SEPTA GIRL: Feets Don’t Fail Me Now


BY PHILLY GRRL Oh, SEPTA! What a day. This morning started out so well.

[9:23 AM ] While on my way to Walnut and 12th to catch the 42 Bus, I saw an elderly black man wearing a black fedora and a dark maroon coat running to the bus stop in front of the Reading Terminal. As the bus came closer to SeptaGirl_520_1.jpg11th and Arch, his cane caught a crack in the sidewalk and he lurched forward, his senior citizen card falling from his hand. Before I could get to him, the bus driver pulled to a screeching halt and came dashing out, catching the man up in his arms. From the bus came several passengers including a young man wearing a bright yellow tag that said “Juror.” The group helped the man rise slowly to his feet. Last I saw, they were all boarding the bus.

[1:16 PM] Midday, I boarded the Broad Street Line and took the local to Temple. A little girl and her mother boarded the stop at Fairmount Avenue. The little girl was singing. Five minutes into the ride, she leans over and tells her mother, “Momma, I’m gonna to be a doctor!” She sings to herself. “Doctor, doctor, doctor.” A couple minutes later, “Momma, I’m gonna be a showgirl. Showgirl. Showgirl. Showgirl.” I smile at her. She singsongs back, “Doctor. Showgirl. Doctor. Showgirl.” Listening to her, I wonder where she learned the word ‘showgirl.’

 “Shaddup,” says the mother.

 “How old is your daughter?” I ask the mother, “she’s gorgeous.”

 “Four,” says the mother. She doesn’t look at me.

 [9:43 PM] Later, at night, on my way back to City Hall, I see an older woman with a cart. It is stuffed with bags and blankets. She doesn’t look homeless, but I have my suspicions. When she reaches the steps, she looks around in bewilderment and starts pulling up the cart, which is almost as tall as her, huffing and puffing all the while.  “I can lift the end for you,” I tell her. She shakes her head, but lets me help her.

 The second staircase, a young boy comes up the stairs behind us. “You don’t do that,” he tells me. “I got this.” He helps her up the remaining steps and only nods when she thanks him.

[12:32 AM] Find out SEPTA workers are planning to strike as of 3AM this morning. Lucky for me, work is walking septa_eatin_man.jpgdistance. Wonder how I’ll get to school in the evening. Count my vacation days and wonder if I should take off tomorrow so I can start walking. Maybe I’ll get there by lunchtime. I have a bike, but it’s parked a good 20 blocks from my house. (Don’t ask, it was late and I bought too many groceries not to take the bus.) At the most, it’s a half an hour walk from City Hall to my university, but I know Temple also provides shuttles. Text my little sister, so she knows to catch a ride. Her college doesn’t have shuttles. Try to determine how many of my friends have cars. Give up because I realize they all live in opposite directions from me. Wonder how I’ll do my groceries this weekend if the strike continues. Pull my rollerblades out from under my bed. Wonder why I have rollerblades under my bed. Contemplate picking up skateboarding before it occurs to me that I was born spatially awkward. Imagine tomorrow morning’s traffic. Think about that vacation day again. Sigh. Text everyone I know, just to make sure they know about the strike. Sigh again.

On the plus side, I guess that means SEPTA Girl is also on strike! Good, finals are coming up anyway. As part of my demands, I ask that the Blue Line be called the Pink Line and that students everywhere (not just high school students) get free tokens. Oh yeah, and uh, can we get some murals down on the Broad Street Line? I’ll have my union rep look into this.

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