Friday, June 17, 2011

Where the Heck is that Bus?: Public Transportation in Indiana

It's Friday. I'm walking along a busy highway. I can see the skyline of Indianapolis, but it's four miles away. The sun is beating down on me and I have no car. I guess I'll just have to set off on foot; it wouldn't be that bad. After all, I'd acquire a really nice sunburn, breathe in the inimitable and timeless aroma of diesel petrol and, if I'm lucky, narrowly avoid meeting my maker at the hands of an eighteen-wheeler truck (which I would soon discover to be the creator of said aroma). In other words, I'm stuck here at Dairy Queen. Typical.

But, wait; what's this? A bus stop! I'm saved! I'll just sit here on this slightly wobbly bench and wait for the next one to roll in. Perfect! Ooh, before I do that, though, let me see when the next bus is due...


Are you kidding me!?! No timetable!?! What in the... ? What am I supposed to do now? Wait for a bus that might not be here for another hour? I guess I'll just have to assume that one is on its way. Isn't that how it works around here? But then how long is one supposed to wait, hmm? How long is too long?

I'll give it twenty minutes. If there isn't one by 11:55, I'm walking. But know this, IndyGo; if I do get hit by a truck, you'll be invoiced for the dry cleaning.

Then again, what's this I see approaching? It's big and white. But is it a bus or an ice cream van? Whatever it is, other vehicles seem to be making way for it really urgently. Ah, what d'ya know? An ambulance. I wonder if some other poor schmuck decided to walk. Actually, now that I think about it, an ambulance ride might just be the fastest way into the city.

As stupid as it sounds, I'm quite tempted; let me just draw up a budget comparison:

BUS: STANDARD TICKET = $3
HOSPITAL: STANDARD CARE = $3,000

Okay, maybe next time. As for you, bus, you've got four minutes (yes, 16 minutes elapsed during that last thought) and then I'm leaving. I mean it! Damn it, this bus could be hours away. I just wish there was a way to find out.

Ooh, wait! Maybe there's a timetable online. Let me check on my phone here. Searching for keywords: "IndyGo official website." Loading, loading, loading... Ah, excellent; "click schedule." Loading, loading, loading... unable to open file: device does not support PDF files. Well great. Somebody just sh...

Hold on a second, though! Is that what I think it is? In the distance, behind those seven hummers, is that not a white vehicle with the number '34' written across the front? Surely not. Come on, traffic; move it! The bus is here!

And it actually is a bus this time. I'd better flag it down.

Awesome, it's getting nearer and nearer! Just a couple hundred more yards, and it'll be right here at the bus stop. Haha, so much for walking! I'll be at Monument Circle in 5 minutes! Wait a minute, though; shouldn't that thing be slowing down about now? It's coming in awfully f...

Holy fucking shit!!! He drove right on past me! I was standing here. With my thumb out. And the fucker drove right past me! I... what... who... ? I'm lost for words! The guy must have seen me; I mean it's not like I went out of my way to camouflage myself or anything. This bright orange baseball cap is a bit of a giveaway that I at least exist!

"Y'need a ride somehere, buddy?"

Huh, who said that? I turn around to the part of the road where the bus just came from. Above me, in his vehicle, a flannel-shirted man with no teeth and a bandanna around his head.

"Yes," I reply. "I need to get to Monument Circle."
"Well, hop in."

I climb aboard this mysterious old man's venerable truck: a diesel powered 18-wheeler. Still disgruntled, I headed downtown.

4 comments:

Paul said...

Hehe! Great post! I am kind of stuck out here on the edge of my town. No public transport in the vicinity and my wife needs her car for driving to work. The north east of the USA seems to be the only place with a developed transport system. I wish the Orange Blossom Special still ran between New York to Florida, that would've been a great way to travel.

Paul
http://fromsheeptoalligators.blogspot.com/

Laurence Brown said...

Yes, secretly, having been "knighted" King of Indiana, I long to hit the east coast some day soon. Funnily enough, Paul, I almost moved to Florida earlier this year when I got down to a final interview for a job in Jacksonville.

Paul said...

Jacksonville is only an hour or so away from me.

Would you have changed your blog name to 'King of Jax', if you'd moved? ;-)

Paul
http://fromsheeptoalligators.blogspot.com/

Laurence Brown said...

The name of the blog would have been a legitimate dilemma for me had I moved. The name 'King of Indiana' meant so much to me that I probably failed the interview on purpose: at least, that's what I tell my friends.

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