Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Busloads of barking baboons

Yours truly hasn't posted much on this blog about the local city bus company, Nashville MTA. I've deliberately refrained, for fear that I would stoop to ugly or even obscene language. You see, dear reader, compared to the service I experienced riding San Antonio's MTA, VÍA, that of this city IS obscene!

To paraphrase something I read in "You are so Nashville if. . ." about the late Starwood Amphitheater, I could say, "Nashville MTA, dear Nashville MTA, how do we hate thee? Let me count the ways." First, we hate the confusing-to-read, lacking-in-info and inaccurate pocket schedules. We hate the weird schedule intervals that make no sense. We hate bus drivers speeding from time point to time point so they can take a break due to arriving early. We hate overcrowded buses.

Get the picture?

Another great difference between Nashville MTA and VÍA has to do with demographics, in part. In San Antonio, where the majority are Hispanics, so are bus riders -- but not remarkably more than their share of the general population. And I enjoyed overhearing conversations in Spanish or even code-switching, between two fellow passengers. Sometimes I'd even join in the chatting. But here I seldom hear Spanish, despite the remarkable growth in the local Hispanic community. More likely the non-English I hear on the bus is Arabic or another language of the Islamic part of the Old World. (This is due to the immigration of numerous people from there, to work in hotels.)

Here in Nashville the majority now has changed from Anglo (or white) to Afro-American. And the vast majority of MTA riders as well as drivers are Afro-American. I usually don't mind this, even tho' I cannot relate to their culture like I can to lo chicano. However, conversations I overhear, often spoken at loud volume audible all over the crowded bus, tend to revolve around prison time served, paroles, crimes committed -- or sex -- or sports.

Which leads me to the topic here. On Sunday last, day of the NFL Pro Bowl, twice I was on buses leaving the downtown depot for East Nashville, and several African men were sitting in the back, higher portion of the bus. Somebody would bring up the Pro Bowl, somebody else would ask what time it kicked off, and away they'd go talking about pro football. From the day's bowl to next Sunday's Super Bowl to the Titans to previous Super Bowls. . . and getting louder and loud as their enthusiasm waxed. Shortly they all sound like a pack of barking baboons!

As I say, this occurred twice. I began to wonder if this sort of enthusiasm will continue all thru the week between the two NFL bowls. Well, that got affirmed last evening, when it happened again. Only this time a mere pair of speakers were involved in the chatting, and it didn't start with the Pro Bowl, I don't think. But once again these two covered the range of sub-topics under general topic of NFL. And the got louder and louder in their enthusiasm. And eventually just the two of them were sounding like another pack of barking baboons!

No, Nashville is definitely NOT San Antonio! Go Spurs go! Y también, ¡arriba lo chicano!


Anonymous said...

For someone that appears to be relatively well educated and well written, you display an astonishing amount of ignorance and intolerance. If fact, you could have made whatever point you are trying to make simply by saying that "people on the bus were talking very loud", rather than refering specifically to African Americans as "barking Baboons".

Now I know you're not going to take my advice, but on the off chance that you may have an epiphinay of some sorts- here goes:

You're a smart guy - use your intellect to make the world a better place for everyone rather than making yourself feel superior. - Please -

Glen Alan Graham said...

Please do not think that I consider Afro-Americans to all be "baboons". I've been friends with as well as lived with some who are as lovable, cultured and smart as los chicanos I hobnob with so readily. It was simply that these specific men on the bus were getting into their sports talk so forcefully and talking over each other so loudly that the clear impression was exactly that of a band of barking baboons. It's intended as simply a word picture and not an expression of general superiority.

Glen Alan Graham said...

One further point: at times in order to make the world better for everyone, or even to make one person better, confrontation is necessary. Telling the frank truth about how a person is perceived, or the negative impact of their actions on others. This is seldom easy; some do not like to confront, others don't like to be confronted. (Yes, I realize that in this case, this means I should have to those guys to their face how they came across. Am I a coward?)