From the pages of Fabula ¥ Volume four, Issue One (55 Norfolk Street, Suite 202, San Francisco, CA 94103; $3.25)

Excerpted from

Going All the Way: Fabula Takes Advantage of Public Transportation

By Elka Karl

Just a few weeks ago my brother bequeathed to me the mixed blessing of a 1986 VW Jetta. For the past seven months I was carless in East Oakland and thought I was happy about the situation. And in good part I was. I was reasonably mobile and I wasn’t spending any money on oil changes or exhaust systems.

Since acquiring my rattletrap single-passenger vehicle, I’ve noticed something a little disturbing. I’m scared of my neighborhood. To be fair, my neighborhood is a little scary. The men waiting for the bus on my corner aren’t waiting for the bus (unless their next customer is exiting said bus), and gunshots are as commonly heard as roosters. And there are a lot of roosters.

My car cut me off from my hood. Driving to work in my sealed bubble, I felt much more exposed than I ever had on the bus or on my bike. “I live here?” I’d think incredulously, and switch into a faster gear. Everything seemed so much more threatening and alien from behind a steering wheel.

But the moment I got out of my car and onto a bus or my own two feet, my attitude changed. I actually could interact with people again, and no one was trying to sell me crack or proposition me. People were simply living, just as I was. I felt connected to the neighborhood again, and it was public transportation that made all the difference.

The nature of the times makes everything more insular. Our jobs are more specialized, our lives more compartmentalized. Driving everywhere only amplifies this insulation. Perhaps the only real solution to such isolation is putting ourselves out into the world. A natural means to this end is public transportation.

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