Anal-Retentive Observations of Dubious Relevance
Bon jour indeed! Today is my day off, it’s spectacularly bright and sunny, and I feel inspired. Tomorrow I attempt my first paid teaching gig, three hours a day to start. How is it that it took me so long to find a flexible line of work? Damn if that’s not the quality of my life going up in a hot air balloon…! There is much to convey of a very important nature, i.e. of life and love, but for now I will indulge my tendency for anal-retentive observations of dubious relevance;
As we prepare to say goodbye to what is essentially the best month of the year; as the chill slowly penetrates more and more layers of my clothing; as I give up and finally spend 20 excruciating minutes blow-drying my hair, I have found myself contemplating the merits of the metro.
The biggest (functional) difference between the Montreal metro and the DC metro is that the one in Montreal doesn’t have the mini digital billboards to let passengers know when the next train will arrive. Let's consider this further.
I mean, getting to the metro station and not knowing whether you will be waiting for two minutes or twenty-two minutes for the next train would really suck, wouldn’t it? Add in the fact that you probably have somewhere to be, and, if you’re me, you also tend to bolt randomly from trains (which generally results in a few more repetitions of the scenario and a quadrupled travel time), and the idea of just not knowing seems almost psychologically cruel.
In DC, you know exactly how many minutes you will have to suspend your uber-important schedule: two minutes, seven minutes, maybe even fifteen, but at least you know it will be fifteen. You can settle in with a good book if you want. More options and less stress equal better deal, right?
But in the end, it turns out that neither system is more efficient. Everyone still waits what they would have waited either way, whether they knew how long it would be or not. So the total time spent waiting is the same in both cases, meaning no time is actually saved. Thus, metro efficiency is the same in both cases.
The only real difference is that the people in DC feel better about themselves while they wait. Knowing to the minute how long it will be helps people feel like they have more control over the details of life. Sadly, this is an illusion.
Judgment: both metros are equally efficient, but the DC one also promotes mental dependence by encouraging everyone’s personal delusion of control. Non-psychologically damaging metro system: plus two QOL points.