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Public opinion of TriMet's decisions have been pretty mixed, mostly because TriMet's decisions are so convoluted that they can be a real challenge to understand. In reality, Metro and Portlanders need to have a bigger civic conversation about the future of TriMet, looking at the big picture. We have 3 looming existential crises of TriMet to be concerned about that are bigger than revenue dips, crime, or homeless people.
Civic leaders and the public are focused on a quick "fix" for TriMet revenue drops - even though we've seen this coming for a long time, it's very predictable that TriMet's Board of Directors acts at the last minute. Also, very predictably, TriMet's Board opted for a fare increase because over the previous 20 years that's been a go-to answer to every problem (except for that one time they killed Fareless Square). The politically appointed boards of TriMet and Metro lack the unique specialized knowledge of the issues I'll bring up here. If TriMet knows about these larger issues, they're obviously burring it from public view. In the short term, increasing fares is like putting fresh paint on a house that's on fire; in this situation, that paint is HIGHLY flammable.
First - fare hikes as a tactic is a brain-dead move. Just the most utterly stupid and self-sabotaging response to a looming budget shortfall. I'm dwelling on this because it illustrates their terrible decision-making, which is functional proof they have no idea what they're doing. Some of the core reasons for this:
- Increasing fares reduces utilization. Higher cost means fewer people ride, which will decrease the ridership revenue. It will also marginally increase the number of people who won't pay (funny story, some of those who don't pay actually can't afford to). TriMet isn't a monopoly or inelastic service, and plenty of other choices exist that didn't exist 20 years ago: an actual bike share, scooters, electric bikes, UbeLyft, shared vehicles, and more bike paths. Before the pandemic, it was common that I would bus into downtown for work and then take a Lyft home because it wasn't all that expensive, like $8 more than a bus ride - TriMet's price increases make a system that wasn't very competitive simply less compelling.
- Across Portland we need to go through a process of austerity and downsizing government. I absolutely support Wheeler putting a pause on rate increases, but for God's sake, we have far too much largesse in every layer of government. If you need to learn what I'm talking about, read my old article on Parks & Rec. So many divisions/agencies have doubled their staff while reducing service levels. It's bonkers. Cutting throats needs to be an imperative. This is because the great majority of public sector employees in Oregon and Portland are incompetent, redundant, and only exist because Oregon and Portland have been reluctant to use automation. And I don't mean the cutting-edge AI stuff, I'm talking about people who still handle business processes as if they're paper forms. I could tell so many stories from my professional experience - but you'll have to take my word for it for now: culling this bureaucracy is the right move, and until there's a significant downsizing, the political class is taking none of the financial crisis or cost of living situation seriously.
- TriMet's operating budget/revenue is primarily Payroll Taxes, not passenger revenue. About 20-30% of TriMet's budget comes from people buying fares, whereas the bulk of money TriMet needs comes from payroll taxes that businesses pay directly. Because of this, transit activists (including myself) have been proponents of increasing the payroll taxes marginally to make TriMet free for riders. Of course, fareless transit comes with a wide variety of new and different problems (that's an article for another time). Still, when you understand that only a sliver of revenue comes from fares, increasing the fare simply results in a marginal increase in revenue. The much bigger problem is going to businesses investing outside of Metro, and changing workforces that 1) won't pay payroll taxes reliably, 2) don't need people to go into the office. Think about the longer-term game here: is TriMet's board going to increase fares as utilization drops and payroll taxes continually diminish? (See my point above about how their default answer is "yes" because it's the only politically expedient answer.)
Reading comments about the fare hikes, most of the public thinks TriMet is dealing with a safety or utilization issue. Both of these are 100% true: soft-on-crime progressives have wholly obliterated the working class perception of TriMet safety - there are so many different ways this has happened, but we should thank so many people in the media and political class: Ana del Rocio's crying wolf about racism in fare inspections (and the media entertaining it), or Mike Schmidt deinstitutionalizing of the justice system, or Legislature's inability to act on the massive mental health crisis and drug addiction crisis in Oregon. No matter the underlying cause, we have a system where deranged violent mentally ill tweakers can be disruptive on the train, but working-class people face a $250 fine if they can't afford a
($2.80) ticket. TriMet is less safe, especially the light rail and bus lines. We could hypothetically talk about various policy and infrastructure changes, such as turnstiles and security guards - but pragmatically, this won't do shit when our society has adopted a philosophy of transforming the urban core into an open-air insane asylum and opened the doors to the prisons. This safety issue is well beyond TriMet's scope, and even if there was consensus among TriMet and Metro to solve this, the entire justice system and Legislature is still broken.
