By Claire Kaufman, 16, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies
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Now that she has to pay for gas, Claire is looking for a job.

Dear Metro,

I am breaking up with you. I just got my driver’s license. We’ve had some fun over the years, but it’s over.

I was only 14 when my parents decided I was too old to be driven everywhere, so they set us up on a blind date. Finally, I would be able to get around without depending on my parents.

As I walked to the bus stop, I was so nervous. I arrived at 2:25 p.m., giving me ample time to wait for your scheduled arrival at 2:29 p.m. But at 2:29 p.m., you didn’t show. Five minutes later, you still weren’t there. I was upset and bored. I took out my phone and texted as many people as I could think of. After every sent text, I would look up expectantly.

Finally, at 2:45 p.m., you arrived. As I stepped onto the bus clutching my dollar nervously, I looked up at the driver. She looked at me, scowled, and said, “What do you want?” I mumbled something about not knowing where to put

my dollar. The guy behind me told me to hurry up. I could feel my face getting red. After almost putting my dollar in the coin slot, I managed to figure out where to put my money and scampered to the back of the bus. Before I could choose a seat, the bus started moving and I fell into a seat next to a sweaty old man.

As my stop approached, I realized I didn’t know how to signal the bus to stop. So I walked to the front of the bus and politely asked the driver to let me off at the next stop. “Why didn’t you just pull the cord?” she asked, irritated. I looked down, embarrassed, and walked off, breathing a huge sigh of relief as I saw my friend waiting for me. I knew that I’d see you again and hoped things would be smoother, but I had no idea that you, my Metro 33, would pick me up almost every single day for the next two years.

Sadly, the scheduled time was never reliable. It was more reliable to count on you arriving a few minutes early or five minutes late. Additionally, you never drove me exactly where I needed to go. I would often have to take multiple

Illustration by Michelle Cao, 17, Temple City HS

buses that took me pretty far out of the way. You upset me a lot when you took away the reduced price for transfers between buses, and it didn’t help when you raised the price from $1 to $1.50.

My worst ride

Only a couple months into our relationship we had to take a break. I was taking the bus from school to my friend’s house where I had never been before. I got off the bus and started walking. A 50s-ish-looking man started walking in the same direction. As I reached the corner, I realized I had been walking the wrong way. When I turned around, I noticed the older guy stop, wait for me to pass, and turn around too. Suspicious, I turned around again and he did too.

I freaked out. I called my dad and mom but they didn’t answer. I was so angry at them for not picking up the phone, and also terrified that my parents couldn’t help me. I fast-walked to the nearest Vons, and was relieved when I saw the man walk away. Just to be sure I stayed in the makeup aisle until I decided it was safe and then walked to my friend’s house. For the next four months, my parents drove me where I needed to go.

After that, the incident was forgotten and I took the bus again, but I was never excited to see you. I’ve had many a creepy man try to start conversations with me; there’s always a lady talking to herself; and the people who unfortunately take up more than one seat.

I’m not saying that the bus was all bad. I know I was helping the environment. Plus, I will miss people-watching on the Metro. You always gave me good stories to tell my friends. One day I smelled weed coming from the back of the bus. I ignored it, but the driver didn’t. She stopped the bus in the middle of the street, stood up, stomped to the back of the bus and screamed, “Get the f*** off my bus!” Then she opened the doors and demanded that the two guys get off the bus in the middle of the road.

And not all the crowds were bad. A few months ago when I was taking the bus home from school, it was so crowded that I had to squeeze next to the door. As the bus started moving, I was pushed into two people, both my age. We talked for the entire bus ride and when I got home I friended them on Facebook. If I had made more friends on the bus, maybe I’d be less inclined to get my license.

Next time you see me, I’ll be with a green 1995 Ford Explorer. I know he will be reliable, come wherever I want him to and carry all my things.

Best regards, Claire