Thursday, December 15, 2011

Public transportation


I'm coasting along rather slowly in the Truck of Prominent Yellowness when the light ahead turns red. Naturally I step on the break pedal and naturally I expect this action to have some effect on the vehicle. The pedal thudding against the floor without resistance was not the effect I'd been hoping for.

I had a barrier on the left, cars on the right and one old grey car with lone driver ahead of me, stopped at the light. He and I were about to get to know each other real well.

I pounded the horn a few times. He saw me coming and had the idea I wasn't going to be stopping however their were cars crossing his path and he had no escape route either. The inevitable collision left his bumper dented and left my spoiler and fog lamps discombobulated. Add to that the absence of brakes, the need for new tires, the pending repair to the front suspension, the warning signs of transmission troubles, the engine's new habit of stalling during turns, the gratuitously peeling clear-coat layer, accumulation of rust and the non-functioning speedometer and odometer on a twelve-year-old vehicle and the choice was clear. I called, not for a tow, but for a wrecker to come and get it.

You did well, banana barge. So long and goodbye.


I throw on a backpack and hit the streets of Dundas. I walk to the Winchester Arms for a cheap breakfast and watch the Jets demolish their dysfunctional opponent until half-time when it has become unbearable to watch.

I do some banking, then hit the library where I gather my holds and read a few chapters before the long hike home.

At this time I feel great. I'm getting valuable exercise. My feet are green transportation. That's important to me. I've been promising myself for years now that this truck would be my last vehicle for the purpose of regular commuting. Though a vehicle for the purpose of nomadic migration; the hunt for further poetic exploration and charitable opportunity, has always been forecasted with a sense of legitimacy. Though I'm not ready for that yet.

I can not overstate how joyful I felt on Sunday. A very significant measure of guilt had been lifted. The knowledge that I must cease this contribution to the grand pollution game goes back to the time when I still saw global warming as an interesting natural phenomena, less dire than our problems with cancer and asthma for instance. Unfortunately, honest observation over the last few years has left me with little doubt that our natural domination instincts in the hands of blindly mega-selfish North Americans have brought this still infantile human race to the premature brink of catastrophic and irreversible environmental and societal meltdowns.

I know this sounds bleak but there is a certainty that arises from successful poetic exploration: One does not need to save the world to find joy. Saving the world is a great idea but one needs only to accept the inevitable while excusing one's self from the process to garner a significant portion of joyful freedom. People who truly understand Buddhism will understand what I'm saying.


I spend an hour online planning my travel arrangements. Two Hamilton buses, one GO bus and one St. Catharines bus will get me where I'm going. The total cost is comparable to the cost of gas were I to drive, or half the price if I calculate depreciation etcetera.

Unfortunately the hour was misspent. The planning went for nought. The Hamilton buses prove to be ludicrously behind schedule. I have to sprint across an intersection to make my first connection and the GO bus connection is hopeless. I wait for an hour and a half for the next Niagara GO bus at the so called Stoney Creek station which consists of a pole in the ground. By the time the next bus arrives I am uncomfortably cold, choking on exhaust from all the idling trucks that frequent this intersection, and suffering severe back pain. There is not even a single bench on which to sit down here.

I'm severely dehydrated by the eventual end of the trip as there are bathrooms on none of the buses so I dared not drink anything. My first significant public transportation experience of the era of environmental quasi-awareness ranks somewhere between Harmful and Disastrous. The score:

Public transportation 0
Doomsday 1


There is little legitimacy in the idea of "faith in the human race" anymore, but my admiration for the human race is restored as I embark on my charitable endeavors while the people around me treat me also with kind charity. I score meals, rides and a fine bed for two nights from excellent friends. One fine secretary at the Princess of Schools even arranges for delivery of her medication from home so to lend me an important pill of the ilk I have forgotten at my own home far away.


Another hour online planning my voyage home. The first bus passes through the intersection as I am still approaching. I manage to draw the driver's attention but he goes on by. As I settle in for a thirty minute wait for the next bus, the clouds open up and I am drenched and cold in no time and again there is no bench of course.

On the Hamilton side I wander and squander for about forever looking for the mysterious route 5 bus, coincidentally the 5th of this trip. Who knew that on the bus itself they label it "52" instead of 5? Not the HSR online trip planner apparently.

What would amount to 90 minutes in car rides has taken the better of two full days and left me exhausted. How is one to feel motivated to choose green when our governments do so painfully little to make the choice palatable?

Public transportation 0
Doomsday 2

I'm not feeling good about our chances, humans.

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