prius countdown or riding the bus in L.A.

This morning I left my house at 7:51, though I was aiming for 7:50. Still, not a bad start for day one without a car in LA. Oh my god, no car in LA, what are you going to do?

I could tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to have a running commentary on how horrible public transportation is in LA, or how rapid transit is simply an oxymoron. In fact, I’m here to laud the MTA, at least for today and hopefully for the entirety of this experience.

You see, I just sold my beloved Subaru and am waiting for the phone call—who knows when—that will announce the arrival of my Prius.

I’m not a virgin, you know. There was a time, many years ago, that I lived in the OC and the most efficient way to get to Koreatown was by train. There were several traumatizing sights back then, but for some reason the boy with no ears wearing a walkman stands out. Worse than that were the olfactory distractions. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to those.

Just before heading out the door, the gnawing sensation of childhood returned, I was off to 2nd grade, except my lunchbox was replaced by a Nalgene bottle. As for my books, I grasped The New Yorker as a badge of honor—proclaiming, “I’m clearly not your ordinary bus rider.” Of course, I was not the ordinary bus rider, I was waiting for a Prius.

So after a seven minute walk up Beverly Glen to the bus stop, I waited for—brace yourself—1 minute on Wilshire Boulevard for the bus, my bus, the 20, to arrive. The weather this morning was perfect. I couldn’t ask for more favorable bus riding conditions.

The bus didn’t smell, nor did any of its passengers. Well, maybe I did. I was walking fast and public intensive experiences like this one usually provoke perspiration. My cushy lifestyle as of late, coupled with the cooler-than-usual L.A. weather, got me out of the habit of deodorizing. But the other riders were friendly, one even queried if I was OK, when as a result of my enthusiasm to board the bus, I tripped on the first step.

Without having to scope it out, I got a seat by myself and settled in. I fear the other riders might have mistaken me for a crazy person because of my occasional giggle fits. What can I say? The Gary Shteyngart story was really funny.

At 8:39, I arrived at Vermont and Wilshire. 7.87 miles. It usually takes this long by car, only now I can get some reading done instead of listening to boring NPR.

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