Driving is complete liberation from the confines of New York City transit and it also sucks a lot, too.
I’ll finish this paragraph in a second because I literally have to go feed the parking meter. Sorry, I know you know. But it sucks, right?
I’ve moved the car three times since I sat down here at this table because the thought of responsibly looking into purchasing some sort of zone permit or finding a monthly garage sends me into a state of crippling anxiety matched only by the mail that shows up for me at my mother’s house. In New York, getting around didn’t require hours of anticipation. My internal dialogue sort of went like this:
“Am I too lazy or depressed to put my pants on and get to point X?”
If the weather was below 30 degrees, chances are the answer was, “Yes, I am too lazy and/or depressed,” but other than those minor hiccups, transportation was fairly reliable enough for me to forget what it felt like to have a car. I still prefer public transportation – but as mentioned in Vice recently, the public transit system here is a joke. I had a nightmare about the BART, too. My train car just fell over like a fat, disgusting sea lion, two separate times! The second time it fell right into the bay, so thank fucking God former child star Aaron Carter was there to rescue me.
From my minimal experience, yet totally worth your attention because I am a self-deprecating blogger without a job in a new city that I have hardly explored – the BART doesn’t really go anywhere, nor is it convenient. That’s how I keep ending up at Fisherman’s Wharf. I just keep wandering off the BART toward the water smells. Plus it’s unjustifiably expensive. I guess it’s easy to get to and from Frisco, on a weekday, before midnight, but I find the majority of travel time is spent walking to and from the station. Okay, look I do have a valid example. I walk twenty minutes from the Montgomery station to my unpaid internship. My field research concludes that the average time spent travelling from point A to point B in the Bay Area is roughly an hour. And in New York? – I’d say thirty-five minutes. There are a million reasons why New York’s MTA is better than San Francisco’s system – cost being number 1, but I won’t really get into it. Just stop complaining about construction on the G train. You never miss your water until your well runs dry. I’m not trying to hold New York’s system in a golden light, but BART has no real interest in supporting easy, cost efficient commutes for its Bay Area residents. I’m not sure what its interests are. There were a lot of people riding it on St. Patrick’s day - most of them pounding Miller High Life in fairy wings. In BART’s defense, people are generally less intimidating appear to be happier than the average MTA rider. Probably because they aren’t actually going to work. They also don’t threaten your life if you make eye contact – they smile and try to talk to you about your iphone case.
Needless to say, I end up driving a lot and it’s distressing. I got a parking ticket this week for $66. I just looked at it right here on the table and my heart filled with an unspeakable emptiness. I have accumulated more paperwork than seems legal in the state of California because they love literally every living thing more than human beings. I heard a woman on the radio in tears because she saw a woodpecker with gunk from a Eucalyptus tree on its beak. She said something about getting rid of all the non-native plants in California. That to me, sounds a bit on the nationalist side. She wanted to get rid of all the Eucalyptus for the sake of one beak. Her pleas were met with the very charged and prepared-for-battle cries of day gardeners from the Bay Area.
At the DMV I took one of those fill in the bubbles with a #2 pencil tests, received a learner’s permit. I paid $33, and handed over a copy of my driving record before receiving yet another piece of paper stating that I could legally drive while I waited for my actual license to come in the mail. On the way out to turn in the last of my paperwork, I saw some of those chunky red coastal cliffs and remembered this girl from Santa Cruz I used to work with who always posted pictures of them on Instagram. I remember thinking, “Wow that’s so lovely, how lucky to live near such a beautifully austere landscape.”
this is an excerpt from an essay I’m working on about adjusting