June 18, 2012
Things Iíve Done That Iíll Bet Mitt Romney Has Never Done

After all, who can say they have never used the bus? Maybe not on a regular basis, maybe only for an emergency. I myself have done both. When I lived in San Francisco I could not afford a car (something else Mitt Romney has never experienced.) But I didnít actually need one. I could get just about anywhere in 30 minutes or so. All sorts of people took the bus. People in business suits, people in waitress uniforms ó some of those were even women ó people in jeans and t-shirts. It was all very democratic. (And I got some decent exercise and a lot of reading done.)

In Los Angeles, the buses arenít quite as useful. Oh, they go just about everywhere, but LA is so goddam big that relying on them is something of a desperation move. (Mind you, I donít denigrate the people who depend on them - rather, they have my sympathy.) So I use the buses every now and then, usually when my car is in the shop. I make a conscious decision to do without a rental, and take a bus home. My wife will invariably ask why I didnít call someone to pick me up. But the fact is I like to take the bus every so often. I feel itís an experience to which I should maintain a connection.


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Sometimes itís quite an experience. The last time I took an LA bus there was a guy sitting in the back having a very spirited conversation with his own reflection in the window. At one point he said to his reflection, ďI donít care ó Iíve got a bullet for everyone on this goddam bus!Ē To which I mentally replied: ďAnd itís neatly mounted on a nifty plaque, right? With a commemorative T-shirt?Ē I was quite relieved when he got off at the next stop.

So thatís something else Iíll be Mitt Romney has never done ó having to wonder, really wonder, what someone five feet away from you is contemplating. Even in San Francisco where the ďrightĒ people also took the bus, I was engaged in conversation by a guy who kept his entire right arm suspiciously concealed in his coat. Turned out he was a Moonie, turned out heíd hurt his hand and it was in a cast, but it took a good ten minutes to find that out. And then there were all those guys who wandered past the bus stops shouting at the air. (This was in the 80s, when he had not yet started electing people who shout at the air to state legislatures and Congress.)

So there are several experiences that are not uncommon that Iíll just bet Mitt Romney has never had. Iíd also be willing to bet that were he to have them, he would not learn the same things from him that I did. If Mitt Romney is elected, there will most likely be fewer buses, and they will wind up costing more. Those who have to wait will find themselves waiting longer ó for a lot of things.

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Posted by Kurt Weldon at June 18, 2012 03:32 PM
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Great article, something about riding a bus which seems to plunge you into the essence of the city and gives you a feeling of belonging to society, the good, bad and ugly. Funding for mass transit should be renewed (at the fed level) but seems its one of those areas we're taking a big hit. Bus plant in Oriskany NY is closing, I hope this is not a trend.

Posted by: BusBuilder on June 20, 2012 2:49 PM

Starting the day by reading the newspaper or a book or preparing notes for a meeting is much preferable to starting the day with road rage and a traffic jam.

And as BusBuilder noted, riding a bus (better yet, a subway or commuter train) tends to put a person in touch with reality.

Posted by: JoyfulA on June 21, 2012 5:36 AM
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