Thursday, October 21, 2010


yeah, okay, the poorer a person is, the higher their chance of using public transportation and the more limited their options are for healthy eating.  i'm not here to judge people for their weight or their wealth.  i will say, however, that when your weight impacts the daily lives of a busful of people, something has gone terribly wrong.

how might this happen?  now, i always thought wheelchairs were for those whose legs don't work, but that seems to be changing.  there's been a pretty strong up-tick in the number of people who have motorized wheelchairs due to obesity.  i don't go running up to them, testing their legs for motor function, so, who knows, maybe the peoples' legs are indeed non-functioning. 

nonetheless, on one fateful bus ride home one day, one such passenger was boarding.  while slightly slow, when you ride the bus, you don't get too annoyed by wheelchair delays.  folks need to get around after all.  so i just went right ahead reading my book, paying no attention.  after getting through a couple paragraphs and realizing we still weren't moving, i looked up.  the wheelchair apparatus could not lift the passenger and their motorized wheelchair.  i know mta may not keep their equipment tip-top ship-shape, but i've never seen a wheelchair apparatus simply be too weak.

alright, well no big deal.  the passenger would just have to wait for the next bus, right?  sucks to be them, but what can you do?  the bus driver apologizes profusely and the passenger seemed understanding enough.  when the driver goes to reset the wheelchair apparatus to a set of steps for ambulatory passengers, however, it became apparent that the attempt to lift this passenger had broken something else.  the door wouldn't close.  so, despite all the cursing and upset people, we were now in the same situation as the wheelchair-bound passenger.  and while i've yet to experience the social stigma of obesity, all us on that bus were put in an obese person's shoes for about half an hour that day, waiting for the next bus.

Friday, October 15, 2010

nothin but money

ok, so i drive some days and this is supposed to be about the mta, so this post is off-topic.  i hope you all can forgive.  while driving, i saw this seemingly unremarkable car.

sure, it's got a nice back bumper, looks like it may even be a custom job and the body of this little bug is in awfully nice shape given how old it must be by now.  so, what's noteworthy?

why, the license plate of course.  nothing makes my day quite like a self-deprecating vanity plate.  though, who knows, perhaps the owner of this vehicle is not being self-deprecating at all.  either way, he or she is definitely making us all take notice and think.

though i don't have a picture, perhaps the only better vanity plate i've ever seen was on a beat-up old yugo.  it read "SRBLIMO."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

paper clothes

i apologize in advance for not including a picture for this post.  rest assured, it is to protect the innocent.  well, okay, they're mostly guilty, or at least deemed so by our court system.  you see, when people are released from twin towers downtown, they're not given much.  i'm not really clear on all the details, but i can say with certainty that many of them seem to have little more than some paper clothes, paper booties and an mta token.  they're always a colorful bunch (unlike their black and white striped predecessors, orange being the most common color), so excited to be out they don't care if they're scaring people with their extroverted advances (and facial tatoos) on an otherwise private and uneventful subway ride.  the way i see it, most people need to have a little life injected into their day and why not by an ex-con?

Friday, October 1, 2010

safe biking

the other day, a bicyclist attacked a bus.  i know this because i was on the bus as it wound its way north on figueroa towards what i think of as "union station annex," 7th/metro (aka 7th/hope, 7th/flower and 7th/figueroa).  along with the usual rush hour crush of cars and buses, a pack of about 20 college kids (or perhaps old looking high-schoolers) on bikes were meandering up the same route.

on this stretch of figueroa, there's a bus lane, one that's wonderfully wide open to us bus riders and simply too tempting for bicyclists.  between traffic and stops, the bicyclists were easily keeping up with the bus, but in that wandering, would-be-drunk-if-driving kind of way.  the bus driver had to make several sudden stops to avoid hitting the bicyclists and eventually got fed up and honked.  a block later, the bicyclists caught up, went over to the driver's side and smacked the bus while yelling, to which the driver yelled back.

above, you see a view of the beautiful bike lanes nyc has installed on 9th avenue (pic taken from  they are physically separated from cars and buses and there is no question what the space is intended for.  bicycling is encouraged because it is safe and conflicts between bicycles and motorists are minimized.  if there were such a lane on figueroa, perhaps the bicyclists above would not have had to put themselves in danger and our dear bus driver could have gotten through his day with lower blood pressure.