July 12, 2000



Power Now


As you may (if you're an L.A. resident) or may not (if you're not) be aware, we've been building us a subway out here in the Land of the Shaking Earth. Millions of dollars and dozens of years in the making, we've been drilling tunnels under the city and laying train tracks in them and to hell with the Richter Scale.

I used to be a huge skeptic of this undertaking, but with the recent opening not too far from my home of the North Hollywood Station on the Red Line, I now find myself veering oddly into boosterism. Despite all the cynicism I can bring to bear against it, there's just no way I can get around the fact that it's cheaper, easier, and often even faster to take the subway to my office downtown than it is to fight the traffic and drive there. The subway's just a better all-around deal. And... Should I let some of the geek in me show? Taking the train is kind of fun, too. Kinda sorta.

I now take the Red Line to my home office downtown every Friday, I can take the Red Line/Blue Line to my Long Beach office, I rode Amtrak to travel to the Carlsbad office a few weeks ago, I can hop on Metrolink to get to the San Bernardino or Newport Beach offices... I'm turning into a train-riding training fool. I even talked Beth into a Red Line/Blue Line family outing last weekend down to the Long Beach Aquarium. What can I say? I like having the train as an option.

But there is room for improvement -- or, rather, there was until I took matters into my own hands. You see, the escalators leading down into the North Hollywood station were set up all wrong. From the top, the down escalator was on the left and the up one was on the right, and that's just wrong. It's like driving on the right side of the road: that's just correct and proper (unless you're in some heathen country like Britain). Likewise, escalator traffic should always bear to the right.

To make matters worse, the way that station was set up, people getting off the train and exiting the station had to cross through the people coming down in order to get to the up escalator, and the people coming down had to cross through them in order to get to the ticket vending machines. It was just a big, ugly, inefficient, traffic-jam breeding mess. The Powers That Be clearly needed to be corrected and educated. But who would step forward to shoulder that awesome responsibility? Me, that's who. I'm a giver.

But of course Beth is trying to take credit for it. Sure, she was involved, but her role was minimal and fleeting at best. You see, she's on some sort of community response action panel (CRAP?) at work, and one of her fellow team members is a representative for the agency that runs the subway. Beth happened to mention my criticisms of the bass-ackwards escalators, and lo and behold, the next day -- the very next day -- the escalators had been reconfigured to run properly and efficiently as per my suggestions.

This was clearly my doing and I deserve full credit, but Beth is trying to play it off like she's the one responsible and is ignoring any and all comparisons I make between her and an ignorant runner carrying a message she'd never understand from one of her betters to another. She just doesn't grasp that the act of passing my words along doesn't make them hers. Granted, she did a fine and capable job of parroting what I'd been wise enough to discern and then communicate aloud to her, but I'm afraid that's the extent of her contribution. She is merely a conduit, one section of many in my Pipeline To The Top.

But you know what? I'm going to let her have her little pipe dream of greatness. I'm going to give her a pass because I have bigger fish to fry: Steve Amaya. Have lunch with a guy's wife one time and he goes all provincial on you. Jeez.

That's quite a tale Steve tells there, isn't it? Filled with manly movings of dirt and flowers and assorted shrubberies, he certainly paints the picture of an honest, virile, yet curiously secure suburban man, doesn't he? Sadly, though, it's not the whole story.

He doesn't mention my honorable reportage to him that I had, indeed, taken his wife out to lunch at a very nice restaurant where I let her pay since she has an expense account, does he? He neglects to report that she called me about getting together after I gave him my cell phone number and suggested she call since I was going to be in her building. He forgot to tell you about calling my cell phone to ask to speak to Viv, or the grilling he then appeared to give her, to which she cleverly implied that having lunch with me was just a polite gesture that she was doing because she thought he wanted her to. Nooooo, he doesn't mention the things that make him look bad, does he? Pitiful, isn't it?

You know who I really feel badly for? Viv. She's married to him, she has to live with it. Well, Steve-O, mover of shrubberies, pass this message along to your wife for me, will you: "Hey, Viv, feel this muscle: it gets escalators changed."

Flex that, Backyard Beautification Boy.

today's music:

-- Tears For Fears--


today's wisdom:

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

- ?