March 22, 2009

The Other Side of the Tracks

You know that saying about living on the wrong side of the tracks? After taking the Blue Line up to downtown L.A., I'm pretty sure there isn't a right side of the tracks.

It's an interesting trip, one that Paul has made before but I have not. It takes an hour to go the less than 30 miles, which is a lot, but Paul had the car this weekend and I needed to be somewhere. The price is right; it's 1.25 each way. The train is clean and it deposited me at 7th and Figueroa, a very convenient downtown location.

I was interested to see what was along the tracks. A surprising number of churches, for one. Really, dozens. And it was interesting to see the neighborhoods change from Latino to African-American to Latino -- just by looking at the signs and the shops. I think the most interesting shop I saw sold Stetson's. I wouldn't have thought you could find one in that corridor.

When Paul first started to take the train, I asked him if it was scary. But what I wanted to know is was it suburban white guy never gets on public transportation scary or mentally ill and gangbanger scary. He said, at the time, a little of both. To me, it was a working-class crowd just trying to get somewhere. Nobody was rude or had the music on too loud or took up too much space or felt menacing. But I was traveling on Sunday, so it wasn't just people going to work.
I think if it didn't take so long, I'd be more keen to take it, but it's awfully slow.

I'll have to be content knowing I did my tiny part to help the environment, keeping another car off the road.

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