Fare Hikes and Utilization is the Red Herring - Let's talk about TriMet's future
In reality, multiple design choices made decades ago set us up for failure. But we also have to thank brain-dead progressive lunatics and corrupt politicos who have steered our transit decision-making into the ground.
There are three specific issues I'm going to talk about, with each becoming more consequential and disastrous for TriMet:
- Hub and Spoke Design and the need for a redesign of the entire system to fit new commuting/transit patterns
- Portland Light Rail's short cars are a capacity problem not worth the price tag to fix
- Autonomous vehicles are here, and it's just going to get worse for TriMet
The strategic design of TriMet's system is broken, and it's been broken before.
If you looked at a map of TriMet's bus and rail system, you'd see a design pattern often referred to as a "Radial Design" or sometimes a "Hub And Spoke" design. The Hub and Spoke strategy is building our transit system around centralized locations to connect to other routes. For Portland the idea is to go downtown (or sometimes a Park and Ride) where you can connect to your next destination. This is why the majority of bus routes and all the max routes go downtown, to our Transit Mall and Pioneer Square.
Downtown planning was a smart idea in the 1960s when it was coupled with Main Street economic theory and prototype urban development zones - all of this wrapped up in the 1972 Downtown Plan policy. During these decades, the primary economic idea of urban revitalization was that downtown cores could provide better business climates and shopping districts that amplify economic activity synergistically. In other words, packing all the office jobs and luxury shopping in one area is good for workers, business, and civic planning.
All very smart ideas in yester-year, so TriMet became focused on serving the downtown business community myopically. This myopia became so paramount that it was considered illegitimate (actually taboo, borderline illegal) if you used a Park & Ride facility to park and NOT ride downtown. Amanda Fritz once explained that we couldn't expand Barbur Transit Center because that would result in students parking at Barbur Transit Center and riding the bus to PCC Sylvania. This view implies that TriMet exists only to service downtown workers, not the students, not the impoverished mom needing to go to a grocery store.
How does TriMet's hub and spoke design represent its purpose?
Portland's unspoken rule of transit philosophy is that jobs pay for the system (remember, business payroll taxes pay for most of it), so TriMet should be focused on serving people utilizing it for their job - employers pay for it, and they get value out of it. But this is both unspoken (never said aloud) and largely unobserved. The whole idea of TriMet as a social service to serve low-income people, to help impoverished people - well, those ideas were just lukewarm political rhetoric that is tossed out as soon as some Undesirable
with tattered clothing reeking of cigarettes gets aboard - then Portlanders jump right back "this is for workers only!" Sadly, there hasn't ever been a public consensus of why TriMet exists because I could equally argue that TriMet's purpose isn't serving the working class; it's actually vehicle emissions reductions - but here, too, reality contradicts that this is the purpose for why we operate TriMet. TriMet's real purpose seems to be "Spend money on lofty capital projects" and if we want to be cynical about it, we can elaborate "…because large capital projects enable grift, embezzlement, and inflating property values for developers.
We haven't always depended upon a hub and spoke design. A great article from Jarrett Walker written in 2010 on his Human Transit blog explains in "The Power and Pleasure of Grids
Why aren't all frequent networks grids? The competing impulse is the radial network impulse, which says: "We have one downtown. Everyone is going there, so just run everything to there." Most networks start out radial, but some later transition to more of a grid form, often with compromises in which a grid pattern of routes is distorted around downtown so that many parallel routes converge there. You can see this pattern in many cities, Portland for example. Many of the lines extending north and east out of the city center form elements of a grid, but converge on the downtown. Many other major routes (numbered in the 70s in Portland's system) do not go downtown, but instead complete the grid pattern. This balance between grid and radial patterns was carefully constructed in 1982, replacing an old network in which almost all routes went downtown.
