Thursday, May 8, 2008

Random thoughts: Take the 'A' Train

You must take the A train/To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem/
If you miss the A train/You'll find you missed the quickest way to Harlem

I can’t do everything. I can’t cook, I can’t teach people, I can’t do maths. Which is all very well – I’m sure there are loads of people who can’t do these things. But not knowing how to catch a train?

Don’t be silly, you say. Everyone knows how to catch a train. Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Until a few weeks ago, when my friend admitted that she didn’t know how to catch the train.
It wasn’t even Cityrail’s fault. See, when it was time to go through the ticket barriers, she tried to put the ticket in the top slot rather than at the front. You know, the slot where the ticket normally comes out. And she wondered why it didn’t work.

Which got me to thinking about ‘bus’ people and ‘train’ people. People who prefer one over the other. Trams and monorails don’t come into the picture because only tourists and lazy people unlike myself *coughs* catch those in Sydney.

I’m talking about people who would rather stand on a train for an hour and go on a massive detour to the city than catch a direct bus. “The bus is too slow,” they whine. Even though catching the train, thanks to Cityrail’s decree that all of us must go to at least Sydenham before we can change trains, can be even slower.

Or people who detest trains for some obscure reason like “I can’t get off exactly where I want to,” or even “trains are dirty.” Well, yes they are, but so are buses. But you know what? These people are just in denial – they don’t want to admit that they’re ‘bus’ people.

How does this happen? I think it’s got something to do with demographics, and where you live. The friend I mentioned above is clearly a ‘bus’ person, possibly because she grew up in the Eastern Suburbs (I don’t understand why the Illawarra line is also known as the Eastern Suburbs line, when it reaches only two Eastern Suburbs. Come to think of it, it doesn’t go anywhere near the Illawarra either. But that’s for another day) and therefore caught the bus everywhere.

But then, by that reckoning, I’d a ‘bus’ person too, mainly because that was also the only way for me to get anywhere until I got my license. Except that reason backfires, because now I hate buses so much I’d rather drive to the station than wait 20 – 50 minutes for a bus that may or may not come, depending on what the bus driver feels like.

In any case, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is we’re catching public transport and helping the environment or something. But next time you’re bored, try to convince a friend who is clearly a ‘bus’ person or a ‘train’ person to catch the other mode of transport. It’s pretty entertaining.

Images: ~Livingdejavu and realcambo from Deviant Art
Song lyrics: Duke Ellington


J said...

ICAC finally has caught out City Rail for abusing and mismanaging funds. Here's some extra money lets give our friends a job, after all sharing is caring. Lets not bother about people going to UTS having to play human tetris every morning to find a spot on the train

Bonita Silva said...

i'm a train person.
personally buses suck - hellloo! traffic lights!

plus, i've noticed a disturbing trend. the past 3 buses i've managed to catch since saturday morning were driven by drivers that were CLEARLY on crack.

henree said...

lol sounds like all those people in mx complaining or trying to pick up =.=

well im both? lol i have to catch both.. and petrol is too damn expensive.. its predicted to go up to $1.60 a lite!! =O HIGHWAY ROBBERY =[[

Amy Huynh said...

I didn't know how to catch the train until this year. im a late bloomer. I want to hi-5 your friend, sounds like something i would do

stel said...

i have to catch both. and walk. (considering the latest development by the bus companies was to delete my bus stop from the map).

i'm fine with both, but considering i do the same thing everyday, a new bus or trainline is exciting, and scary. That's my fear. Being lost in some place i don't know.

well, i'm nearly old enough to get my Ls. yay!