The Captain Rides Public Transit

This weekend I had to travel back and forth from Downtown to North County a few times, so I decided to try the Metrolink.  I had not ridden public transit in a few years, and I had yet to ride Metro since the expansion into South City.  Quite a bit has changed since I last rode on St. Louis’ light rail system.  Here are five things that I learned this weekend thanks to Metrolink.

1.  Metrolink is no longer just a traveling method, but is now a destination.  This observation is based on the large number of teenagers I saw carhopping.  Granted, it was Friday nite at 10pm.  Still, I had no idea that teens congregate on the Metrolink to socialize.  When I was that age, my peers spent their prime loitering hours at the mall.

2.  Lots of people still use Discmans.  Seriously.  I’m still surprised that people even buy CDs, but seeing Discmans is even more surprising.  Not only are Discmans big and clunky, they skip constantly and drain batteries in less than two hours.  I completely skipped over Discmans.  I went straight from a Walkman to an Ipod, much like I went from VHS to DVD and Floppy Discs to Flash Drives.  Discmans are the equivalent to still using Laser Discs or Zip Discs.

3.  White men have encroached on Native American territory yet again.  Specifically, on the new $1 gold coins.  The Metrolink is known for providing change from ticket machines in $1 coins.  This has been the Sacagawea as long as I can remember.

This weekend the machine spit out a Madison, a Monroe and two Jeffersons.

Unbeknownst to me, the Presidential $1 Coin Act began in 2007 and will feature four new presidents every year.  According to Wikipedia these coins are “intended to create renewed interest in the coin like that seen during the 50 state quarters program.”  Creating renewed interest in coins seems like a ridiculous goal for our Government   Almost as ridiculous as putting more dead white guys on our currency.

4.  The west-bound Metrolink has two separate trains and requires travelers to pay attention to easy to read directions.  Now, I knew that the new Metro has two end destinations so it would stand to reason that I would get on the right train.  Instead I decided to completely zone out and board the wrong train.  I didn’t notice my mistake until the rail passed Clayton.  Luckily I wasn’t the only one to make the mistake, so I didn’t feel quite as clueless.

5.  I am really white.  I already knew I was white thanks to this highly informative guide.  However, I apparently am much whiter than I realize.  On Friday nite a thugged-out young entrepreneur was walking around the Metrolink car attempting to sell a bottle of CKOne for $10.  Well at least that was my assumption, since I was listening to my Discman and could not hear his actual sales pitch.

He managed to get rejected by everyone on the car except me, despite his offer for “a free sniff.”  At this point he pointed at me and said several words I did not hear.  All I managed to gather was him mouthing the words “White Boy.”  This was followed by laughter by him and most of the rest of the train.  Apparently my whiteness is so blatant that strangers will laugh at me.  So if you ever need to borrow a sweater or a scarf, want to go snowboarding, or would like to share stories of difficult breakups, please give me a call.  I am officially that white.

Ciao,

The Captain

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