Ever since I moved to Los Angeles, I’ve been hearing left and right that you cannot possibly survive without a car. The public transit system is terrible, they said. If you are just here for a short amount of time or visiting, you don’t necessarily need a car, but if you live here, there is no way around it. Nobody walks in Los Angeles, only tourists, … etc. etc. etc.
So far, this was not how I experienced it. I didn’t realize when I first came here that LA was such a far spread-out city, and its sheer size truly intimidated me. But with a little support (actually a lot of support) from my family, I was ok. I had my first bike with which I’m not only able to get around, but which is a regular reliable vehicle on my weekly bike rides. I discovered this new sport thanks to the city.
On weekends, if I wanted to explore a part of Los Angeles that I hadn’t seen before, I would map out a bus route or check on Google maps which bus would be closest, which one is more convenient, where I could go afterwards maybe and how far I would have to walk inbetween. It was an adventure. I planned everything for the entire day. Riding the bus is a necessity sometimes, but most of the time, as you may have read in my earlier post about the 704 metro bus, it’s a time for me to contemplate. Not that I would automatically stop thinking in a car, but on the bus, you don’t have to worry about traffic – someone else does that for you.
Now that I’ve been thinking about getting a car of my own, I have mixed feelings. It will be a wonderful moment when I first find parking in my very own car (whichever it will be). I won’t have to make 4 trips to the grocery store to get water or buy heavy items. If I meet a group of people somewhere in Hollywood, I will be able to chime in when the general conversation starters are “I had to circle 5 times to get this amazing spot right here”.
But I’m also terrified – not of the traffic (although it is prevalent in this city, with a constant congestion of the 405 and the 10) or of the actual driving, but it means another change. I’ve gotten used to just “getting around” and “managing”. Will it be the same if I can move around on my own? It feels like someone (me/circumstance) is taking away my training wheels for the first time, and I know that it will be ok, but I’m still afraid that I may fall.
Now, if I want to go somewhere at 6 am on a weekend (I know… I should start sleeping in), I won’t have to be alone on the bus – the bus will be alone without me.
The first time I got on a bus here, I was terrified – I didn’t even know where to buy a ticket, not knowing that these buses run on single dollar bills. Do you greet the bus driver? Are you allowed to talk? How dirty are the handles and which seat should I take?
It feels like it was forever and a day ago when that happened, but I guess that’s another part of this crazy journey. Thank you, “terrible” Los Angeles transit system.
(#My500Words Day 13)