Afternoon, Guys, how goes it?
Let’s talk about public transportation, shall we?
So, yesterday, I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up a script. No biggie, I’ve done it hundreds of times. Anyhoo, I have to take the city bus, EZ-Rider, to get there since it’s on the other side of town. Yes, there are pharmacies closer to walk to, but they aren’t as reliable to get things done, and the people at ours are nice and know us by name. So, I get the bus that has a stop conveniently at the end of our street downtown to transfer to another bus to get to our pharmacy.
Two things occurred to me while doing this errand: a. Joey and I am making a difference, because the driver, and my friend, Victoria, said she’s seen the site and she loves our writing and our outlook on life. She said she has another friend, who’s always negative. And, b. the ride reminded me how far Midland’s come since my fam moved here when I was six.
It was Summer of ’82 when we moved from Michigan to Texas. With two young crips in wheelchairs, Mom was hating the winters and snow and such. Getting a mental picture? So, she and my dad, who’d she met around the time she got me in ’78, ‘79, just married, and used their honeymoon, I believe, to move us across the States to…the desert. Yeah.
Not that I walked the streets when I was six, unlike a few years later when I met Noe, but there was no bus system except for the school bus system. Mom was the bus system. This went on for a year, I believe, until the next Summer when the CP Center (now the Midland Children's Rehabilitation Center), where we went to school before mainstreaming rolled out in Midland, had their Summer day camp program. My friends, Carter and Russell, would go Monday-Friday to do activities and watch movies like Rocky III and eventually Back to the Future. The city’d approved a point-to-point bus service called Mid-Tran. Mid-Tran’d pick you up at your pad, and deliver you where you needed to go. I don’t remember if it costed anything, but money meant nothing to me in those days. It opened up a whole new world of freedom for my brother and me and my friends…then, it was gone…just that fast. I’d heard something about mismanagement and funding. To young Jason, it just disappeared.
Keep in mind, this was the mid to late 80s. When I grew up, I learned to walk the streets for short distances in my Chairiot with Joey, my big brother. We’d go down Maxwell to the college that had a walking track that was like a mile around. Once, after Kat, my sister, had gotten a little older, I took her on my lap on one of our journeys, which I got in huge trouble for since we had to cross Garfield to get there…a street, to this day, ain’t exactly easy to cross even with the light. OH YEAH, and not to forget that Midland didn’t believe in consecutive sidewalks and definitely not curb cuts, because the ADA didn’t exist. So, mainly, we walked in the shoulder of the roads…still do to this day to which, since we’re some of the most known crips in town, it gets back to Mom pretty damn fast.
This went on for another 20 years when EZ-rider was voted in. I remember that meeting, because a. Joey and I were fever sick with the flu and still spoke, b. It was the last time my government prof, Will Bradford, sat in a city meeting before he died, and c. The dude that ran the taxi was the ONLY person to stand against it…also, Mom and the then mayor got into it. LOL. EZ-Rider boasts fixed routes and Paratransit for crips that need door-t-door. Of course, the opposition came from the rich bitch people (mainly Midland), who thought the buses were wasting taxpayers’ money, because, of course, they didn’t need it. Odessa has always valued what they voted.
So, here we are in ’18, despite hardships and peoples’ shit, EZ-Rider has proven here to stay for better or worse giving people jobs and able-bodies and crips an alternative to footing it.
Be good to each other.