Metro: Vital to St Louis

Briskly walking down the corridor of the second floor of Eads, Emily was bent on getting to Holmes Lounge before the lunch hour rush stormed in.

“Hey Emily, wait up!” called a voice from behind her. Emily turned on her heels, her spring-inspired yellow sundress twirling in her wake.

“Hey there Macey!”

“How did you do on that French test? I thought it was very hard,” said Macey as the two girls queued in line to order their wraps in Holmes.

“Really, I thought it was easy. Mais, bien sûr, la plupart des choses sont pour moi.”

“Umm… yeah…”

“No worries,” Emily chuckled. The girls ordered their wraps, complete of course with ranch dressing and a pickle on the side, paid for them and left. Eagerly they walked outside into Brookings Quadrangle where the sun shone brightly and their friend, Sanjay, was leading a tour of visiting high schoolers and parents across the lawn.

“You know, you should totally put that French to good use,” prompted Macey. “Your accent sounds totally legit and everything.”

“Well, if it means that I can have a wardrobe like Carla Sarkozy’s, just call me Marie Antoinette.”

The girls laughed before Macey asked puzzled, “Who’s that?”

“Huh, never mind. But seriously, I am so happy to see President Obama collaborating with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy in order to place sanctions on Iran. I think that Obama has hesitated long enough on the matter. In the time he’s been arranging his little six party talks Iran could have already developed WMD’s.”

Agreeing with her, Macey said, “At least, he’s promised to erect sanctions within weeks. That will teach those Iranians to proliferate nuclear energy on America’s watch.”

Emily nodded in agreement as she bit into her spinach tortilla. “Oh, I am simply loving this weather.”

“I know,” agreed Macey. “It’s time to break out the high-waisted ballerina skirts again!”

The girls high-fived each other and began to dine. Floating around the quad, was a redheaded boy, passing out flyers with a large metro train on it bearing the words “Prop A.” On his chest was a proudly pinned a button that read, “I Ride for Fun.” Eventually, he wound his way toward the girls and bore his flyer before them.

“Hey, how are you girls voting on Prop A on April 6th?” he asked.

Macey looked away discouragingly. “Don’t worry,” assured Emily the boy. “Prop A has my vote.”

“Thanks girls,” he said before trudging off.

After the boy was out of earshot, Macey ventured, “What’s Prop A?”

“Macey!” exclaimed Emily. “You can recognize any fashion logo, can quote every chapter of Going Rogue, and are friends with Senator Mitch McConnell on facebook. How do you not know what Prop A is? OMG, you need to get off of your iPad and rejoin reality.”

“Seriously though. I’ve seen flyers for it everywhere, I just don’t know what it is. Missouri isn’t considering gay marriage is it?”

“Of course not!” gasped Emily abashed. “Who do we look like, Maryland or worse, California?” She took another bite of her wrap and then put on her Rayburn sunglasses as the sun intensified. “Proposition A is a referendum being held in St. Louis County deciding whether the sales tax should be raised by half a cent.”

“Ewww… tax increase.”

“I know,” shuddered Emily. “Usually, I hiss at increasing taxes but this time I am completely on board. It’s a necessary measure that will help the St. Louis area. This mere half a cent increase will raise $75 million in government revenues annually to support the public transit system.”

“Emily, bite your tongue. The Metrolink is disgusting,” said Macey.

“Don’t get me wrong, Macey. I’ve lived in St. Louis all my life and I wouldn’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole. However, not everyone is as lucky as us to own BMW’s.”

“Hey, I’m not that lucky. Mine’s a hand- me-down from my dad. It’s almost four years old.”

Pondering, Emily agreed, “Yeah, your car is a total antique, but that is beside the point. The public transit system isn’t just the Metrolink. It also includes the MetroBus and the Call-A-Ride bus. Thousands of St. Louis inhabitants depend on these modes of transit to get to work, run errands, and mange their daily lives. Many of Wash U’s service workers use it to reach our campus. Students here depend on it to access the greater St. Louis community for service projects.”

“So let’s say this referendum doesn’t pass. What will that mean for us?”

“Well, for us, it may mean nothing, we have cars. But the greater half of St. Louis will suffer when the metro services are not only cut back, but also increase in price. Not to mention, if this tax increase isn’t passed, many people will find themselves jobless.”

“Oh no, that’s so horrible. I had no idea this was so serious.”

“Hmmmm,” thought Emily out loud. “You know, it really is.”

“Well, I’ll be sure to vote for it then. Goodness knows what will happen if the people who need the metro system all of a sudden are walking bound. They’ll be riots, crime breakouts, just sheer madness,” stated Macey.

The girls finished their wraps and enjoyed a few more minutes of sun on the green grass. Soon, though, it became time to return to their busy days as both girls had a class at 1:00 p.m., Behavioral Ecology for Emily and Women in Cinema for Macey.

“Hey, you’re coming over to my apartment tonight to watch ANTM right?” asked Macey as they gathered their tote bags and rose to their feet.

“Wait, aren’t we watching Sarah Palin’s new show, Real American Stories?”

“Nooooo,” groaned Macey sorrowfully. “Didn’t you hear? That LL Cool J controversy caused its premiere to be postponed. Gush, who’s out of touch now?”

Emily bowed her head disappointedly and then turned her face toward the sun as it majestically hovering over the towers of Brookings. “God bless this country,” she said before walking away.

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Lennox Mark

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