Over the years the grid pattern was neglected in favor of a downtown-focused investment strategy. To a real degree it made practical sense: that's where the jobs were. But again, this is the presumption that TriMet and Mass Transit ought to service workers first, and there's not much consensus on that. But while we can't decide on TriMet's purpose, we can absolutely agree on one important thing: Downtown is dead.
No 5-star hotel is going to fix it. (As of writing, I'm not even convinced that this mafia-connected bamboozle of public fraud will open.) No "tough-on-crime" DA to replace Mike Schmidt, like Nathan Vasquez, will fix downtown. It's not JUST a crime problem: most of the problems we deal with today mirror the problems facing Portland in the 1960s, especially our inability to invest in good infrastructure people actually want to use. That's on top of crime, vandalism, and an unhealthy business ecosystem. IF
we want to maintain TriMet (and that's a big IF, for reasons I'll explain below), then it will be focused on something other than downtown. We need to move back to a grid-design transit system, as this is a much easier way to use transit to get around the city, no matter your destination. If TriMet continues to exist and operate fleets in 20-30 years, this is the only way it exists - because it will just be too inconvenient to ride downtown as a side quest to your destination, especially as we look at 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now.
Of course, we can only transform some parts of the transit infrastructure this way, and there are no uplifting and moving train tracks here. So light rail doesn't have a future in the grid system - but even without the grid system, light rail is doomed.
The fatal flaws of light rail in Portland.
I want to preface this by saying I like light rail as a strategy
, it's not a bad system or bad civic investment. I could write another 5,000-word essay on why Seattle did an excellent job with light rail and the specific decisions Portland made wildly incorrectly. In transit advocacy the wacktavists inappropriately categorized skeptics of Portland's light rail as some soft bigotry - as if you're racist if you don't like Portland's light rail - even though, ironically, most light rail systems tend to be built for the preference of white culture and white workers, precisely what happened here in Portland and most cities (but this is all a story for another time). Portland's light rail system has a capacity problem and has dealt with this capacity problem quietly for the last 20+ years.
When you see the capacity problem, you can quickly understand this light rail system won't work in the future. All the other smart cities in the world that designed light rail realized they needed big long trains to move many people. Portland decided to limit the train car length to the size of our city blocks to save construction costs - and this has always been a fatal flaw.
Portland's highest capacity train car is our Type 5, according to Wikipedia
it has a seating capacity of 72 and an overall capacity of 186 per train. Let's compare:
- Washington DC has 6-car trains capable of carrying 120 passengers per car, or 720 per train.
- Salt Lake City has a 4-car train capable of carrying 230 passengers per car, or 920 per train.
- Seattle's Link system has a 3 or 4-car train, each capable of carrying approximately 200 passengers per car, so 600 to 800 per train.
Portland's light rail lines have roughly the same people moving capacity as a single lane
of a highway, maybe marginally more, maybe marginally less. These other cities have a light rail system that can move the same amount of people as an entire 3-lane highway.
You might suspect that Portland could simply run trains more frequently - but nah, that's impossible because the trains run through the central core of downtown Portland, and they're blocked by the real interfaces with road traffic and bottlenecks. TriMet/PBOT/Metro has offered rosy ideas that we could hypothetically run cars every 90 seconds, 2 minutes, 4 minutes, or 6 minutes (depending upon who you ask) - but these are garbage numbers invented out of thin air. For example, you could stand at Pioneer Courthouse Square at 4:50pm on a Wednesday in 2016 - there was a train opening doors to load passengers, and you could visibly see the next train at Pioneer Place Mall pulling into the station behind. Trains were running at approximately a 3 to 4 minute at peak - but on paper, TriMet will claim anything, as they don't give a shit about lying to the public. But the bigger problem is that trains were full.
You might have to wait 90 minutes to find a train that offers a seat. And god forbid you had a bike.
I'm not making this very real capacity problem, Metro even acknowledges
At the busiest hours of the day, 40 light rail trains must cross the river and traverse downtown – one train every 90 seconds. As the region grows and the demand for light rail increases, the region will need at least 64 MAX trains through downtown every hour, more than one train each minute. Our current system can't support that change.
