Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: The Great Race to the Bar

Categories: Cover Story

You know how the Amazing Race works? Well, this is like that, but we could only get Observer staffers to do it if we promised alcohol at the end. Tracie, our art director, takes her car, Gavin, the web editor, takes a Yellow Cab, Catherine, our editorial assistant, takes Lyft, Eric, our fearless news blogger, cycles to Deep Ellum, Amy takes DART, and Marie will eventually take Uber if Warren ever shows up. Who will make it first? Will everyone like their beer? There's only one way to find out.

See also: Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: I Want My Damn Car Back
Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Which Transportation Alternative Is Right for You?
Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Cabbies Find Ways to Survive in a Tough Business
Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: You Can Take DART to the Airport, but Beware the Coyotes



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gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

Kudos, Gavin Cleaver.  You could have read my mind. 

I've been wasting my time for around eight years now watching so-called "artistes" and poetasters (if'n yew don' knows wat one's iz, yew bettur lookie see) try to gain the so-called "higher ground" in an essentially cooperative conversation in other parts of the nation, one in which those who indeed can accomplish the seemingly impossible actually help one another and teach one another and leave the posturing and the "who's top dog tonite?" BS to the teenagers and those sadly pathetic cases of arrested development who were not cool enough in high school, went into Nerdville (corporate version) and succeeded, and then, when they reach around 45, decide, nope, now it's time to "become Jack Kerouac" or "Jerry Garcia". 

What sad tales I have to tell.  Believe me: The so-called Dallas poetry community, save for a few radically imaginative exceptions, is not all it's cracked-up to be, and sadly but truly, the literary game-playing, the teenie-bopper posturing, and even all the bourgeois accoutrements such as motorcycles, cell phones, fancy girlfriends, fast cars, etc, etc, do not a Beat poet make. 

Oddly, while we have lots of loudmouths preaching how superior they art, they actually aren't, and while it is indeed funny to watch sometimes, in places like the basement of the Mad Swirl at Absinthe in the ironically-named Southside on Lamar (think Heddy Lamar's ass and buns, and you'll get the message), what is especially frustrating is that, even at age 60, or at 47 and even older, some of those guys are still reliving the "late and great" days of college life, a.k.a. "Animal House" and the overdosed John Belushi, and while their pills and powders do delude them into thinking that the typical poem about, say, pot-this, and pot-that, and then pot-did-I-tell-you?, when you're sitting there, stone cold sober, it is indeed a riot.  Think "Duck Soup" with escapees from a colony of Down Syndrome sufferers. 

Maybe by the dawn of the 23rd Century, Dallas and North Texas in general will finally wake-up to the fact that--YES!--this is the 23rd Century, and then, as per my experience at least, all the great "glittery literati" will party like it's 1999, dudes. 

I am so damned tired of hearing idiot-heads trying to do a replay of Ginsberg;'s "Howl" (example: "I saw the best minds of my generation downed like kamikazes by...uh, like, sadness, dude, ahhh..." or "I'm a soldier named Joe, and Joe-this, Joe-that, and please, honey-bunches, come up and get my phone number for a little sumpin'-sumpin' blah, blah, blah" or "Triangular kitten arrows on crack!  Everybody!  Siberian Wolf Baby Disease!  Ebola!  I look like Pinocchio but act like Charles Mansion.  YAAAARRRRRR!" 

Urp.  Did I just choke-up my Cheerios again? 

Those who can actually handle, say, "Being Numerous: Poetry And The Ground of Social Life", by Oren Izenberg (cool!  O'wren!  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  What?  Some Jewish guy?  Naw, you're kidding me right?), get treated like stepchildren by those more socially adept by birth, usually overgrown boys who never really had to suffer much at all in their lives or have never really seen as much of the actual world outside of 4-star hotels in Hong Kong, King Kong, What's The Difference, Man?, and indeed, that becomes a waste of time for those who would rather be thinking of new and more creative ways to describe the mysteries of life and death, those twin essential termini of being and time that tend to befuddle us all into mythological or ideological thinking, which of course is stasis and not dynamic or progressing at all.  Distracted by, "Who's getting what from whom?  And who's putting out and did you hear about so-and-so", there are people in this world who, rather than play dumb games best left in eighth-grade, rather would be thinking and abstracting and--wow!--like, uh, imagining!  Whoa!  Walk that on back thar, hoss! 

