Sunday, November 4, 2018

Scoot Your Ass Over!

How scooter-fools appear to the vigilant bus operator:
not quite "there."
Deke's Note: Is this blog still relevant? Is it read beyond the stubborn few, or sliding into irrelevance? I've been thinking hard on these questions this past week. Reading seems to be a lost art, as three-minute videos, limited-word Tweets and YouTubers take over the minds of millions. Regardless, as long as I have something to write about, I'll continue. Ideas keep coming, so I reckon this blog ain't done yet.

Our society seems hell-bent on destroying itself. It seems to have begun with the advent of everyone having a cell phone. We're more disconnected now, although the "Cellular Revolution" was supposed to give us collective knowledge. People are more in tune with a small screen than with their immediate surroundings. When I began this blog, cellulism was becoming a phenomenon; now it's pandemic. Within all the competing connections there's a frightening lack of personal responsibility. I fight this curse as well, walking down the street checking my business email or catching up with FaceBook. It seems sometimes an annoyance to have to simultaneously remain aware of what's happening in real life. Five years ago, I scoffed at this behavior, but I'm often "one of them."

A bit small, but pointing in the right direction!
Bus operators all know how dangerous the streets have become the past few years, but it's not obvious to anyone else. Not only are other motorists intent on selfish ignorance, but there are more dangers than ever. The advent of the for-rent scooters has become an epidemic of foolishness. Several times each day, I see scooter-renters shoot through lights that have turned red seconds before they even reach the intersection.

On the transit mall, I'm even more vigilant in scanning side streets as I see my light turn green. Scooterfools don't look in either direction, their headphones bleating outside noise away as if it matters naught. These contraptions have given me, albeit grudgingly, a greater appreciation for skateboarders. At least the latter seem to be more cognizant of what's going on around their artistic multi-wheeled gymnastics. They tend to realize that their tricks gone awry could land them directly in the path of my 20-ton behemoth, and communicate with each other when we're around. I appreciate that, and give them a wave in thanks for their vigilance.

On my route yesterday, I had the honor of rolling with Bobby, an artist with a firm grasp of what it means to be "artistic." He reminded me that art accepts many forms, and cannot be easily defined. My drawing is atrocious, and I can't even produce a decent stick-man, but I am at home with this keyboard. A guitarist plays the same chords as a pianist, but the sounds are deliciously different. We discussed how art encompasses varying canvasses, and it was a wonderful departure from the banal "Hi, how are you" to engage an entertaining and intelligent passenger in conversation.

Bobby also understands how people interact with transit operators. He uses a wheelchair for locomotion, and agrees that life is more dangerous today. I'm trying to steer clear of people who don't watch out for themselves, while he maneuvers through those who don't see him. Bobby's safer on a bus than he is on his own, and I fear for his safety.

We're all responsible for our own safe passage through this world. Some take life for granted and believe it's up to others to watch out for them. It's a shared responsibility though. While the Art of Self-Preservation is merely stalling the inevitable, people need to accept their mortality is real. Birth, life and death happen to us all. We eventually pass beyond this life, but I shouldn't have to witness anybody's final act of foolishness. Plus, I hate blood on my bus.

My fellow bus operators everywhere are constantly watching out for you ill-attentive individuals. Please look up from your cell phone long enough to avoid our watching you die. It's a serious concern to someone behind the wheel of a bus or light rail vehicle. Shouldn't it be yours as well?


  1. And I thought it was gonna be about seat hogs...

  2. We're reading you loud and clear and can identify with what you're saying. Lights in the darkness... Alaska

  3. Deke,

    I ran across "What you should know about your bus driver" in my RSS feed from Citylab. I thought it might interest you: