Friday, August 25, 2006

Secret decoder. You can talk about busses in San Francisco, and I do, Actually busses are one of the many kinds of large people movers.

Old F trolleys (1950's or before) on rails powered from wired above by electricity brought in bybig insect antennae reaching up, trolleys powered like that but running on rubber tires, busses, running on their own diese engines, MUNI Metro cars running above ground and underground powered by electricity, cable cars pulled along from underground by cables.

Getting off these by the reccommended back door isn't automatic. There are different ways to do it.

The way where you wait for the driver to open the back doors for you applies to on kind of rolling stock--the old F line trolleys from Milan. The others you get our by, after the driver makes the back doors openable, touching the handles on the doors, touching the handles by the steps, or stepping on the steps.

You learn to do these things by experience or having fellow riders yell at you.

The cable cars don't have back doors, often you're already outside and you clamber off. One of the F line cars doesn't use its front door. It's back entry has a conductor standing by it and doesn't have a door that covers the opening. It had a steel bar that the conductor takes up and down as needed.

Sometimes I've thought it's mean in a tourist town filled with people who haven't done any of this before to have just getting off a bus, getting off a public transportation vehicle to be so different and like trying to read the message without the secret decoder ring. (Most of these vehicles have instructions on what to do, but they are presented in that reverse magic instruction way so that no one who needs them notices them.)

But then I thought the wild variety of exit plans is part of the San Francisco message. You can have very different things all in the same small space, and it's okay. You can solve the same problem in several different ways for no particular reason, and it's fine.

Non-standardization was the way of humans for millions of years and a touch of it now and then is not bad, is good, is, in its own way, like being alive, the part of being alive where you pay attention and new things happen.