Oddly, a lot of that takes place in--get this!--a basement.  Get it?  Base.  Meant.  The lowest common denominator of "sophistycated-like" talkie-talk that went out in the 12th Century. 

I remember one poet who, in the 1980s, actually did make it big.  He complained.  He basically said that life in Dallas was like living in darkness, and then expressed his frustration of trying to get seen and heard when, in Dallas at least, with a few exceptions, the only "poetry scene" is exactly that: a place to be seen "as a poet".  Doesn't get more basic than that. 

Getting from there to "here" and moving forward is a Byzantine task to be certain, and yes, it is saddening to see middle-aged men who are still doing the "Zappa thang" when they really could have been in Europe at any number of great jazz and literary festivals more amenable to teaching them something. 

Transportation doesn't always mean "getting physically from one place to another" but actually moving forward in a cultural sense. 

If you want "hot ass" go to the Million Dollar Saloon and leave those of us who can move beyond the Dobie Gillis phase of poetry in North Texas to do exactly that. 

Transportation.  No wonder the most talented move elsewhere.  "Drown me in the shallow water before I get too deep".  Edie Brickell said that, like, 30 years ago, and nope, nothing, not a whit, has actually changed at all.  Go, Cowbutts! 

johnaltier
johnaltier

Moral of the story....girls always take longer...no matter what the mode of transportation....they hadn't even left the building and the bike guy was already blocks away

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

And the bike's a lot more fun getting home after the bar.

d-may
d-may

Interesting set up. I'm really surprised it took Amy an hour to take the green line from your office to Deep Ellum. It's not that far and there are no transfers needed. What was the hold up. 

MattL11
MattL11

I actually really enjoyed this. I can't explain why, obviously, but there are certainly worse ways to spend 4 minutes of your day.  

MikeO
MikeO

I HAD to login to post a comment on another article, but I just had to say this:

Ruddski and Myrna: Why?

How bored do you all have to be to continual post messages on this inane website?

You must really enjoy this stupidity -- I cannot imagine why.

Oh, and I have to say that it pisses me off that the Credible Hulk has such a killer screen name! I want to steal it so bad! The real Hulk was always my fav.

Just some random musing from someone who reads this stupid crap to pass time at work!

ryan762
ryan762

The time between trains can really slow down the DART commute. Got in sight of the train station just as the train was pulling away the other day and it was a good 20 minutes until the next one. Two minutes sooner, and it would've made a big difference in my time.


Granted, I was not racing anyone (and where I was going, I imagine going by car would have been faster even without the additional wait for the train).

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Which rail station is near Observer HQ?

Cityplace is a bit of a hike.

dfwheathen
dfwheathen

Cycling FTW! No surprise there, given the distance. He even had time for his sweat to evaporate.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Is this tired series of blog posts about not having a car finally finished?

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

Spoiler alert.  

I would be interested to see how long it took on bike if all applicable traffic regulations were followed.

casiepierce
casiepierce

March 21, 2014: The day the Dallas Observer broke its own blog for the most boring consecutive blog items ever.

wontunow
wontunow

I always thought walking to the bar was pretty cool.

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

Already, the dullards at Channel 11 CBSDFW are complaining about "cigarettes" and getting out their frustration, as if, like, oh man!  I coulda got me some of that hoochie-koochie-sells-her-ass-for-Gucci! 

When "the primitives" learn to think beyond sentences of, say, six or seven (sexy or luck, man!) syllables, perhaps the primitives will realize that, nope, who cares whose a primadonna and who's a diva and who misspelled "diva" as "deva"?  Wow!  Imagine the possibilities!  Uh, like, de as in "of in Spanish" with "va" meaning "you go" in Spanish! 

