As I sat over my soggy bowl of Captain Crunch the other morning, it occurred to me that since students (with the exception of freshmen) have been booted out of Temple Housing and onto the streets of Philadelphia, commuting has become the way of life. Some people opt to fight for parking, but the rest of us have resorted to public transportation. For some that took a giant leap of faith that meant overcoming a huge fear of city buses. This was the case for me, and as a girl from Los Angeles, the concept of public transit was terrifying.
Then I thought about all of those eager new students- in a new city, away at college and on a new campus that seems so large. I remember how it felt, going from a wild Californian, buzzing around the streets of Santa Monica with my hair on fire, and then coming to Philly in a condition that a girl from Cali has nightmares about: car-less. I remember trying to explain to my roommate what it felt like living without a car for the first time in seven years. I believe the analogy I used was, “Telling a girl from L.A. that she is moving to the other side of the country without a car is kind of like telling a two- year-old that they are going to bed without his blankie. You just don’t do it.” My Captain Crunch was turning to mush. I had to do something to save all of these eager freshmen from facing the terrible isolation of campus life by the end of October. But what?
My Crunch Berries were liquefied now, and finally, it came to me. Write a column! Tell the truth about SEPTA, that it actually works, and it really is not all that terrifying. Tell the people that there are places to go and sights to see in Philadelphia, that you just cannot miss. And most importantly, all of them can be accessed by using the services of the South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority!
My goal has been to save all of you incoming students from boredom, and to enlighten all of you commuters to the freedom you have with SEPTA. I am taking you underground to discover the hidden beauties of Philadelphia, around the block a few times, and back, all the while giving you the directions to it all via SEPTA.
Welcome to Route ’04: Service to Underground Philadelphia.
Cheryl Ellis can be reached at email@example.com.