I went to college in Tucson at the University of Arizona. I’m a proud Wildcat alumni and am happy to have parlayed my writing degree into a job. Going to school, I lived at home part of the time, and off campus with different friends. To get there, I drove some but for much of my time there , I took the bus.
My friend and roommate, Randy and I would wait at the bus stop every day we had class. At the time, I was teaching him how to juggle, one of my odd-ball hobbies. One of my favorite anecdotes from my youth comes from the two of us practicing in a patch of grass while waiting to be picked up. Juggling, of course, tends to draw a certain amount of attention, at least briefly. Most adults tend to glance, and maybe watch for a time, but normal juggling doesn’t exactly draw a crowd. Kids enjoy it, though. One day, Randy and I were doing our thing while a little girl was sitting with her mom at the bus stop. I heard her say to her mom, “Look at the man!” Still keeping beanbags in the air, I said to Randy, “You hear that? I’m a man.” I got a lot of traction out of that story over the years. Another story I recall occurred on the bus. We were freshmen or sophomores at the time…or maybe older; it seems long ago. On one particular trip, a remember a beautiful, rather lithe girl sitting across from us. She seemed older, maybe a grad student. In her hands she easily manipulated a Rubik’s Cube. We fancied ourselves on the plus side of smart, but neither of us spent any significant time working on the rather difficult, logic puzzle. We were impressed.
In my last column, I wasn’t taking a rock-solid stand but here, I feel one-sided on this issue. The City of Tucson pays for the Sun Tran public transportation. I was a poor college student, so I likely contributed little, to no tax revenue for the fixed-route service beyond my regular fare. I didn’t think about others forced to pay for a portion of a service they didn’t use. I did think about fare, pick-up times, about transferring, about getting to school. Sometimes I fell asleep on the bus and ended up at the end of the route.
It seems strange to argue for public transportation. I’d ask if we would be willing to haul our own garbage or dig our own water wells, but I know it’s not the same thing. Our county is different from others, having a spread out north end and beach community over a bridge. September 8 we’ll see who comes to support public transportation at the Board of County Commissioners meeting. Do you need a ride there?