Look!  She's walking out of the bar, back door, with...HUH?  REALLY?  DIDN'T SEE THAT ONE COMING.....

In college, way back in 1974, my college roommate (he teaches statistics at a local university) came-up with a three-letter expression of this sort of "get this!" behavior: 

Arf! 

Yawn.  Wake me up when it's over.  That's a line from a Dream Syndicate song from, like, uh, 1982? 

Whoa!  Mind-bending!  Kill me!  Just kill me now!  I've been AWAKENED!!!!!!

amy.silverstein
amy.silverstein

@d-may  i just missed the train i was trying to catch, the next one was like 15 minutes away

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

Google says it should only be about 40 minutes. Taking the 409 to the 36 and down would take about the same time.

She must have gotten a little turned around somewhere.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Mikeo

My reply to you seems to have vanished.

Short version: Why not?

d-may
d-may

@ryan762  Yeah, timing on Public Transit is everything. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ryan762  Are you far from downtown?  You probably have only one line, whereas many stations are served by two or three lines making the wait never more than 5-10 minutes.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

Hopefully not. Dallas has enough blog posts about fat and lazy people who require giant wheelchair pods to take them anywhere.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley  Good point. Eric is riding like he just came from a Critical Mass meet-up and is reclaiming the streets for cyclists. I know it sucks to stop at stop signs and traffic lights and not weave between stopped cars, but these laws are meant for the safety of all.

L8nitedave
L8nitedave

@The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley is that with bike infrastructure and motorists obeying all bike right of way laws too? or are you talking about motorists don't like what bikes can do "laws"

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

Following all traffic laws would add a bunch of time onto most car trips around Dallas as well.

The best cities in the world don't really care that much about cyclists riding when they want (within reason; as this was). Bikes don't kill people. Cars do.

ruddski
ruddski

@casiepierce

Hang in there, someone will probably post a new lolcat video, complain about one or more of the Top Commenters, or just plain go off the rails.

ruddski
ruddski

@wontunow

Walking back from the bar in Dallas is even cooler, because when you inevitably get robbed, you will have already spent all your money. Its great to have the last laugh.

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

Wait!  Now CBSDFW is shooting a freaking rocket!  Talking about the successful at Lake Highlands High School. 

My problem? 

Political incorrectness.  I supported #OWS and protested the "nookie poo-poo" and am known as "the mob poet" because I dated a Mafia princess in college.  What a POS she turned out to be. 

I guess that old landscaping cart is going to be latched onto the "bars" behind my apartment complex on--WHOA!--Douglas!  Like, uh, Dog Lass!  Or Dou Glas!  AMAZING!  I AM SIMPLY CRIPPLED BY THE DEPTH OF IMPLICATION HERE! 

Sorry.  Not Leonardo DiCaprio.  Never killed anyone.  Did sit in the Knight of Columbus Bar on Northwest Highway in 1975--Incoming!  Shocker!--with a real, live, Mafia hitman, missing his RING FINGER!  WHOA!  MEANINGFUL!  He made a mistake!  Some dude took some hedge clippers and cut his WEDDING RING FINGER OFF!!!

And he wore a wife-beater.  had a .38 in his lap as he tried to convince me that trying to brush my teeth while Leah was taking a crap was "not sexy".  Really?  You mean crap doesn't smell good? 

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  Shhh!  Don't tell!  I don't want anyone to know he was some drunken crab-ass with a whiskey problem, do I? 

Think I wanna get killed?  They wear black bikini underwear in the privacy of their condos, sport long, Ted Nugent-like hair, and--WHOOOOAH!--have rifles and WATCH PORNO! 

Deep.  Once they marry into you, they're actually nothing more than barnacles that keep on hanging-on even as you drive an entire North Sea trawler hauling cod through the Earl Shieb. 