Suppose you're silly enough to trust government propaganda. In that case, you can read the details of Metro study on this in 2019
. If we assumed their numbers added up, it's just fucking impossible to run 62 trains per hour, because passenger loading and unloading can take a full minute (sometimes longer). So unless we want to apply substantial g-forces onto the passengers, the train isn't accelerating out of the stops fast enough. Not to mention how unreliable this whole system would be if a sole tweaker, bike rider, or person with a stroller held up the system for 2 minutes.
This is why the bottom line needs to be upfront about capacity - quoting Metro's study here:
Today MAX is limited to 2-car trains because of the length of downtown city blocks. A tunnel could allow for longer trains if the stations outside the downtown core are retrofitted. In the long-term, this could greatly increase MAX capacity.
Do you see that trick? Build a tunnel, yes - but the entire system has to be retrofitted. Literally every light rail station would need to be redesigned, the lines themselves recalculated for larger heavier trains - and extending platforms at Willow Creek might be simple enough, but how in the living fuck is Metro going to afford to expand the Zoo stop? Doubling the size of that platform would cost $500 million alone.
If the city weren't full of cheap dipshits, we would have elevated or buried our light rail lines in the 1980s or 90s, enabling longer train cars to run. Yes, we all knew back then that it was the best practice not to have light rail running on the street - it's less safe, less reliable, runs slower, and limits train car size. Oops.
Just to keep TriMet's own bullshit inflated utopian vision, it would mean spending another billion dollars just to unfuck downtown, bypass an aging bridge, and potentially allow a marginally higher volume of trains - which again is a band-aid on a mortal wound.
The real buried lede is that to add extra train cars means retrofitting all the stops in the system
- that's tens of billions of dollars
. You can argue costs, but Metro knows we need to do this. It means shutting down the system for a year or years while construction and retrofits happen. It's fucking outrageous. Is this system worth of people per line worth 20, 30, or 40 billion dollars? Fuck no, it ain't. Again, if we had a raging metropolis of industry and commerce downtown, we could reasonably entertain the idea for a moment - but we don't and never will again.
Some folks might argue that if we kill off the light rail system we'd lose out on all those lucrative Transit Oriented Developments. Originally the public was told that Transit Oriented Development strategy would cause a massive infusion of private investment because the light rail was so damn lucrative and desirable for Richard Florida's Creative Class. Turns out the Creative Class is now called today the Laptop Class, and they don't give a flying fuck about street cars, light rail, or walking scores - because most can't be bothered to put pants on during their "commute" from bed to desk. TOD was all a fantasy illusion from the beginning, as multiple studies about Portland commuters showed that college-educated white folks riding Max were equally comfortable riding their bike as a substitute for the same commute. All of these billions of dollars was to accommodate white fare-weather bikers. So here's my hot take on transit: pave over the rail lines and put in bike lanes, and boy, then you'd have a bike system to give folks like Maus a hardon. But of course, Bike Portland would complain because their focus isn't biking; they exist only to favor all poorly thought utopian transit ideas.
Another group of Max/TOD advocates would claim that TOD is better for disabled and impoverished people. And yeah, there's truth there, but see my entire argument above about the Hub & Spoke design of TriMet being the antithesis of transit as a social service. If you believe that TriMet should serve low-income people, you must advocate for a bus-centric grid design.
But even if you're a die-hard believer in light rail - there's another inevitable reality coming that is the nail in the coffin.
Autonomous vehicles will replace mass transit faster than the automobile replaced the horse.
I work in advanced technology, and the thing about tech is that the public and politicians deny that it's going to be there until the majority of the public finally experiences it. You could say this about personal computers, internet, cloud compute, electric cars, smartphones, distributed ledger (cryptocurrency), AI, and driverless vehicles.
Schrodinger's technology doesn't exist until it's measured in an Apple store or your mother asks you for tech support.
No one thought AI was really
real until ChatGPT did their kid's homework, and today most people are coming to terms with the fact that ChatGPT 3.5 could do most people's jobs. And that's not even the most advanced AI, that's the freeware put out by Microsoft, they have paywalls to access the real deal.
