Monday, January 18, 2016

PERCATARSE

Shortly after we bought the minivan and shortly before we traded in its predecessor I found myself possessed of the need to move Baby's carseat to the van late on a Saturday night so I wouldn't have to do it early on Sunday morning. While I was wrestling the carseat into the van seat one of our neighbors came up and said, "You got a new van! Congratulations!"

We chatted for a moment about vans and cars, and how we were getting rid of the old car, and then he said:

But you're still gonna keep walking, right?

(So you have noticed)

"Of course!" I said.

I don't often encounter my neighbors on my way to the bus stop, and I'm not a very friendly person. But apparently people do notice, which is encouraging.

SO WE BOUGHT A MINIVAN

I swear I'm not having you on.

We bought a minivan, and then commutergirl took it to Costco, and put the groceries in the back, and I just thought, this is how it ends. Addio bel passato.

We had no great plans to buy a minivan; as Malvolio would say, some have greatness thrust upon them. It just so happened that commutergirl got sideswiped in the Taurus, and the Taurus got dented. This was enough to total it, because the car was worthless. And after some introspection we decided that the car was worthless, and we knew it was worthless for a long time; and our family wasn't getting any smaller, so maybe we should buy a minivan.

So for a day and a half, we perused used cars in Sandy and Draper for the purpose of buying a used car and also judging our surroundings. Once, when we got cut off during a test drive, I barked at the other driver

IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE AN AUTO-DEPENDENT SUBURBANITE,  
BE ONE!

at which the car salesman laughed, nervously, because I'm sure he had no idea what I meant. Poor guy; he was a nice fellow, but I'm afraid we were a little too much for him, what with our continual ragging on the suburbs and our unwillingness to go into debt.

Eventually we found the right van from the right chill salesman, and even though it was still a swindle ($300 for document processing so that we could get a paper that had been typewritered through all the lines to where we can barely read the VIN . . . et al.) it was several thousand less than we could have spent elsewhere. It smells like smoke on the inside. One of the headlights is burnt out (though the other is pretty bright). The radio turns on but doesn't make sound. But we have a car. Are you happy, society?

We returned home triumphantly from our car-buying excursion. Just kidding. We returned home tired and cranky. I'm glad that we have something to drive to the hospital in when the time comes (this was part of our urgency in buying something new). I'm not thrilled that we dipped into our house fund to pay for it. I'm still going to wait for a half-hour for the 209 to come back when I go grocery shopping in the evenings.

(If you're going to be a transit-dependent urbanite, be one, am I right?)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

FEARLESS PREDICTIONS FOR 2016

Editor's Note: This post was originally meant to be published yesterday, but after yesterday's frightening TRAX accident it was postponed and one of the predictions has been . . . revised. Our sympathy to those who were affected by yesterday's events.

Editor's Second Note: I do realize that these used to come out before the year started. That was when I was childless.

ONE. Shortly after taking office, Mayor Biskupski of Salt Lake City will begin investigating the possibility of creating a municipal transit agency. The prospect will seem exciting at first, but eventually she will realize that that it would be far cheaper to stand back and take some potshots than to start the Salt Lake Municipal Transit Authority (thus we will narrowly avoid having the Salt Lake MT Bus Company).

TWO. Early in the year the driver of a single-occupancy vehicle will t-bone a parked UTA bus while going at least 40 miles an hour. Somehow it will still be UTA's fault.

THREE. The price of gas will fall again, this time to under a dollar per gallon. Strangely, though, transit ridership will not fall this time, because those of us who are still riding UTA clearly aren't doing it for the money.

FOUR. At some point Prop 1 money will begin flowing into the coffers of the Ogden garage and, contrary to the predictions of all 32 Trib commenters, service will actually increase in Weber and Davis counties. Residents of Ogden and Layton and Clearfield and other such places will begin taking the bus en masse as the region enters a new era of Transit Paradise and good will.

FIVE. This will lead Salt Lake County residents to start complaining and asking "Why Ogden? Why not us?" to which UTA will respond


SIX. But wait! The sudden realization on the part of taxpayers that transit could improve in Salt Lake County if it were actually funded, combined with the extensive research done by the Mayor's office on municipal transit will suddenly and magically combine to form the prospect of a vastly better proposed system that almost everybody will enthusiastically vote for. Transit for everybody! I can die in peace.

(Not that I'm planning on it, necessarily.)

SEVEN. The time is fast upon us when Baby Busninja #2 will make her way into the world, kicking and screaming and adorable beyond all description. I'll have to think of a new nickname for Baby, since he really isn't a baby anymore. So I wouldn't expect the punctuality of my posts to go up in the near future. I mean, I love you guys, but . . . babies.

It's a brave new year! Get out there and ride transit!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

TURN YOUR MUSIC . . .

It's the moment everybody (else) on the bus dreads. Somebody's music comes on and annoys you to tears. Pop, rap, classic rock. "Firework." "Carry On, My Wayward Son." "Let It Go." Being a passive-aggressive Utahan, I usually don't do much about it, though I do comfort myself sometimes with the idea of playing Schnittke out loud next to them until they give up.

(Trigger warning: Schnittke)

This week was the first week I ever heard Vivaldi out loud on a bus. I admit I was shocked.

Though now that I come to think of it, since it was Spring, I'm pretty sure it was maybe actually a ringtone.