even more than the religious zealots and people responsible for transit tv, the bus riders' union (bru) has my full contempt. they happily oppose trains and even non-traditional buses like the orange line. in doing so, they've used the once-sharp charge of racism so much that it's now dulled to the point of being completely ignored. they even toss discretionary riders aside if it means any money spent on anything other than buses. buses are universally regarded as the worst category of an otherwise worthy service. they're endured out of necessity, a sacrifice of imagination, a plague on already-rageworthy traffic. yet the bru worships this beast, always pushing expansion of its domain. i say "fine!" but only if every bru officer is forced to utilize every expansion of bus service they push for two months, one before the change and one after, get them out of their suv's so they can see what they're really doing to the world. unfortunately, bru's successful lawsuit against the mta didn't include this in the settlement, though a straitjacket was put around train projects for over a decade.
a year or two before this straitjacket's removal date, the mta started stretching its legs. almost every pipe dream that anyone with a black leather jacket had come up with in the past twenty years was in the planning stage. one that actually got pushed through while the straitjacket was being worn was the gold line. i settled in near one of the stations and rode this fairy-tale line everywhere i could.
it was absurd. the trains were so clean. the stations displayed flea-market-quality art like it was a goddamn museum. the ticket machines actually worked and even took credit cards. signs with shadow boxes and childish pictographs imitated the internet. after riding the damn thing for a few weeks, i felt so sanitized, i was sure disease was imminent. after all, immune systems need exercise. all that hand sanitizer and visor-as-welding-mask activity just lowers defenses for exposure that such petty measures only delay. luckily, while away from the gold line, i surrounded myself with enough scum to keep my immune system on its toes.
some malcontent locals would complain that the quality of the train wasn't high enough. if i'm ever in a room with one of them, my opening argument would be "IT'S TOO DAMN CLEAN, YOU FUCKER! WE'RE GONNA MANUFACTURE A GODDMAN SUPERBUG THAT'LL MAKE US ALL DROOL BLOOD. are you a FUCKING VAMPIRE? goddammit! WHERE'S MY ETHER!?" when i imagine this debate, that's my closing argument too, that is, if i still haven't found my ether.