In 2018 I rode in my colleague's Tesla in self-driving mode from downtown Portland to Top Golf in Hillsboro. We started our journey at the surface parking lot on the west side of the Morrison Bridge. He used his phone to tell the car to pull out of the parking spot and to pick us up. Then he gave the car the address, and it drove us the entire way without any human input necessary. The only time he provided feedback was to touch the turn signal to pass a slow car on the highway. People think self-driving isn't here - but it is - and it's gotten exponentially better and will continue to do so. People will complain and moan about idealized, utopian, pedantic "level 5" full self-driving, how none of it exists or could exist, as a Tesla passes them on the road and the driver is half asleep.
Of course, Portland and every major city have also thought deeply about self-driving technology, and a few places have implemented self-driving solutions - but so far, none of these are really at scale. Though it will be a short time before cost-conscious cities go all-in.
TriMet kicked around the idea of using an autonomous bus for a leg of the trip of the Southwest Corridor project, connecting a segment of the light rail route to the community college. It was bafflingly stupid and short-sighted to think they could use it in this niche application but that it wouldn't open the floodgates for a hundred different applications that eviscerate TriMet's labor model. The simplest example of autonomous operation would be to operate the light rail systems - because they don't make turns, all we need is an AI vision service to slam on the breaks if necessary - that technology has existed for 20+ years. We could retrofit the entire train system in about 3 to 6 months - replace every Max operator with a security guard, and maybe people would ride the Max again? But I digress. Let's speculate about the far-future, some 5, 10, or 20 years from now:
your transit options will expand significantly. The cost will decrease considerably for services using automated vehicles.
You'll look at your options as:
- Drive to work: fastest, takes $100+ worth of gas a month, but you also need $50+ for insurance and $500+ for the monthly car payment, plus those surprise maintenance and broken windows. Also, do you pay for parking? Pick a number for how much it costs to drive your personally owned and manually operated vehicle to work each month.
- Autonomous vehicle service: price TBA, but think of how much an Uber costs when you don't have to pay the driver, you don't have to pay for gas. An Uber that runs for $20 today would likely be $10 or less. So, to and from work 20 times a month, $200. $300? Ok, let's just say it's $400 a month. It's still all cheaper than owning a car and driving it to work. No parking fees, and it picks you up quickly enough that it's not a nuisance.
- Mass Transit: $150 per month, but ugghhh it's slow, it smells like piss, a guy jacked off in your hair, and you can't schedule a meeting for the first 30 minutes of your anticipated workday in case you miss a connection - and it breaks so often the government actively hides the reliability data from the public and media.
Just a few years into this future we'll see a brand new trend, one that already exists: a shared autonomous vehicle like a privately operated bus. For example, Uber Bus - it already exists as a commuter option in some cities, it's just not autonomous yet. The significant benefit of an autonomous bus is that these shared vehicles will utilize HOV lanes very commonly, and commuting in an autonomous vehicle will be as fast as driving to work in your manually operated car while also being less expensive.
Simultaneously automobile accidents in autonomous vehicles will be virtually non-existent, and insurance companies will start to increase prices on vehicles that lack AI/smart assisted safety driving features. Public leaders will see the value of creating lanes of traffic on highways dedicated explicitly to autonomous vehicles so that they can drive at much higher speeds than manually operated traffic. Oregon won't lead the way here, but wait until Texas or one of the Crazy States greenlights a speed limit differential, and self-driving vehicles have a speed limit of 90, 120, or 150 miles per hour. You might think "accidents would be terrible and deadly" but there will be fewer accidents in the autonomous lane than in manual lanes. At this point, it will be WAY faster to take an autonomous vehicle to your work.
Purchasing power of consumers will decrease while the cost of vehicles will increase (especially autonomous vehicles), making ownership of any vehicle less likely. Frankly, the great majority of people won't know how to drive and will never learn to - just like how young people today don't know how to use manual transmission. However, fleets of autonomous vehicles owned by companies like Tesla, Uber, and Lyft will benefit from scale and keep their autonomous bus fleets operating at low cost. This will lead to a trend where fewer and fewer people will own an automobile, and fewer people even bother learning how to drive or paying the enormous insurance cost.... while also depending upon automobiles more than we do today.
