OK. So, we might not have an extensive transit system like those found in Paris, London, Tokyo, Toronto or NYC but at least Dallas has DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) and it's a whole lot better than what we had when I first arrived in DallasSee: Coming to America ) .

Lately, I have joined the ever-growing numbers and became a DART commuter. And I like it.

Memories of growing up in Toronto, navigating an absolutely incredible public transit system - that I (regretfully) took for granted - came rushing back to me on my first early morning ride into the heart of Dallas and it gave me a feeling of calm. Similarly to how some might respond to the scent of home baked bread.

All snug in my seat, prepared for my leisurely 45-minute light-rail train trip, engrossed in Anthony Bourdain's, 'Medium Raw'. I was home.
Being amidst people from all walks of life, ethnicity's and cultures was a refreshing change for this suburban fifty-something who normally drives everywhere.

On my way home that evening, I put my book down on my lap and paused to observe and reflect on the fact that commuter behaviour seems guided by a few universal tenets...
  • At all times - Mind Your Own Business
  • When accompanied, speak softly
  • In the event of blatant craziness...avert your eyes
In my experience, most commuters everywhere follow these unwritten rules of behavior faithfully. But Dallas might just be the exception. Talking on DART is a whole lot louder, the crazy, drunk and/or high guy is stared down and it is not uncommon to witness stranger joining into someone else's debate.
Why have many DART riders not caught on to the universal commuter-vibe? 
Could it be that DART remains relatively new to Dallas?
Could this be the only mass transit exposure that many of its passengers have experienced?
I'm thinking it has a lot to do with just not giving a rat's ass.
Society has changed.

Comfortable in my little microcosm, I had not been exposed to 'society' since I had stopped working in the E.R.  Driving alone to and from work in the I.C.U. - an environment where most of my patients are unconscious - has perpetuated my isolation from the real world. And I've missed it.

Last week, on the way home from work, while preparing to sit quietly and read, I found myself prisoner in the middle of a heated exchange about 'feelings' between two people that were sitting across the aisle from one another.

Do I quietly walk away and choose another seat? No. I took notes. On the back pages of Medium Raw...my apologies.

She: "You feel the way I was feeling before you was feeling that way."

He: "You don't know how I was feeling because you were feeling that way when you brought this up."

She: "You always think it's always my fault. You always feel that way."

He: "You illiterate fuck. My feelings are not even considerated (sp). It's all about you."

It was at this time that "He" stormed off and into another car.

Stranger: "You go girl. You don't have to take no shit from your man"

She: Nods, smiles and mutters something unintelligible.

Despite my keen desire to see how this scenario played itself out...

I: Had to change trains.

It felt good to be part of the world again.

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Douglas said...

Clever and oh so true. Although as entertaining as some of these impromptu family counseling seasons might be, as a former rider (I now live in Rockwall) I find that folks in general don't know how to behave in public on the whole. Society in general is so self absorbed and out of touch with reality that everyone thinks they're on their own personal reality TV show and a camera must be somewhere tracking and detailing there every MONUMENTALLY IMPORTANT move. I work in an E.R. myself and have as a result become a bit jaded and more than a little disenfranchised with people, with the exception of my immediate circle of family and friends I find "PEOPLE" just piss me off. So I'm not unhappy not to be sharing in the comunal commuter experience.

joanyspot said...

I hear you. As we all know...ER/EMS workers would be out of a job if not for stupidity (and diabetes).

joanyspot said...

...and drunks