Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"I Just Had to Drive"

Since I have no cable I tend to watch shows that I probably wouldn't watch otherwise. Most of the time the tv is just background to my laptop and the blog. But I was watching a show that will not be named and one of the main characters was going to make a decision she needed to think about, so she went for a drive.

Which made me think, does anyone go for a think on the bus or train? Just wander aimlessly about a city in order to collect their thoughts? I used to run in order to do that, but I haven't run in a while and it kind of hurts these days, not quite as relaxing. But somedays I'll go for a walk to check out urban things or get on the J and go for a ride. It just reminded me how much driving is entrenched into the national psyche. So much so that its seen as therapy for many, which begs the question, how can that be overcome?

13 comments:

Lloyd Adalist said...

When I am in a real city with a real transit system (NY, Boston, Montreal, Vancouver, SF most commonly) I do indeed go for a ride/think when I have the time and the need. Not so easy here in bus exclusive (almost) Seattle, but our day is coming. I used to go for drives a lot when I owned a Miata, but those days are gone.

Peter said...

Whenever I've had a particularly bad day I take the light rail downtown and wander around. It's pretty relaxing. This is in Minneapolis, with one light rail line. Sometimes once I get downtown I'll take buses around, but that's mostly to get around the downtown. With the skyway I can wander around in the winter without getting cold.

I have a love hate relationship with the skyway system here in Minneapolis.

njh said...

I went for a wander around town today for that reason and caught the light rail part way back. It's easy to do when you have an unlimited pass and the trains go past every few minutes.

Morgan Wick said...

HELL no. Being a Seattlite I can't vouch yet for the train, but the bus is typically NOT the place I want to go when I want to think or even just relax for an extended spell (unless it's uncrowded and there aren't too many lunatics and detritus). Then again, driving with all its attendant stresses isn't much better (but being a passenger in a car does work).

I think I would probably just prefer to go to a park that doesn't have a lot of people in it. I just need to get away from people sometimes, and I basically never have the chance to do so. (Even at home, thanks to downstairs neighbors that have driven me insane with loud parties that run as late as 4 AM or a little later. I live in what I would call a quadruplex for simplicity, but something tells me that won't survive the first six months after I get a job. ***SHAMELESS PLUG*** See the "about me" tag on my blog, linked from my profile page, for more details. ***SHAMELESS PLUG***)

Rhywun said...

When I lived in SF for a year I worked the overnight shift and I often took a random trolley bus or train around the city in the morning, mostly just to look around. I think I hit the 30, 31, 33, J, M, and some others. And one time I took BART to the end of the line in Corcord. That was less rewarding.

Now after 10 years in NYC... I hardly ever do it. Although I recently (2 years ago) moved to Bay Ridge and I have taken the bus a couple times when I could have just as easily taken the R train, just to see what my neighborhood looks like... I've actually been meaning to do more of this sort of thing :)

Brad R said...

The Hiawatha Light Rail line is a good place to contemplate life. Some nice long stretches on the southern portion with some nice vistas. I too have a love hate relationship with the skyways.

Stephen said...

A number of the Amtrak trips I've reported on over the years, particularly those using the Chicago area corridor trains, are mental-health trips. With Metra as close as Elburn, some of the shopping trips to Chicago area hobby stores are too.

Matt' said...

I prefer running and biking for thinking, but I do occasionally ride the Metro for that purpose here in DC. I also did it in when I lived in Atlanta.

I have to agree, though. It's never occurred to me to try a bus for that purpose.

-- chase said...

I don't ride the bus for that express purpose, but I do enjoy the fact that I can collect my thoughts and relax on the bus instead of navigating through traffic. I ride my bike when I want to have a good think.

Becks said...

Growing up in LA, there were many times that I hopped in my car and drove around to think. I had conveniently buried that memory until you brought it up.

Now, I usually take a walk to think. I love walking around downtown Oakland and looking up at all the gorgeous architecture around me.

Though I never take the bus for the purpose of thinking, I agree with chase - the bus is a great place to collect thoughts. I write most of my blog posts in my head while waiting for or riding the bus.

grvsmth said...

Daniel Nairn has a good post about walking and thinking. Solvitur ambulando!

lucre said...

I used to go for a lot of long walks, when I lived in a college town. Now that I'm in DC, I'm more likely to get on a random bus. That's something I'm more likely to do in Virginia or Northwest than in my own neighborhood of Capitol Hill. There aren't really any areas that I'm not already more or less familiar with that I also feel safe wandering aimlessly in this area, and, for some reason, a degree of unfamiliarity is essential to the ponder-putter.

Anonymous said...

I used to drive around to think.
Just the act of moving helps you feel like you're "going somewhere", it can be awfully confining to just sit by yourself if you want to get thinking done.

Now that I live in NYC, there have been several times that I have hopped on the subway and just ridden around for several hours if I can't sleep or I need to think.
But, I would never do it during the day or rush hour when it's crowded.
And many of the lines are above ground.
And since they run 24/7, there have been a few times when I couldn't sleep, I jumped on the A train at 3am, and rode past JFK airport to Rockaway beach, or took the J to Jamaica Center.