Eventually, in the distant future, manually driven vehicles will be prohibited in urban areas as some reckless relic from a bygone era.
Cities and public bodies don't have to be cut out of this system if they act responsibly. For example, cities could start a data brokering exchange where commuters provide their commuting data (i.e., pick-up point, destination, arrival time). The government uses either a privatized fleet or a publicly owned fleet of autonomous vehicles to move as many people as possible as often as possible. Sort of a publicly run car-pool list - or a hyper-responsive bus fleet that runs for the exact passengers going to exact locations. A big problem companies like Uber, Lyft, and Tesla will have is that they'll lack market saturation to optimize commuting routes - they'll be able to win unique rides, but the best way they can achieve the lowest cost service model is these super predictable and timely commuter riders. The more data points and riders, the more optimization they can achieve. These companies can look at the data for as many people as possible and bid for as many routes as possible - optimizing for convenience, time, energy usage, emissions, etc. The public will voluntarily participate if this is optimized to get the cheapest ride possible. If the government doesn't do this, the private sector will eventually.
As a parallel, no one today even considers how Metro runs garbage collection. No one cares. And if you didn't like Metro's trash service, if you needed a better service for unique needs, you go procure that on your own. Likewise, you wouldn't care about the quality of the commuting trip as long as it's up to some minimal standards of your class expectations, it's reliable, nearly as quick as driving your own vehicle, and it seems reasonably affordable.
If the public ran this data exchange, fees could subsidize lower-income riders. This is a theory on what a TriMet like system or mass transit system could look like in a primarily autonomous world where most people don't own their own or drive an automobile.
This system would be far from perfect, opening up all sorts of problems around mobility. However, it's hard to see how autonomous vehicles will not obliterate the value proposition of mass transit.
Another narrative on the same story.
As the working class moves to autonomous vehicles, transit agencies will collect fewer and fewer fares - prices and taxes will rise, creating a cycle of failure. As a result, some cities will make buses self-driving to cut costs. It could start with Tokyo, Shanghai, Oslo, et al. Again, it's unlikely that Portland or Oregon will be the first movers on this, but when cities start laying off hundreds of mass transit operators and cutting fares to practically nothing, there will be substantial public pressure to mimic locally. It will be inhumane
, it will be illiberal
, to make those impoverished bus-riding single mothers pay premiums. As most of the fleet becomes autonomous, responsive, and disconnected from labor costs, the next question arises: why do we still operate bus routes? Why big buses instead of smaller and nimble vehicles?
This alternative story/perspective leads to the same outcome: we figure out where people are going and when they need to get there - then dispatch the appropriate amount of vehicles to move that exact number of people as efficiently as possible.
But our local government getting its act together on all this is outside the world of possibility.
In a practical sense, we're going to see history repeat itself. Portland's mass transit history is about private and public entities over-extending themselves, getting too deep in debt on a flawed and outdated idea. As a result, the system collapses into consolidation or liquidation. Following this historical pattern, TriMet/Metro won't respond to changing conditions fast enough, and laughably stupid ideas like cranking up taxes or increasing ridership fares will continue to be the only option until the media finally acknowledges these groups are insolvent. I just hope we don't spend tens of billions of dollars propping up this zombie system before we can soberly realize that we made some mistakes and these vanity-laden projects 20 and 30 years ago need to die.
You see, the biggest flaw with TriMet isn't the design, it needs to be outpaced by technology, it's that the people making decisions at TriMet and Metro are going to make the politically expedient decisions, not the right decisions. They won't redesign, and they won't leverage technology for cost savings, so this charade will just get going along until the media simply declares they're insolvent.
Back to fares for a second - the media happily reprints TriMet's horseshit take about "The higher fares will bring in an estimated $4.9 million in annual revenue starting next year, the report says.
" Just sort of amazing to me there's no skepticism about this number - but most spectacular is no media considerations about alternative solutions. For example, I could tell TriMet how to save $9,548,091
next year - a useless program primarily utilized by white middle-class folks who own alternative methods of transport - and this would inconvenience way less transit-dependent people than raising fares. But, that's off the table - we're not even developing a decision matrix for when we kill the blackhole of money known as WES.
