12 July 2005

So last year sometime I got a speeding ticket (or three, I can’t be certain of the number… who can remember these things). I put it in the area of my car roughly labeled “things I gotta deal with sometime in the near future” and promptly forgot it. Come December of that year on my birthday my 6-year driver’s license expired as did my automobile registration. In the process of re-upping my driver’s license i discovered that I would now need $700 to renew my license. My insurer required another $250 to re-issue my policy for the new year and the auto registration could not be re-issued until both my license and insurance were renewed. This came near christmas. At that point I made the decision to forgo re-registration and take my chances until after the first of the year. At which time I promptly forgot about it. About every 6 weeks i’d be like… “I really need to get that taken care of” but never made any real effort to get the tasks completed because we’re talking about basically shelling out $1000 for the privilege of driving a car I was already driving.

Those of you who have noticed or suspected the presence of an oncoming train would be absolutely correct. That train came in the person of one Officer Dwayne Wazinsky, one of St. Petersburg’s finest who, while I was piloting said car downtown on sunday, pulled me over to inform me my tags were more than six months out of date. And then was also quick to point out the delinquency of my driver’s license.

I am very lucky i was not taken to jail and my car impounded.

Why are all the cops that pull me over EXTREMELY hot? or is it that i’m attracted to men who represent authority figures?

Anyway, after the cops drove away, I took my car home, where it continues to sit, gathering dust in it’s space behind my house.

So now I’ve gotta use the better part of 2 paychecks to rectify the transportation situation, not to mention the fact that the car, itself, needs brakes and to have the master cylinder re-worked ($500).

So sunday night, i’m depressed, sitting among empty bottles of Skyy® Vodka and DeKruyper’s® Sour Apple Pucker from the numerous apple martini’s i’ve consumed on this my most current downward spiral of shame and self-loathing, and I’m trying to foment a plan to get to work monday morning…. knowing i’d have to take the bus but desperately searching for options and realizing that there are none.

During and after college, I took the bus everywhere around Nashville. When I got to town, my dad gave me two things. $200 and a bus schedule. His suggestion was to find a job on the bus route either downtown or somewhere there on Mufreesboro Road. I took the bus for the next 4 years of my life until I bought a motorcycle and afterwards bought a car.Taking the bus at 35 years old can only feel like a step backwards.

So I checked online for the Bus Schedules for Pinellas County only to discover that it would take me over 2 hours to go 15 miles on the bus from my house to work. This would mean I would need to leave the house at 7 in order to be at work by 9.

I know what you’re thinking. IT’S YOUR OWN FUCKING FAULT!!! DUMBASS, Pay your fines and registration fees.. But here’s my point with that. There are other people who are NOT in my situation. I’ve been riding the bus beside them every day. They are low wage earners. Many disabled. Many have recently immigrated (legally or illegally) to the united states and all they want to do is get to work and earn enough money to survive another day. Why should it take THEM 2 hours to get to work?

Pinellas County started out as two cities: St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Then all these smaller towns (22 of them to be exact) began to dot the space between the bigger cities. And now there are very few areas of the county where undeveloped land is currently available. The county is, in point of fact, a single metropolis with close to a million people in it, not 24 separate municipalities with unincorporated space between them.. The PSTA board of directors are appointed by these “tiny towns” to ensure the people of those towns are served by the transit authority’s budget so each area makes it’s bid to get as many routes as possible in their area of town to take back to the citizens of that town that they are protecting their interests, as does every factor of “tiny town” government. They take the tax base of that “town” and set up a “city government” under the argument that that area needs it’s problems and needs addressed. The fact of the matter is, very few people both live and work in the same part of Pinellas. If you live in St. Pete, often you work in Clearwater or Tampa. If you live in Tampa, Often you work in St. Pete or Clearwater. God forbid you live in St. Pete and work in Tarpon Springs or vice versa, because if you do, you MUST have a car and you will still spend 2-3 hours of your day getting to and from work, because, as with everything else in Pinellas, transportation needs are dealt with city-to-city instead of taking the tax base, giving it to the county and allowing them to build an interstate to deal with the county’s transportation needs. Pinellas Park, Kenneth City and Indian Rocks beach would have its needs best addressed by a single set of commissioners that govern the entire county who can address the two biggest problems of transportation and crime (in that order) on a county- basis.

Pinellas County, put on the pink halter top, dive into the large martini glass filled with soapy water and sing suggestively along with Britney I'm Not a
Girl, Not yet a Woman… “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.” In each great metropolis there comes a time when the area ceases to think of itself as a “small town” (OR 24 SMALL TOWNS as the case may be) and begins to think in terms of a city. The time has come for Pinellas’ cherry to be popped and for her to become a woman. We need to give birth to a single city. I’m not saying we need to marry Kevin Federline, god forbid, but we do need to begin addressing the problems we face as a single city and not as a collection of tiny towns each with their own vested interest in keeping resources away from the other.

Maybe, by then we can develop a public transportation routes that don’t take 2 hours to go 15 miles or even… SAY NO, a subway?.