well since the st. patrick's day parade was that same day the buses were running behind and so there i was just chilling with my suitcase at a bus stop in harlem with about 15 others across from a boarded up kfc. good times.

  5. Oh my gosh I would be SO be freaking out if I fell onto someone's lap, that's awful! Poor Mish! :)

    xoxo aly

  6. I think a vespa would be awesome!

  7. I bought a scooter a couple of years ago. It was the happiest day of my life. Nothing brings me more joy than pulling up next to a Harley when I'm on my scooter.

    Also, I would protest the San Fransisco hill walking business too. HECK NO.

  8. One thing I'll say about taking the bus here rather in DC is that I'm super glad it doesn't get really really hot here. It was SO gross piling on the bus with a bunch of sweaty, sticky, strangers. Especially when you are short and are right in the pits of everyone who is holding on. The WORST

  9. girl, since we live in the east bay, we take bart, we do have a car which is nice, but we dicided if we moved into the city we would seel our car. we already sold one, but i just think that we have taken to walking. i walk about 3 mile a day, half uphill, but i consider it my working out haha. whoops. i've considered paying for parking, but i think that going to stick with walking and using BART cause i'm cheap.


  10. Another option is to bike. I've seen the bikes that can be made compact.

  11. stoptional made me laugh right into my beer. its a pacifico in case youre curious. bus crowds, not the sexiest.

  12. YES!!! Get a moped! How cute would you look?! Also, if you are going to hoof it, think of all the exercise you'd get in, and the sexy calves you'll have to show for it!

  13. I like catching the bus when it's not mandatory. But I remember the bus catching days back in the day...I would die every time the bus zoomed past for seemingly no reason. I like the Vespa idea. I want one so badly!



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