This is gonna be a long one, but the tea is hot.
My mother died 5 years ago and my father was remarried within the year of her passing. In support of my dad, even though I was a little hurt deep down by how quickly he moved on after my mom passed (ALS), I welcomed his new wife with open arms. If he's happy, I'm happy. There was a year there shortly after they were married that my dad and I were not on speaking terms. In short, my father wanted me to cut ties with a certain family friend that we had known for over 15 years because his wife didn't like them.
A year later, tensions were resolved after we had apologized for the fight and I remained close to family friend. Dad and I had been on good terms since.
Fast forward to December 2022. I'm a few months engaged to my future husband. Around this time, my then fiancé and I were switching careers and got hired onto the same trucking company together to save money and travel the country. We were excited to embark on this new journey together.
The first sign of conflict began when my stepmom would openly express her disapproval with us for not pursuing our previous careers. She thinks that being a trucker would be too dangerous for me and unhealthy, but more than likely, it doesn't fit her idea of what my life should be. Said it was a shame I wasn't using my degree like I had intended in the medical field. It rubbed us the wrong way, but we let the comments slide.
Now here's the need to know in bullet points.
-mother in law is taking longer than expected to do my hair, stepmom throws a fit
-show up to stepmoms house to do makeup as planned, and neither parent is ready, time is already getting close. Stepmom calls me a shitty planner and makes me feel extremely uncomfortable like I'm a client and not her stepdaughter.
-parents leave late b/c stepmom takes too long to get ready (she had all day to do so)
-5pm courthouse closes, dad and stepmom almost did not get let in, I was close to tears. This would have been the second time that we would have postponed the wedding b/c of stepmom. The first postpone was because she got the fucking sniffles.
-tied the knot and the celebration after went very well. No issues there.
After the wedding:
-husband and I notice a cease in contact from dad and stepmom.
-tried to contact, did not hear back from.
Now it's March of 2023, still no real contact. I gave up and decided to give them space. We end up back home after a few months on the road to sell my car. Dad lives in same city. Coincidentally, my great aunt is visiting dad. Only met her once as a baby. I ask my dad if I can come over to pick up a package... aaand back to bullet points...
-dad says I can pick up mail from the back porch as if he doesn't want to see me and my husband.
-we take in stride. We go about our day.
-get text from dad after we get back to our truck asking "so when are you guys coming over" like we had made plans? Great aunt wants to see me.
-we head back to dad's place to meet great aunt and uncle.
-immediately, vibes are off with stepmom. She seemed like she didn't want us there.
-stepmom immediately starts firing off sly comments at my personal appearance after months of trucking
-she tells great aunt that they never hear from me and that its almost like they don't have a daughter.
-talks down about other truckers and refers to them as gross
-in passing, I ask my dad for my foreign grandmother's address to send postcards. stepmom berates me for not knowing my own grandma's international address. I am in regular contact with my grandma on social media... we just don't send snailmail.
-stepmom tells great aunt that they were "hardly even invited to the wedding" (did yall forget that we almost postponed twice for you guys?). She then complains that the whole day was unorganized because we're young and "bad planners".
-I'm fuming so I'm getting red in the face, stepmom comments that I am flushed and have bags under my eyes. This was conveyed as what felt like mock concern.
-we leave after everyone decides to go to bed, I am furious at stepmoms disrespectful attitude towards me in front of my family.
-husband was not even acknowledged by stepmom all night. (Super out of the norm btw).
Now present day...
-I texted my dad after months of silence asking to clear the air between us
-dad responds to me super cryptic text saying now's not a good time. We need to talk face to face (given all of our careers, this impossible to do in a timely manner)
-I text back saying can we please just talk over the phone about this or even FaceTime? Also, he gave no indication of what was a good time.
-dad responds next morning restating that "Now is not a good time. Face to face is better I think. No need to travel the country. If we get a chance to meet, let's wait for that opportunity."
My husband and I are at a loss because they haven't told us why there is so much sudden animosity towards us. We also are confused why they are blowing this conversation off. Wouldn't you want to clear the air with your kid? Regrettably, we haven't communicated with them about why we are upset either. We feel we don't deserve the treatment we are receiving. I suspect my stepmom is manipulating my dad as this is unusual behavior for him.
