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May 16, 2008

Friday: heat, transit, ends with a proposition

The bus is now crowded with new faces, and these days getting a parking space at the park 'n ride lot is just a fantasy after 7 a.m.

Honestly, I never really thought that rising gas prices would have much change on people's driving habits here in Los Angeles but I guess I was wrong. I've been a power user of the Los Angeles transit system for six (loooong) years, and in all that time I've never noticed gas price fluctuations having an impact on the amount of riders (or for that matter, ticket prices haven't really affected volume much, either.) But now with gas at $4+/gallon everywhere, you can see the bus lines all around downtown are longer and more people are on the metro, too. So our already tenuous web of mass transit is really strained to capacity.

All that commuting would make people more relaxed in another city, one with better transit options, but this is Los Angeles. I suspect I am not the only one daydreaming to make the time pass.
- - -

Yesterday I was on the bus ride home (I drove in on Wednesday, not yesterday, though it seemed that way because I write at night when I get home and often forget to update the tense, the hour of posting and the date for the actual day of posting, which people love pointing out to me. For the record, I am not an editor.)

Anyway, yesterday afternoon on the bus ride home I was listening to my headphones as the bus trundled along the five north, happy the end of the day was near, and then .... I could smell it. You know the smell if you've lived here long enough, a California brushfire has a unique smell all its own and even when you can't see the smoke yet you can often smell it. I saw other people on the bus looking up from their books or newspapers or mp3 players and looking for the telltale smoke rising somewhere in the hills.

I slid my headphones down to my neck so I could hear the chatter. One of the girls across the aisle from me caught my eye.

"It's a brush fire near Griffith Park," she said. "And there's another one in the Sepulveda Basin, but the one we're near right now is the Griffith fire."

I looked at her in awe for a moment and the guy behind me asked what she'd said so I reported it to him and then turned back in my seat.

"How did you know that?" I asked the girl across from me.

"It's on the news sites right now," she said. And by way of explanation she held up her hand with her iPhone in it.

"Oh!" I said. "An iPhone, cool!"

And this is where a normal human would end the conversation. I of course did not stop there.

"It's just like that time in Independence Day where Jeff Goldblum saves the world with a mac ... you know? When he goes to the alien ship and embeds a virus with his trusty mac...?"

She looked at me like I had sprouted another head and turned polka dotted.

I am the alien, apparently.

- - -

It's going to be hot this weekend:

may15-2008-weatherman.jpg

I love my Dapper Dallas Raines. Dallas, I'm free this weekend for margaritas poolside. Call me!

Have a good weekend!

Posted by laurie at May 16, 2008 9:37 AM