Getting from dorm to Mordor

| Forum Editor

Now that I live off campus, my appreciation for public transportation has greatly increased. It was different when I lived in Shepley, especially since Shepley was far from everything and anything. Due to this distance problem, I was forced to consider many different methods of transportation. I have experimented with walking, biking and taking the campus circulator. Gather around, my children, and I will tell you the tales of my journeys to campus.

Due to lack of communication regarding the construction on the 40, there were (and currently are) only two plausible ways of walking to campus. One route is between JKL and Lee, and the other route is all the way around the Wohl parking garage. The first method is very dangerous, filled with puddles and freshmen, while the second route makes me understand how it felt to get from New York to California by ship before the Panama Canal was built. As the first few days of classes were not conducive to trekking, the sweltering heat at 10 in the morning made my journey feel more grueling than Frodo’s. Clayco’s answer to this problem was to build a series of temporary stairs like mazes between construction zones, which of course can lead you nowhere.

My experiences with bicycles this semester have not been good. I first tried borrowing one from a friend, and it ended up being similar to a deathtrap. Due to a lack of maintenance (and usage), the back brakes are nonfunctional, the seat is loose, the tires are flat and the front wheel is pulling to the right. I nearly died the first time I rode it. I was wise enough to grit my teeth and buy my own.

The final method I chose to use was the campus circulator. My experiences with it have been nothing short of terrifying, hilarious and maddening. On some occasions, the driver tries to eliminate the waiting time per stop delay, and you better get out of the way in those moments. It does not matter what race, gender or disabilities you have, pray you can jump out of its path. Last year, as my friend and I were riding the bus, the driver rocketed around the turn from Wallace Drive into Mallinckrodt, and two poor students had the misfortune of not walking on the sidewalk. The driver came up from behind and honked his horn menacingly. One of the kids probably had to change his pants, and the other exhibited “deer in the headlights” characteristics. On another occasion, it was a bitter winter morning and there was a long line at the Clocktower. Students were frozen, praying for the campus circulator. He came a little early, but kids gratefully clambered aboard. All the kids had boarded, and we noticed a kid on crutches limping toward the bus. The bus driver proceeded to invoke the Pirates’ Code: Those who fall behind get left behind. The kid started to move faster but was left in the snow. I can’t help laughing as I write this, but it sure would have sucked to be that kid.

A note to the freshmen: Wash. U. is not a large campus, but when it is snowing and 2 degrees below zero, your dorm seems like miles away. In general, I suggest bikes as the best method of transportation. Walking isn’t bad if you aren’t in a rush, but if you are really late or if it is raining, take a deep breath, and pray the campus circulator stops for you.

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