Tuesday, January 26, 2010

trains vs. buses

If you live in Donelson and work downtown, I highly recommend a jostle on the train. The rates went down to bus fare price in July, only $1.60 per trip. I rode the Nashville Star today for the first time. From Donelson, it takes about 13 minutes and then another ten to walk to my office.

When I stepped off the platform onto 1st Avenue, the same intense connectedness that I’ve associated with the trains in Boston, New York, D.C and Chicago welled up in me and I felt like I was living in a city. A city! To call Nashville a city after experiencing the great thrive of big cities in this big country seems laughable but I felt it. The City-ness of it all and happiness and possibility seemed right there in front of me, chasing the frocked pedestrians and dark-clad queue waiting for the connecting bus. I wanted to run all 8 blocks to work chirping out how crazily wonderful everyone could feel if they’d ride the train with me every morning. I wanted to screen-print posters saying “Trains make people Happy!” and put them on every electrical pole. I wanted to hop back on and ride home again so I could ride back.

buses and I have never had the same heart-swelling relationship. I rode the bus to school for the first time when I was seven. I didn’t know when to get off. The bus driver found me huddled near the back, biting my fingernails (I’m sure) and walked me into the school where he’d parked and found someone who knew where I belonged. Unfortunately, it was my last school and the person he found was my previous 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Daniels, who did not like me at all.

At seven, I don’t remember thinking it strange that there was a teacher who didn’t like me and was very obvious about it. But looking back on it, the situation does seem odd and mean. Mrs. Daniels made sure I felt extremely foolish for not getting off the bus and explained to me what a bother it was that someone was going to have to drive me all the way over to the school I was supposed to be in. She made sure my mother knew which was not going to go well for me. Since then I have never liked taking a bus anywhere, but Trains! Trains are clackery thumpy stumble fun. I would take a train to the moon. (Although I’d still be nervous about when exactly I should get off)