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Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Eroticize the Bus

I’ve had my car for three years and I’ve only driven it 8,000 miles. My car is the ugly step-child of my transportation family, the nutty uncle I keep chained up in the basement. I prefer to ride one of my bikes, if and whenever that is possible. In my weird world, driving is just plain fruity; you may as well figure skate to the grocery store, you big poof, you.

Most of the time my car lies dormant on the street in front of my building, sometimes for weeks at a time. Its purpose has almost entirely shifted from that of a personal transportation device to a receptacle for bird crap. Actually, because it is white, it seems to be a blank canvas upon which the winged creatures of the Pacific Northwest paint their story.

On the rare occasions when I do get behind the wheel, I have to run the windshield washer for a good minute or so to undo the creative endeavors of the neighborhood pigeons, seagulls, blackbirds, and nasty, snarling crows. The window never gets very clean; the window washer is just a sort of mercy flush. I am assuming that what is coming out of these birds’ butts is normal. I am forced to inspect it quite thoroughly. My windshield is like some great microscope slide. Maybe this bird shit is normal or perhaps some delinquent seagulls are raiding the dumpster of Jalisco’s Mexican Taqueria Restaurant next door. Maybe they polished off the leftovers of a grande bean burrito with extra sour cream and guacamole and washed it down with a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans.

But I digress. This isn’t about aviary intestinal disorders (Note to self: from now on tell people that I specialize in Aviary Intestinal Disorders). This is about leaving the car in the garage, keeping it in the driveway, leaving it on the street for the birds to bombard. It is time for us as a nation to grow up and at least start talking about life without cars. We spent the past century as slaves to these dangerous, inefficient hulks. If we begin now we can part company with automobiles by the end of the 21rst century.

The way to get Americans to change their behavior vis-à-vis the automobile is not by having some hippie kid from Greenpeace lecture us on a street corner. The way to end our love affair with cars is to employ the same crew that suckered us into buying them in the first place. If the Madison Avenue marketers can convince every man, woman, and child to buy something as ridiculous as an SUV, then they can convince us to take public transport. Hell, they are so good they could talk us into giving each other piggy back rides to work.

If we can allow ourselves to be brainwashed into thinking that cars are somehow sexy why not think the same thing about the bus? Instead of the ‘loser cruiser’ the bus could be the ‘love bus.’ Run TV commercials with big breasted women in really tight clothes riding the bus and doing some sort of stripper thingie, you know, like how they sell us beer. If we are destined to be sheep let's at least be socially responsible sheep.

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