I'm dead!  For sure!  Wow!  Death by squealing!  Pope Francis?  Beam me up now!  Scotty wants to "capitalize"!  YIKES!!!

The mob.  And the Sixties radicals!  United!   Who'd have thunk it! 

WE ARE DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!!!!

ryan762
ryan762

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @ryan762I am a suburban person, so usually the Red Line is my only option (though the Orange Line also serves my closest station some parts of the day).


Even along the Red Line alone, the trains are more frequent during some parts of the day. 


If I were a daily commuter, I would, of course, schedule it so that I'm arriving at the station at an optimal time to catch the train without too much waiting. As it is, I'm never in a hurry to be any place, so the waiting usually doesn't bother me.

ruddski
ruddski

@Monte

Until the PI Patrol tazes you.

Which can actually be quite sobering.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@gordonhilgers

I'll not ask why that is, but have you ever considered moving from the shithole city?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Gordonhilgers

I COULD GO ON LIKE THIS ALL NIGHT.

Kinda looks like you did.

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

And they kill babies.  Get it?  Bay.  Bees.  Secret language (actually "lingo" as in "linguini", rhymes with "weinee" as a wino who thinks he's cute! 

Watch-out!  The M-60 machine gun is aimed at my door.   This may be the very last Dallas ever hears from GOR-DAN  HIL-GARS.  The fish!  On the Hill!  The Gore in Gordon!  Oh man!  I don't think I can take it!  And, uh, Jordan?  Really?  I am the "secret river" of the Jordan, cunningly hidden with a G.  WOW!  


I AM JESUS NOW!  Daniels.  Leah.  Mmm.  I missed my match!  No more dates for Gordo!  What?  Fat in Spanish?  What about Fatima?  Fatty ma!  Yes!  Sells dope!  Gots some dope for sale!  "Hirsi!  H is to go.  Yes?"

I knew I should have never told that woman with a T for a first name with a sorta (this means: The NSA is hooked-up to your computer dude!) rhyming with Tabitha of "Bewitched"!  Starring Elizabeth Montgomery!   Oh no!  Was a WITCH in the MOB the WHOLE TIME?  

MIND-BENDER!  I COULD GO ON LIKE THIS ALL NIGHT. 

CODE WORD: CRAZY.   

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

(psssst....!  Call.  Out.  The.  Paparazzi.  Get it?  Papa is gonna razz thee!)

UN-FREAKING-THINKABLE!!!

Shhh!  They wear--GET THIS!--black bomber jackets and killed Princess Di because she and her Arabian boyfriend knew that the descendants of Jesus Christ are alive!  Here in Dallas! 

I AM JUST THROTTLED!   WOW!  HE'S ALIVE!  HE'S ALIVE! 

Scotty!  Save me!  Before the KKK in black leather steals, like, my treasured green turtle fuzzy animal on top of the bookshelf and UTTERLY DOOM ME!!!!


Or--think of it!  The stuffed toy dog on another bookshelf!  Watch out!  It has New York City written on it! 

IT'S A MAFIA SIGN!  GET!  OUT!  

And then, then, then, the "shift change" of 1990 when the mob handed over the "car keys" (secret language) to the Mexican Mafia. 

EARTH-SHAKING!!  DO I HEAR A KNOCK ON THE DOOR????

OH GAWD!!!  IT'S MARTIN SCORCESI!  He's "part of" "the company".  Oops!  Doomed.  For.  Sure.  Baja, California!  The shift-change!  A South American Pope--moving to the "feminine left", meaning, "MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! BUT DON'T TELL ANYONE!!!" 

I've got the Vulgate to protect me.  It's vulgar.  Common.  Vul-gate.  The next international yellow journalism frenzy freak-out. 

Where is Zappa now to tell us that "Montana" actually meant "Texas" and that the "negativeland people" have an up-down, right-left, shift change?  

DOOMED.  I KNEW IT! 

d-may
d-may

@gavin.cleaver Why did it take her an hour? I can't imagine it should have taken her more than 45 minutes. Did she have some problem getting to the station?

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