July 3, 2003

Recent Trains of Thought

I have become used to the various conductors' voices on the train in the morning (although oddly, I don't remember the ones in the evening). There are two primary conductors, it seems, that I'm likely to catch. One has a smooth, careful voice. I imagine that he practices by reading his children stories each night, completing each page with "Next stop, page 3" in a slow cadence until his children fall asleep. I imagine that the other practices his station calls by selling hotdogs and beer at a local baseball game - "Next stop, BUD-wise-eeer!" The first is marked by assurance; the second, enthusiasm.

And then there is the door voice, a polite computerized female accompanied by a chiming alert. "Door closing" she says, with a patient air. She is not the door, but its vocal protector. Her polite tone turns tighter and sharper when an audacious person dares stand too close to her domain. "Please stand away from the door," she says curtly, and the doors punctuate her sharp tone by opening suddenly and sliding brusquely together with a sharp snap. I find myself anticipating a sudden break, her patience exhausted, where she would launch into a long diatribe against some poor fool who thought pushing his umbrella between the doors would be an effective method of stalling the train so he could board. A rant that would make the politely minded 'Mind The Gap' blush.

Other thoughts:

Breaking news: Jobless rate at 6.4 percent. [my MSN alerts - IM'ing your daily scare straight to your desktop]

"Fame and secrecy are the high and low ends of the same fascination" [from DeLillo's Underworld, which has joined my current reading list alongside Marie-Laure Ryan's Narrative as Virtual Reality (GTA review here), a book very relevant to my research that I've put off again and again (it's been on my shelf for about 6 months now) in fear that she's already covered everything I wanted to say (it's quite good so far).]

Posted by Jason at July 3, 2003 10:10 AM | TrackBack

Pelecanos, in one of his novels, has a character who always hears the "doors closing" voice as saying "George Clinton" (as in Funkadelic). Try it.

Posted by: MGK at July 3, 2003 12:26 PM | Permalink to Comment

Alas, George Clinton will now haunt me every morning...

I need to read a Pelecanos, if only to dive into a DC novel... which is the best, in your opinion?

Posted by: Jason at July 3, 2003 1:05 PM | Permalink to Comment

"She is not the door, but its vocal protector."

well put. i usually get a green line conductor who inverts syllabic stress: green LINE in the DIrection OF greenBELT. and his cadence strikes a crazy balance between aural shock treatment and carnival show announcement. and then the nice lady with her bell says the doors are closing.

further proof that public transportation contains all the codes of human life.

Posted by: dave at July 3, 2003 4:47 PM | Permalink to Comment

The trains taking you from terminal to terminal at the Atlanta airport used to have computerinzed voices that sounded like the centurions on Battlestar Galactica: uninflected and slightly gritty.

"Please move to the center of the vehicle and away from the door."

Posted by: George at July 4, 2003 9:58 AM | Permalink to Comment
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