UCSD ID cards not totally useless

    I snorted impatiently for about seven minutes, pacing down a 15-or-so meter stretch of sidewalk in front of Macy’s. I was anxious because I had an appointment, the kind of appointment where they keep you in a vinyl office chair, strap a shower cap filled with electrodes to your melon and ask you to click a button while colorful lights blink on and off. … Or something like that. Knowing that it takes the shuttles somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes to take me from UTC, on the easternmost end of the route, to Mandeville, my time was slowly running out.

    The first indication of the shuttle is always the sound of the jake brake as the bus makes the final turn into the southern driveway of the mall. At this sound, I instinctually whipped out my wallet, flopped it open, and reached for my student ID card. In its place was nothing but empty leather. I thought back to Chipotle the day before, when I dropped it back into my jacket’s lapel pocket, and replayed this scene about four times, each time ending with the image in my mind’s eye of the jacket slumped over the back of my kitchen chair, the ID burning a hole in the pocket of the jacket, along with the three dollars I probably left in there — approximately one quarter of my net worth. “Big fucking deal,” I thought, absolutely sure that the combination of sympathy, my house shirt from first year in the res. halls and a bag full of notes for UCSD classes could vouch for my identity enough to get me one ride without my ID. I, of course, was mistaken. Somewhere in McGill hall, a researcher penalized some unconscionable asshole for making an experiment appointment and never showing up.

    The eyes of the shuttle driver told me that she was afraid, afraid of the consequences for helping out a fellow student against her orders to enforce IDs on the shuttle. If the driver had been one of the aged “career drivers,” I could have forgiven them; it is only from fellow students that I expect the sympathy that I would afford any of them. So I drove home and fetched my ID (and three dollars) out of my limp jacket. What would you do?

    In order to get onto a Cityshuttle these days (anywhere except at the Mandeville stop), you must have a UCSD ID. You must pull the ID out from behind your ass, or from a backpack, bag, purse or whatever you use to carry your useless-except-for-the-purpose-of-getting-you-on-the-shuttles-and-a-free-drink-at-Chipotle ID. This is the policy, and despite how much effort it takes to produce your papers on command, it makes sense. Ever been left behind at a stop because the shuttle was too full? Imagine some ugly mook (easier to hate ’em that way) hitching a ride on the shuttles for some trivial, nonacademic reason, while you wait there, missing whatever categorically important thing you should be doing. Let this alone be your justification for getting the ID out, even though there is a laundry list of reasons this policy makes sense — just ask Frank “Frankie” Buono III, the manager of the Cityshuttle program. Just like you need your ID to buy booze, and assless chaps to be Prince, you need a student ID to get on the shuttle. Them’s the facts of life.

    This doesn’t mean that the drivers who turn away students can get off scot-free. I quote Frankie the boss-man himself: “Drivers would not be fired if they allowed someone on the bus without an ID card … drivers are asked to adhere to the policy as much as possible.” Let me interpret this (or put my own probably incorrect spin on it). Drivers, don’t be dicks to fellow students. If they claim to have no ID, see if they have an overpriced reader (we all have one of those), or ask them a question to which only UCSD students know the answer (from “Who’s playing at Sun God?” to “How’d the UCSD football team do last year?”): If they don’t know, fine, keep their ignorant asses off of my bus. That being said, for all those who ride, when you see that shuttle coming, get out your ID, or get out your proof of studenthood, or turn around and start walking.

    I could not ask for such grace and discretion from the fellow students that drive Cityshuttle without asking the 7,500 daily riders for something as well: respect for the drivers as well as the rest of us riding the bus. The buses are on a schedule because people need to be places. So if the bus is pulling away and stops for you, you’d better run, not walk to it. At school, when the bus is barreling down the hill, don’t leap in front of it because you’re in a hurry — the rest of us on the bus are in a hurry, too –– another shuttle will show up in no more than 10 minutes. Maybe you should take up smoking. Then you’ll have something to do while you wait — and you really should wait. On the topic of the brakes, try to pull the cord well before the stop. The buses are harder to stop than Tom Cruise’s Porsche 928 in “Risky Business.” Again with the IDs. Does it seem to take a long time now that they’re checking IDs? Well, first, you’re wrong. Second, we can solve this problem by attempting to get out our IDs for the shuttle sooner. Yes, really.

    The key to the utopian Cityshuttle experience is civility from both sides. Riders, you don’t have to be taciturn, impatient assholes — you have the rest of your lives to do that, and boy, does it get tiring. Drivers, help us out here; sometimes things are forgotten (hell, I left my keys in the refrigerator once), and classes, midterms and appointments don’t stop just because we forgot our IDs. It’s time for all of us to accept the privilege of the Cityshuttle (it saves me and you a couple hundred clams on parking) and try to remember, as burdensome as it may be, get out those IDs. One last thing: Say “thank you” to the drivers — it makes their day.

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