My history with public transportation is much longer than my history with acupuncture. While I didn’t try acupuncture until I was 28, I started riding the bus by myself when I was 15. I lived in West Los Angeles and would get around West LA and Santa Monica using The Big Blue Bus and my trusty Powell-Peralta skateboard with Independent trucks and big red wheels. I lived a quick skateboard ride away from the #8 bus line which would take me almost all the way to Venice Beach. Sometimes I’d transfer onto the #1 and sometimes I’d skate down Main St. Once there, I’d hang out at coffee houses, like the Novel Cafe or the Bourgeois Pig, with friends and other random delinquents like myself. It cost 50 cents back to take the Big Blue Bus and you had to have exact change. Coffee was a dollar. So for 2 dollars, I could have a grand adventure through Los Angeles even though I didn’t have a car. The bus gave me access to this city where everyone was supposed to have a car.
The vibe of community acupuncture is similar to what you will find riding the bus. There’s not really any reserved seats. You have to have exact change or maybe you’ve got a prepaid card like a Clipper Card. You need to show up on time because the bus comes about every 10 minutes and if you miss it, you’ll have to wait another 10 minutes (if you’re lucky). There’s every kind of person on the bus and it’s affordable. It’s important to be considerate and not take up more than one seat or be too loud and disruptive. If you don’t know what to do, there’s usually some signage to tell you, or you can ask someone, the bus driver or the person next to you. When you’re done, you just signal the driver and you can disembark.
At SOAP, we depend on patients to take care of their payment with exact change or their Easy Card, find their seat, be respectful of their neighbors, read our signs, and let us know when they want to leave, so we can just focus on driving our acupuncture bus safely. Your participation helps us keep costs low, the clinics running smoothly, and gets everyone where they need to go.