The entire movie takes on one day. Redrum day. Dec 2. Jack is already in the storeroom. Danny is asleep.
Wendy is hired on as the new manager. She’s the innkeeper, bookkeeper, bar keeper and more. She’s a great mother.
While the all-wound-up Jack is in the storeroom she unwinds him by making him believe he’s been a jet setter. He’s been at a july 4th ball but now it’s time to get to work.
He’s not allowed to work on his play anymore. No play. He drives to his new interview to have second thoughts about the job. She drives him to drink.
He says he’ll do anything for a drink. Deal. Halloranns life is payment to the hotel.
Wendy leaves Jack. Outside. To die. Navajo, Apache motif.
The story changes chapter 42 Mid Flight while Dick is on his way and Jack is still locked in the store room.
Now Hallorann thinks he is going to the Overlook to see if he has to replace the Torrances. Now he thinks they got scared and left. And all Wendy has to do is make sure she times it perfectly.
She keeps Danny with her so she doesn’t have to go looking for him when redrum time comes, then she sends him out of the bathroom window to go hide. She makes sure she has the knife with her so she can keep Jack from unlocking the door.
Al Shockley is really Watson who plugged his finger in a light socket. Al is also the tennis coach at stovington. Hence the tennis ball, and the couple wearing tennis clothes and carrying a bag of tennis balls out when Jack is walking in the hotel to meet with Mr Ullman. They took his balls with them.
Al is the court. The roque court? The tennis court? The divorce court. Where they fight over you in court. Al is courting Wendy. It’s all a masquerade.
Until Wendy unmasks in room 237. It was her! Wendy is stronger with the shine than they had imagined.
Also, Wendy probably killed her sister Aileen when they were kids. She probably accidentally killed her with her thoughts and has spent her whole life not believing it could possibly be true. Not believing that she made her sister run after the ball and get hit by the van all just by thinking it. She never could believe it until now. And killing a sibling would have made her very powerful (Navajo Apache motif). A Skin Walker in fact. And if Danny accidentally killed his unborn sibling by trying to get in its head, then that would make him one too.
Anyway it’s a lot and there tons more. But it’s for sure Wendy in the movie. After all she is turning it from a ghost story to a horror film.
Plus she’s more channeled. Jack was destructive. And she wears the carnation in her lapel. And she’s got the gold dog collar on her neck.
I am looking for any help to donate a medical bed we were charitably given in our time of need. Ideally to an ALS patient but to anyone with medical conditions that need it.
It is a Joerns UltraCare XT Bed with Classic Care DLX mattress (36" W x 80" L) and we are just asking for the recipient to pay for pickup and delivery. We are located in the Broward County area of Florida.
The last time I talked with you I was fresh out of the hospital after what was diagnosed as my first experience with HE. Weak, confused, and trying to learn the ins and outs of lactulose, I found solace and strength here. I was encouraged by the community that I would learn to manage this aspect of my disease just as I had done with my diet and weight control already. I thank you for that, but it is not possible in my situation.
My friends, the HE was covering a far more sinister disease. The left side of my body was becoming weaker and more difficult to control every day. I started falling down and struggling to get up. I began walking with a cane in November. I still fell every week or two. In December, I fell badly enough that I broke my jaw in a few places. I had started going to neurologists and was on my second referral to a more specialized one when that happened. I started using a Walker and I still fell every week or so. I was diagnosed in January with ALS, and then I was taken off the transplant list.
I am now almost completely paralyzed and non verbal, I have written this using my eyes. I use a gastric tube to eat and drink. I use a ventilator to help me breathe. I am very rapidly degrading towards my death, but it is unlikely to be from liver disease :)
The reason for my post is not to lament my situation, but rather to celebrate this community! I am enjoying my life because of the skills and attitudes I learned while living with my cirrhosis diagnosis and the concomitant two years survival stats I was given. I came up good on that., so I see no reason I can't do it again. Of course, ALS is a bit different in that survivability is essentially zero. At any rate, I will still live life slow and appreciate the people and beauty I meet along the way.