May 29, 2010

The Better Way? What's up with the random timing?

Just so happens that, shortly after I wrote yesterday’s post, I was sitting on the subway when, out of my periphery, I spotted a man (a somewhat disheveled, not quite on it man) lumbering toward the empty seat beside me. Admittedly, there were not a lot of available seats on my car. But, there were a few. The man had to traverse the entire length of the vehicle to get to my seat and settle beside me. And when I say settle, I mean he nestled next to me, leaning well into my comfort zone, that imaginary barrier doled out to strangers and most acquaintances.  And I’m talking here about back-the-fuck-up leaning – the arm against arm kind (the front of my arm, not side). I continued to read my book in an attempt to remain calm since I had about five more stops to go before reaching my destination. I tried to keep my eyes focused on the two words I kept re-reading over and over (and no, they weren’t help me) until I decided to get off at the next station. I quickly vetoed that plan (too many Contact exhibits to hit before work to delay my schedule) but decided instead to stand until I reached my stop. When I glanced over, out the corner of my eye, I realized he was completely “reading over my shoulder” except this was way beyond the shoulder area. I’m pretty sure he was getting much more out of the read, in the three million years it took to travel that one stop, than I did. The good news is, he waited until I stood up before slapping the side of the seat he was sitting on. It’s always important to find the good in every situation.

This reminded me of a few TTC related tick-offs I forgot to add to yesterday’s list:

  • The completely useless “sound system”. This week wins for hitting an all time low  (now that is low) when, during some sort of delaying mishap, the “announcement” sounded like a someone was trying to speak after swallowing a bag of sand and being submerged under water. It sounded more warped than Winslow Leach before Swan tuned up his voice box. (Wish I could include a clip here from Phantom of the Paradise to illustrate my point, but couldn’t find one. )
  • The out of tune doors-are-closing triad. Eye rollingly off key.
  • The cringe worthy, ear and mind splitting squeal of the rails. Ouch.
  • The hand straps on the buses. I ask this one question: What is the point? A friend of mine actually broke his finger and injured his back in a desperate grasp for safety after a bus driver gunned it out of the station. The only thing that strap has ever to for (or to) me is smack me on the head when I stand up.
  • The complete lack of anything to hold onto on the newer cars on the subway. I don’t get it. Shouldn’t the newer vehicles be better than the old ones? I have to wonder, sometimes, if the people designing these modes of public transportation have ever actually used them?
  • Which brings me to one last whine of the weekend: The new bus and streetcar shelters. Uh… They look kinda cute but in the blazing sun seem to act more like solariums and in a heavy rain or snow fall don’t quite cut it to keep one protected from the elements.

For the record, I support taking public transportation. There are plenty of ways the TTC does make it the “better way” but there is definitely room for improvement. Fares aren’t cheap and in this day and age we should be encouraged to leave the cars at home.

Just sayin’…


One Response to “Update”

  1. naidra said

    Great post! Even though I agree with the sucky things about the TTC, I agree that Kalamazoo had the option to have those options (the doors closing chimes, packed buses, ample stops), but we don’t. Check it out here: http://paragonlifeblog.com/2010/05/24/moving-the-masses/

    Also, that story about the frumpy guy who was reading over your shoulder was hilarious! The same thing happened to me a few days ago.

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