Tis the season

The elevators in the BART stations have a voice prompt system indicating the elevator's situation. If I know city government, the voice prompt system was probably designed for the deaf.

When an elevator is approaching a floor, the voice prompt system literally shouts, with great urgency, "Elevator coming! Elevator coming!" over and over again until one flees for the stairs in fright.

Is the word for getting off a train still disembark? Because, around here, they use the phrase off-board. Here it is in a sentence: Richmond passengers, off-board the train here, and cross the platform for the Richmond train. Here's another sentence: Dear Santa Claus, please be sure to off-board your sleigh onto my rooftop come this Christmas Eve. I would like to have peace on earth, goodwill towards men, this year. Failing that, may I please have a suitcase nuke.

Off-board sounds like one of those made-up corporate words -- created in stuffy, overheated conference rooms with glass walls and sinister-looking, triangular speaker phones, squatting on the fake wood veneer tables, and bleating out the voices of earnest 20-somethings, fresh from college and eager to make a name for themselves -- like overages, the word used by cell phone companies.

Having a severe case of cabin fever from long hours in the office, I decided to head into San Francisco to see the holiday displays, last night.

The well-to-do were out in droves, many glossy shopping bags hanging from their arms. They completely ignored the scroungey men sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk, jingling change in plastic cups. Poor men's sleigh bells.

In Needless Markup Neiman Marcus, I looked at $900 Armani leather coats, but none had been designed for my stomach. The Italians make their cows like they make their cars, small, cramped, and overpriced.

There was music everywhere on Union Square. On one corner, a Chinese man ran a bow over a hu qin. Across the way, a quite professional electric violin player had CDs for sale on a card table. I may go back and get one. Down the street, someone was violently fighting a squawking saxophone and the saxophone was winning. In the middle of the square, next to the gigantic Christmas tree, a tent had been erected, inside of which a man sang carols, backed by a jazz trio. I was tempted to walk down to Civic Center Plaza to see what the not so well-to-do were doing for the holidays.

In the new mall on Powell, young women with pinched noses, sallow faces and sour expressions, wearing expensive shoes, stomped between Nordies and Bloomies.

The women were marching past a homeless girl nodding in a chair, from fatigue or heroin, I don't know which. Every once in awhile a security guard would wander by and tap the side of her chair to wake her and try to get her to move on. When she finally did get up and collect her property -- a motley collection of mismatched, ripped luggage and plastic bags -- I saw that she was wearing only flip-flops and her feet were
black with grime.

Later, in Wal-Mart the man in front of me at the checkout line absolutely could not keep still. He darted a glance at me, wide-eyed, and started picking up and putting back down every item on the conveyor belt. He stretched, standing on tip-toe. When he did, and his shirt lifted, I saw a folding knife clipped to his front pocket. I wondered, idly -- if he decided to freak out and cause trouble -- whether I could break one of his knee caps before he cut my head off with that pig sticker.

These are the thoughts that go through my head during the holiday season: Whether I'm going to get knifed by a meth addict with buggy eyes and Krusty the Clown hair.
  • Current Mood: Must dash
Off-boarding is very off-putting (I've actually heard that). I hate to be stuffy, and I recognize that English is a living language, but some of it is just wrong. Personal, pet peeve - when did "disrespect" become a verb?

Sounds like there's a need for a "Guide to drug free shopping" in your area. You know, places to shop that minimize exposure to meth, crack, horse, coke addicts. Bet it would be a best seller.
You changed your layout!

I have yet to embark on the great Lightrail adventure here in Denver, so I'm unsure of our current train lexicon. I'll let you know if I hear 'off-board'.

I can't believe I have to venture out there with the masses for holiday shopping soon. Of course, if I didn't put it off every year until the last minute, I'd probably escape 90% of my problems.

As far as being knifed by a meth addict with buggy eyes and Krusty the Clown hair, I think those instances are confined (in Walmart, anyway) to the Black Friday race for the 15 dollar DVD players, so that window has been shut for the season, methinks.
You changed your layout!
LJ seems to have made changes that were making my old layout flip out. This one seems to be working for now.
here, when someone has jumped and the line must shut down they say "this train is now out of service. everyone must leave the train." i know this because it's happened 3 times in as many weeks. you know it's a jumper when they say "due to a power outage at x station, the yonge/university line must close. shuttle buses will be available soon." of course, the buses are never available soon and the whole deal screws up everyone for a solid 2 hours. having been on a train that had a jumper several years ago, i do tend to wonder why they pick rush hour. is it a final fuck-you all? or did the poor schmuck just get fired at the end of the day and haphazardly decide to fling himself onto the tracks? as a fair number of them do survive, usually with less limbs than they began the day with, i should look and see if there has been a study.

we have a few intersections on campus that are fit for the blind. they make a certain beep when it's o.k. to cross and another bird whistle sound when it's not. i've seen cars drive through red lights at these intersections and i think money would be better spent on huge red neon flashing signs reading "HEY ASSHOLE! IT'S TIME TO STOP YOUR CAR NOW! WHAT ARE YOU, AN IDIOT?" would be more effective. also, these "accessibility" intersections are scattered few and far between the sprawling campus. if you're blind and have to rely on them, they make it so that you have do one helluva lot of walking to get from point a to b. were i blind, i'd sooner rely on the goodness of others to tell me when it's safe to cross. but we're a polite people ;)

i was going to ask you if the dude in walmart was buying cold medication before you noted he is likely a meth addict.
Down the street, someone was violently fighting a squawking saxophone and the saxophone was winning.

I LOVE your writing.

Glad you weren't put to the test with the pig sticker.