Today my mission was to get a lock for my bike. I couldn’t find any place close (downtown) to get some such thing, so the best place I could think of was the Wal-mart on Keystone, at about 73rd street. I decided to do this shortly before noon. I got online and checked the bus schedule. I left about quarter after, and it takes about five minutes to walk to this particular bus stop. Once there I waited about five more minutes for the bus (#17), and by 1:00 I was at 62nd and Keystone. I had decided that I would also get lunch while I was out, which I did at this point, because it would be forty-five minutes before the connecting bus (#26) came by, and although I could walk I new it would be quicker and easier that way. I ate, waited for a while, then walked to a nearby bus stop. Within a few minutes the bus (#26) came and by 2:00 I was at Wallyworld. So far no big deal. I had looked at the bus schedule before I left, and remembered that there was supposed to be a bus (#26) returning south just before 3:00, and the other bus (#17) I needed to transfer to was just after 3:00. It only took a few minutes to find what I needed (and a couple of other things as well), so I walked around with the idea in mind that I would kill some time. By 2:30 had had wandered all around and was getting bored so I decided to check out and start walking.
And so I started off for home. As you probably realize, when walking a person doesn’t get very far quickly. I was staring to worry that I’d miss the bus I wanted to catch (#17). So I started looking behind me to see if the connecting bus (#26) was coming. It kept getting later and was soon past three, and I had neither seen the connecting bus, nor made it to the stop where I would catch the bus (#17) I needed to get home. I started thinking about the bast thing to do, and started thinking about the route that the bus (#17) takes. In Broad Ripple it does a loop rather than just going both directions on the same street. I knew that it crossed Keystone at both 62nd and at Kessler. I also remembered that there was another bus (#19) that would get me home that passed through Kessler and Keystone. I thought that the bus I was planning to take (#17) went east on 62nd, and then west on Kessler, and therefore would be at Kessler later than 62nd. This is of course important to know, as you must be on the correct side of the street in order to get onto the bus. So I started thinking that it would be a good idea to go to Kessler and catch a bus there. Anyway, around this time, I did finally see the connecting (#26) coming, but I was not at a bus stop (and was only about a block or two from 62nd) so it pasted by. Well, this of course didn’t get me closer to where I needed to be any sooner, but I knew that bus 17 runs about every half-hour, and that bus 19 also ran through, so I figured that I wouldn’t have to wait more than maybe fifteen minutes. So I arrive by foot at Keystone and Kessler about 3:15 (rather tired of walking), and waited. About ten minutes later I see a bus coming from the west on Kessler, and it turned out to be bus 17. As I said, I was expecting it to be headed west, so I naturally was on the north side of the street, and of course it drove right on by. This at first sort of confused me, but I started putting things together in my head and figured out that the bus changes changes direction every other time it goes by. Why I’m not quite sure but it makes it a bit confusing. Maybe fifteen minutes later bus 19 came toward me (on the right side of the street), but it drove right on by! The only reason I can figure out is because it was turning left at that intersection. That certainly frustrated me. By the time a bus (#17) finally picked me up, it was after four and and I had seen six buses pass by (beside the two I mentioned, four were simply going the wrong direction). Needless to say I was a bit frustrated, but it was all mainly because I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. What can I say, I’m an amateur. I finally arrived back at my apartment at a quarter to five. To recap, I got lunch and picked up a few things at the store in four and a half hours.
This brings me to a point I want to make. It’s not really new, but I feel it’s worth restating. There are a couple of things I could say about the experience. One, it was a nice day, and not a big deal to have to walk a little way or take a bus. I wasn’t mad about the bus thing, it was my fault, and I wasn’t in a big hurry. I guess the point is I’m not complaining about the time or effort it took to accomplish this errand. But by current standards it was an inefficient use of time. One of the byproducts of our unquestioned supreme value of capitalism, is that everyone is squeezed in order to get the most out with the least in. Certain industries thrive on this, like Wal-mart, where the top priority is keeping prices as low as possible, and service and quality, as much as they like to talk about them, are certainly secondary. I’m probably not getting around to the point very well; I’m not sure I know how to verbalize it, but here’s my best shot. On the one hand, I wouldn’t mind ditching the whole car thing and get by with walking, biking and riding the bus. However in our culture things like this aren’t real practical. Everyone has to have a place to live, which means that you’re going to be paying rent or mortgage. Therefore, you’ll have to work some where. Your employer will expect that you be at work on time and that you’re reasonably clean looking (i.e. not soaking wet from rain or sweat or muddy, etc.). They will also expect that you have a phone (at the very least important for getting hired). What I’m trying to get around to saying is that there are a lot of things that, by the nature of our society, are hard to get by without. You can’t just work and make enough to live off of. You have to have numbers and papers, and (almost) a vehicle which requires more numbers and papers and fees and tests, and time, and money.
Basically, we’ve made it really hard on ourselves. Not individually, but as a society, a community at large if you will. You see, by the nature of things, we haven’t really given people an option to not live this way. If they do or try to we will punish them in some way. This is why the poor in this country can make (I don’t know) thirty times as much as an average person in most of the world and still be poor. What have most of my recent troubles stemmed from? Not having much money. Again I don’t mind not having a car, but I can’t get to work (there’s not a buss that goes there). So I need a car. That takes money. Why did I lose my license? Because I hadn’t given the BMV my new address. Why? Because I didn’t get the notice because the BMV didn’t have my new address because I thought if I’d let them know that it changed I’d have to get a new license and pay what ever, and I really didn’t have the money at the time. (I suppose I should have taken care of this once I did get the money, but still wasn’t thrilled with the idea.) And about the wreck? I didn’t have money for insurance, and I didn’t have money (and still don’t have much) for a car. Fortunately I’ve gotten a bit of money from my grandmother, otherwise I’d just be out of luck. So far nothing has cost too much, but it’s a little here and there—still more than I would have had. And as mentioned I’d have a lot of trouble getting to work (and back) and still looking halfway decent. Which would’ve meant that I wouldn’t have been able to get anymore money to get a car or my license fixed or whatever. I’m rambling now, you get the idea though.
The strangest thing I saw on the way home, some “crazy fool” riding a big unicycle up College just south of Fall Creek. That was even better than the other day when Ben and I saw a tow truck towing a tow truck. I wish I had a picture.
music: Mortal Pura