The Joys of Mass Transportation
by Melvyn_Fein
 Social Commentary
December 05, 2011 11:23 AM | 1699 views | 3 3 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

As Cobb County contemplates investing in mass transportation, I cannot help but recollect the pleasures I took in riding the New York City subway when I lived up north.  More specifically let me relate the incident that convinced me it was time to live elsewhere.

When I was finishing up my doctorate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, I had moved to Brooklyn where the rents were cheaper.  But in order to get to and from the school, which was located in Manhattan, I had to use the subway.

One day as I enter the train I was greeted by a fellow with a boom box on his shoulder.  He seemed to be playing this radio as loud as he could, but since he was an intimidating soul, no one objected.

Then a few stops later another guy, with an even larger boom box, got on at the other side of the car where I was standing.  Within moments the two were playing dueling radios.  The cacophony was instantly deafening, but again no one said a word.  We were all too afraid of being assaulted by these apparent ruffians.

So there I stood in physical pain, aware that I might have to bear this discomfort for more than an hour.  No wonder that shortly thereafter a refrain began to play in my head.  Over and over, I found myself repeating the phrase “There has to be a better way to live!  There has to be a better way to live!”

Not many months later I left the city—never to return.  Indeed, in moving to smaller cities and eventually to the suburbs, I did find a better way to live.  It seems that there were more civilized corners of the universe than the one in which I came to maturity.

Now I live north of Atlanta and must use my automobile to commute to and from work.  This means that some days I get caught in traffic.  But when I am, I thank my lucky stars that I am not standing in a subway car having to endure the pain of someone else’s unbearably loud music.

Mass transportation may make sense on a theoretical level, but I’m not so sure that it does in terms of personal comfort.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Last GA Democrat
December 11, 2011
Mr. Fein, should you ever find yourself on mass transit here, remember that here in the state of Georgia you are allowed to lawfully carry a concealed firearm on mass transit with a permit.

Unlike in New York, here in Georgia we let our law-abiding citizens arm themselves against thugs, hoodlums and 'ruffians'.

Considering your negative experiences on mass transit in New York in the past and also considering that the only rail transit that we have here in Georgia in Fulton and DeKalb's MARTA often leaves even more to be desired and is even less useful than from where you hail in NY, it's very much understandable if you happen to never use mass transit again.

Though even if you understandably personally never desire to use mass transit again, it appears as though the Atlanta Region and the state of Georgia are moving towards embracing much more of a mass transit-heavy approach to dealing with traffic because of Atlanta's notorious reputation for really bad traffic and poor mass transit options in the domestic and international business community.

The state of Georgia also looks to be not only embracing a mass transit-heavy approach, but also appears to be moving towards an approach of compelling local commuters and motorists to use mass transit more often by putting tolls on existing lanes and making very mimimal road expansions, out of what it feels is an absolute necessity with the pending growth and expansion of the Port of Savannah which will double and possibly even triple the amount of already very heavy freight truck traffic on I-285 & I-75 through Cobb County.
East Cobb Snobs
December 10, 2011
I was at the drive-through at an East Cobb Starbucks and the lady behind me in the BMW was rude to the barista. After I received my coffee I pulled up to the stop sign. I stopped for a about ten seconds to secure my coffee and someone in a Land Rover blew their horn at me. There has got to be a better way to live!
Mike H.
December 07, 2011
Oh Melvyn,

I totally feel your pain.

I was at the grocery store Saturday and someone left their grocery cart in the middle of the aisle. It was parked at an angle and I get get around it.

You will never find me in a grocery store again. I'll order groceries over the phone or on-line and have them delivered. I'll eat out for every meal, if I have to.

Like Melvyn, I have also been injured.
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