On elevators and public transportation

First, elevators. You’ve probably heard that in many elevators, the “close doors” button doesn’t actually do anything. People who have never experienced this think it’s an urban legend, but believe me, it’s true. As pointed out in the Straight Dope article referenced above, in some elevators the “close doors” button has no effect unless the elevator is in “service mode” or “fireman mode”.

Where I currently work, the “close doors” button definitely does work. Everybody uses it, simply because if you don’t, the doors take forever to close. But the funny thing is that if you press the “close doors” button just as the doors are actually closing of their own volition (elevator doors want to be antropomorphised!) they will actually pause for a second or two before closing completely…

On to public transportation. If you live in central Oslo—say, within the outer orbital—public transportation is excellent. I don’t mean just good, I mean brilliant. You can get from anywhere to anywhere else within that area in twenty minutes, at least from around six in the morning until around ten at night. I live half a kilometre from the orbital, and I can practically walk out my door and onto a tram that will take me to the city centre in ten minutes. If I miss the tram, there’s another one in five minutes. If I need to go east or west (logical east and west, that is; the orbital goes north-south where I live), the orbital bus will take me to either end in twenty minutes. The subway will take me almost straight to my mother’s door, five kilometres away in eight minutes.

I still drive to work, and until Monday I actually felt a little bad about it.

It’s not really a long trip, about fifteen kilometres, no more than fifteen minutes in off-peak traffic.

On Saturday, my car was broken into by an apparently incompetent car thief who destroyed the ignition lock while trying to force it with a screwdriver, which means he would have had to tear off the entire lower half of the dash and most of the steering column cover to hotwire the car. In addition, the steering lock was engaged, and he would have had to use one hand to hold it away from the shaft, or tie down with a piece of tape or string. Little did he know that all the tools he needed to do that were in the spare wheel well under the floor of the trunk…

In any case, my car is in the shop for repairs. If it had been drivable, I would have done it myself, but I need the car to get the parts so I can fix the car so I can get the parts I need to fix it.

The upshot of all this is that for the last couple of days, I’ve had to use public transportation for that fifteen-kilometre trip to a place slightly outside Oslo.

It takes an hour.

No, I can’t make up the time by working or reading or listening to music. On the bus leg of the trip, the first two would give me motion sickness, the last would be pointless due to the noise level (especially during winter, the heaters have very noisy fans). On the remaining leg…

The remaining leg is on foot. Two and a half kilometres total each way. Try reading an article or typing on your laptop while you do that.

So all you public transportation fundamentalists can go screw yourselves. I’ll hold on to my car, thank you very much.

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