Monday, August 14, 2006

El Hell

Yesterday I walked to work.

To be accurate I walked from my office to the new courts building. The county finally finished renovation of an old Sears store and made it a new district courts building. Its about three blocks from my office.

I'm used to hopping across the street to the courthouse a few minutes before I'm supposed to be in court, saying hi to the squirrels and getting into an ancient elevator to make the life-risking trip to the top. Why take the elevator? Because the courthouse was built at a time when ceilings were higher and stairs were steeper. Even the most physically fit among us are breathing heavy by the time they reach the third floor. The least fit among us are beet red and having palpitations by the time they get to the top.

You can imagine the type of impression it makes when you take the stairs and are then the first witness called to testify.

"State your name for the record, please," the lawyer says, then you have to speak into a microphone. "Spo-wheeze-oky wheeze Rach wheeze-gasp."

But that doesn't really have anything to do with my point. Which is, that I walked down the street to the courts building. And not for the first time, either! We never walk any where here. Never. This is a small town, but it sprawls all over everywhere. One of our only natural resources is roominess and we make good use of it. Nothing is within walking distance of anything else and we scoff at the idea of public transportation. Only the most derelict among us don't have access to a vehicle. People don't trust you if you don't have your own ride.

A few years ago, Fake Cow City/County got a grant from the federal government for Rural Public Transportation. They bought a couple of trolley car-shaped buses and published routes for free public transportation. No one would ride them. No one. The trolleys disappeared quietly one day, never to be seen or heard from again.

We did manage to hang on to a subsidized bus service of sorts. You have to call a day in advance to book a ride, but for a couple of dollars they'll take you where you need to go around town. Its like pulling teeth to get people to use it. Basically the service ferrys clientele between social service agencies.

Maybe we have an aversion to riding around in anonymous groups because it reminds us of cattle in trucks on the way to the slaughterhouse. I don't know. But I do know I am jealous of those of you with public transportation. I love to read about Mimi Smartypants' encounters with the drunken masses. It seems so amusing from afar. And the thought of being able to read on the ride to work makes me especially envious.

I guess there's no hope for me. I live a couple of miles out of town and I suppose I will have to continue to endure that eight minute commute. (Nine if I have to stop at the traffic light.)

But I will keep walking to court!


Greek Shadow said...

In your part of the country, as I was exiled there for four years, it can go from 70degrees and a gentle breeze with clear skies to 30 degrees, fifty mph winds, raining and sleeting in the time it takes to walk three blocks. It happened to me once while I was training for Cross-Country and I didn't think I'd make it back to campus alive. Good luck and be sure to take an umbrella.

peripateticpolarbear said...

I wouldn't walk to the bathroom in your part of the country. I would demand a chauffer.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Great imagery with the wheeze.

see-through faith said...

more walking power sis :) good on you!

Anonymous said...

Funny you talk about walking places. I do that all the time since we live close to a shopping center. What I want to mention is what a disgrace it is to ride a bike in this town. You would think that I had a mental deficiency for getting out and peddling when gas prices were so high. I rode to the Sonis and United one day and the stares I got were unreal. That is okay, I got the last laugh! I'm saving money and the environment!!!