Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Butchering Language: Ohio needs more public transport

In a dream world, I would like my car to explode. I would revel in its ashes, rolling around like the heavy black dust is a big pile of leaves. A wave of catharsis would wash over my body as the steering wheel detaches from the dashboard and flies to the heavens; I would be free from the chains of owning a car in Athens.

I love my car–I always have–but its existence on campus alongside me hangs over the top of my body like a pitch-black storm cloud. For starters, I just don’t use it, our campus is highly walkable with more than enough amenities for a cheap college kid like me to stay healthy and alive. Because I never use it, and because I’m cheap, I don’t find buying a parking pass to be necessary. 

This path has led my Ford Escape, which has over two hundred thousand miles logged and is named Christine, into the realm of repeat delinquency–parking tickets. Two tickets, a towing incident, and it’s not even week three. This is on top of the fact that the undercarriage leaks oil and the transmission doesn’t just kick and stall, it filibusters.

The rear wipers fell off onto the 275-loop down in Cincinnati, and there is no air conditioning, so I just have to hope to God that it doesn't rain and that I don’t sweat straight through all my clothes. In summary: if my car were a person, I would advise it to commit a crime just for healthcare purposes. 

However, the impracticality of going carless keeps me from driving Christine into the Hocking River at 3 a.m. and forgetting about her. I would not be able to go home without inconveniencing someone; I would not be able to use it as storage, I would have a very hard time with adult grocery shopping and I couldn’t drive and go visit my friends on a different campus if I so pleased. 

I blame the state of Ohio’s public transportation system for trapping me into keeping a vehicle nearby. If we had another style of transportation, I would be able to hop on a train to Columbus and then hop on a different one down to Cincinnati, but instead of this dream, I have to move and re-park a two-ton financial black hole once every 24 hours. It’s ridiculous, and the average American is getting woke to the idea of our national public transportation being miles, miles worse than our international contemporaries. 

A nationalized railroad like Amtrak has been hovering around the collective consciousness for the last few years, plans that were rejected by state governments float around on Twitter, and accounts that compare public transportation of American and European cities of similar densities grow every day. It would be such an easy, important and profitable quality-of-life change for the average traveling Joe in places everywhere.

However, if these changes were to happen, I would also be very sad without Christine. The front seat is so familiar. It has been the same comfortable, comforting front seat for the last five years. Much of what I own now, I did not own five years ago. I’ve grown up with her parked within a short walk for the majority of my adult life. It would be like putting down my cat. 

I could grow up and get a new car, I could grow up and use strictly public transportation but instead, I’m driving around the same piece of junk. We have to drive around in the same box for too long, we have to rent for longer than our parents did, and our dreams of owning a place to live are becoming more and more distant as housing becomes more and more out-priced for anyone near the mean. 

The older I get, the more I realize just how impossible it is to change anything and how hard it would be to live by good principles. I could still have a car and only use public transport, but it is just not realistic.

So for now, I’m stuck paying the same parking tickets, for the same spot, for the same stupid vehicle; and I do it like a good person all because of a legislative purgatory designed to keep me behind the wheel of a smoking car, that, one day, will explode with me in it or watching it. 

Matthew Butcher is a junior studying English at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Matthew know by tweeting him @mattpbutcher.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH