The Intern: Volume I

Take the Bus

Albuquerque at rush hour is not as fun as it looks.
Albuquerque at rush hour is not as fun as it looks.

My first issue with the great city of Albuquerque: the parking … and the traffic, for that matter. After I traveled through Chicago’s rush hour in midday heat on my 1,500-mile, seven-state, two-day journey with my mother, bless her heart, I did not want to arrive in the fabled 505, and on my first day going to work at that promise land of free speech and green chile (the Weekly Alibi) be greeted with traffic reminiscent of a mandatory earthquake evacuation of L.A. During construction season, mind you--not that anyone in New Mexico knows what that is. Oh, yeah. The whole time I was stuck in my 1995 Ford P.O.S., sans air-conditioning.

I come from Michigan, Home of the World’s Largest Pot Hole, and from my house in Ann Arbor to my apartment off Wyoming in northeast Albuquerque, my mother and I covered exactly 1,547.23 of the most treacherous freeway driving miles known to man (and otherwise not known). On more than one occasion, we were sandwiched between two 16-wheelers trying to get into Indiana, bombarded with projectile husks of corn all the way through Illinois and narrowly escaped Amish Country with our lives (and our cell phones). We battled our way through a 30,000-person Baptist convention in Missouri, almost hit a cow in Oklahoma and almost had a cow hit us in Texas. All obstacles were mitigated, however, by our final test, which occurred as soon as we managed to escape the Lone Star State: blasting our way through a Richardson for President Rally that had run over into three in the morning.

But none of this even remotely prepared me for driving to my first day of work the following Tuesday.

It sounded simple enough: Take Academy to I-25 South, get off at the Central exit and you’re there. Ha! That’s like saying, “Go in, oust Saddam, pull out, and you’ll have cheaper gas prices.” Not so fast, Buster! What my girlfriend should have told me was: “Listen, it’s going to be long, it’s going to be painful, and you might not make it out alive, so good luck.” Thanks a lot. With the amount of sweat that had accumulated on my back after 15 minutes of being in my car, I would have been more comfortable walking to work.

Now, remember, I’m not from here, and I don’t mean to pass my all-powerful judgment on your sorry state of traffic and parking affairs, but there just has to be a better way for us all to get around. Wait a minute, wait for it … I’m getting a message from the gods of the Traffic Safety and Highway Commission … Take the bus!

From what I’ve been told, the Duke City public transportation system hasn’t received the best rap, but I beg you to give it a chance. All I can say is that I’d much rather have to smell a guy sitting next to me who hasn’t showered … ever? … then have to smell myself inside of my hot tamale of a car, sweating like Don Madden, while waiting in traffic like cattle going to the aperture. Not to mention that I would rather be guessing the main plot of The Man in the Garden, which that nice old lady is reading three seats ahead of me, than wishing I had brought some Danielle Steele to read as I sit alone in my furnace of a car, wishing I had the guts to take the bus instead.