Dear Type IV

MAX Type IV (photo by Flickr user born1945) Dear Type IV:

I’m guessing that you know why I’m writing this. You can’t be so out of touch as to have missed the signs – my petulant whining each time we got together, the chorus of complaints from your other riders – I know you’ve been paying attention.

The simple fact, Type IV, is that you and I were never to be. Unlike your comfortable predecessors, you’re a rolling body cramp, an affront to basic human needs. When an average-height, average-breadth, generally-happy commuter such as myself cringes when you pull up, you can bet that those of not-so-average proportions must absolutely grind their teeth in trepidation when they see you.

If you were a restaurant, you’d be one of the places that looks all charming and rustic on the outside and then serves canned gravy and frozen beets on the inside. When I was in my early twenties, I managed a fast food place for a while. One of the restaurant supply catalogs classified their chairs by the number minutes in which one could sit comfortably before having to get up and leave. Fast food restaurants, obviously, went for the ten-minute chairs at best. You, Type IV, are the five-minute chair of the Trimet system. Alas, my encounters with you last far longer than that.

There have been times, Type IV, that I’ve waited for a substantial amount of time for my train, only to find your streamlined presence fast approaching. And there have been times, I will confess, that I let you and your stupidly-named “parlor” and your too-high seats and your cramped dungeon-like front row of pinched seating and your scary old-lady-killing ramped step-up just go on without me. The mark of true hatred on a transit line is when someone will pass you up and continue to wait for the next train. We’re all about hopping the earliest possible conveyance, us commuters. Do you hear me talking to you, Type IV? Do you hear the icy chill of rejection in my voice?

They say that there’s someone out there for everyone, Type IV. Could it be that in some far-away land there lives an undiscovered race of oddly-shaped, tiny, asymmetrical commuters with a penchant for cramped conditions and ill-conceived design? Let’s hope so. For, if that’s the case, perhaps they will draw up a tiny, cramped petition that convinces the powers-that-be to ship you to that land on the next possible freighter.

And, Type IV, I hope that when that happens, if it does, your trip is the most horribly uncomfortable voyage imaginable.

No love,
Dr. Jeff

Story by official TriMet Diaries contributor Dr. Jeff Guardalabene, who also blogs at Follow @doctor_jeff on Twitter!

And make sure to check out Dr. Jeff’s Holiday Fare project, which aims to collect and deliver transit tickets to those in need this holiday season!

Photo Credit: Tri-Met’s new Max Cars photo by Flickr user born1945, used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Unported license.

About Dr. Jeff

Dr. Jeff, in real life Dr. Jeff Guardalabene, is a Portland-area psychologist, who logs 300-plus miles on TriMet each week. He often live-tweets his commute to avoid intellectual stimulation. He lives with his wife and their five children and blogs about psychology issues at Follow @Doctor_Jeff on Twitter.
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4 Responses to Dear Type IV

  1. Alyce Wilson says:

    I’ve never traveled on the Type IV, but if I’m ever in Portland, I’ll be sure to avoid it. Sounds dreadful (though your writing about it is highly entertaining).

  2. Irene says:

    You have voiced all my hate for the Type IV train. I am one of those who is slightly above average in height and weight. Like you, I will let the Type IV pass on occasion just so I do not have to endure the cramped seats. I have the same reaction to the low-floor buses. My legs do not fit in the forward facing seats so if I can see there are no side seats available as the bus pulls up I will let it go right on past. It makes me wonder what is the average height of the people who design these trains and buses.

  3. Bill Reagan says:

    My daughter LOVES the Type IV.
    Of course, she’s 4’5″ and 77 pounds, so she and Type IV are still early in their romance. As she grows as a person, she’s sure to notice that Type IV isn’t trying to grow at all.

  4. LauraL says:

    bahaha – hubby agrees!!!

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