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It was a quiet week on SEPTA — for me anyway. Perhaps the hothouse weather pacified my fellow passengers, because everyone seemed to be on their best behavior. Even the otherwise-active subway kids opted for their headphones instead of mild flirtations with their peers. Hot in the city, indeed. Nobody moved as much as an inch when the homeless man on the C bus tried to start a fight with the driver. And he gave up as quickly as he’d begun. So it was that yesterday found me in a sad state of affairs as I met a Philly-turned-Berkeley girl for dinner in Chinatown. A little background on her if you will. This Philly girl, like myself, grew up in the Olney/Logan neighborhood. She’s taken SEPTA longer than I have. And naturally she’s seen more. So she told me her SEPTA stories. Five stories. And she told me I could share them with you, dear reader.
Last Friday’s SEPTA Girl column…
SEPTA and dating do not always mix well. In fact, if you’re a female SEPTA rider, you may as well write off dating entirely. For one thing, waiting for the bus is not as glamorous as catching a cab. When you’re hailing a cab at the end of a date gone well, there’s a certain Carrie Bradshaw-like pose that is struck. A one-hand-on-your-hip, other hand showing-off-your-manicure pose. There’s the shifting of weight, to highlight the stilettos. A toss of the hair, or two. Whereas if you’re a SEPTA bus taker, you have that whole exhaust-in-your-face thing. Not always sexy. And as much as I love the homeless man who lives at the bus stop, his ramblings can stop a first-date conversation in its tracks.
The worst part of SEPTA dating is the awkwardness of the “Thanks, but no thanks, I’m taking SEPTA,” routine which usually doesn’t go down too well in the evenings. Men who have cars will insist on dropping you. Men who ride bikes will insist on taking SEPTA with you. (And men who let you go without a word…well, maybe you shouldn’t be dating those men.) This precipitates what very well may be the first of many arguments.”
Read the rest of the column at Phawker.
Check out the awesome project, R. Bradley Maule and his friends at Philly Skyline undertook last week. Brilliant, Brad. Brilliant. My SEPTA loving heart just skipped a beat.
“While suburbanites and their children very well may be boarding in Lansdale and heading to the zoo with a stop at the Spaghetti Warehouse on the way home, I thought the Independence Pass was good cause for a good project carried out by good people with a good eye (and a good reserve of patience). On Saturday morning, I met with The Necessity For Ruins’ Chris Dougherty, dovate.com’s Steve Weinik, and Philly Skyline resident Septa expert Steve Ives, whose archive recently got a much needed makeover… Continue reading
And that’s one less good person on your train.
There goes Brendan Skwire. Walking away from SEPTA in disgust. Photo credit: Ray Skwire
So here’s Brendan. Philly advocate. My Drinking Liberally buddy. One of my favorite PG commenters. And now? Ex-SEPTA rider.
Here’s what he writes on his (fantastic) blog, Brendan Calling:
“Last night I rode SEPTA regional rail for the first time in a few years. It wasn’t really by choice: my car broke down and I had to get out to Narberth to pick with the Dill Pickles. My buddy Nik said that once you get on the train it takes about 15 minutes to get there.”
You know where he’s going with this. (Yup, yet another SEPTA fail for Albert Yee’s collection.) Read the entire story here. Poor guy, he was just trying to get to his band gig.
He ends by writing:
“I will NEVER ride the regional rail again except for the purpose of entertaining my kid. I won’t even use it in an emergency: I’d just as soon take my bike or hail a cab in THIS city. For me, SEPTA’s regional lines serve no serious purpose: it’s one thing to add an extra hour to your commute when you’re trying make a train on time. It’s another entirely to add TWO extra hours to your commute because the trains show up 45 minutes late.
They should change the name of the Philly’s monopoly on transit to SCHLEPTA. It fits a whole lot better.”
Yikes! NEVER? In all-caps? That’s serious business. I can’t imagine never riding SEPTA again. I love SEPTA. Well, the people and the experience more than the actual entity. However, as Phawker’s SEPTA Girl, I should probably respond to Brendan’s post. Wait, why should I say something? I didn’t make Brendan late. I didn’t screw up his evening. I’m not responsible. SEPTA is. SEPTA should apologize. But they probably won’t.
So here we go: Continue reading
“There are those people who refuse to take SEPTA at night. I am not one of them. On any given week, out of a mixture of sheer stubbornness and necessity, I join the throngs of second-shift workers on their way home. Riding at night is different. Gone are the students and suit-and-tied office workers who pack the aisles during the day. The buses go faster. There is no lingering at stops. People are tired and their tiredness gives way to a sort of looseness that only appears at night.”
Read more on Phawker. Enjoy!
Last Friday’s SEPTA Girl article:
“Perhaps it’s best to start at the beginning. When I was a girl of three, I lived with my parents and my older brother in the first floor of a row house on South Farragut Street in West Philadelphia. Occasionally, when my father was using the family’s orange VW Beetle or when my mom didn’t feel like driving, she would take me and my older brother on the Girard Avenue Trolley (Route 15).”
Read more at Phawker.
As if PG readers weren’t already aware of my SEPTA obsession, feel free to check out Phawker.com every Friday for a regular feature called “SEPTA Girl” where I go on about planes, trains, buses and trolleys.
Photo: Tiffany Yoon