On the buses

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this door.[caption id="attachment_865" align="alignright" width="225" caption="What do I do?"]Doors Bus MUNI SF[/caption]

Of course, I'm only saying this because I've been reading Charlie Brooker's recent book on my Kindle while riding the bus to work every day, and he's warped my brain into that of a deeply cynical sadistic sociopath, who should probably be placed into solitary confinement, not for my own good, but for everybody else's. Upshot is: I want to see humanity suffer.

So back to the bus. The question is: how do you open the doors? They do not open automatically, even if you pulled the cord. And you don't push them open. There's a trigger. You've got to find it.

Notice the big "STOP" signs? Are they relevant? Should I get off at the front? Nonono. Actually they're telling you not to get on at the back, even though they face inwards. No help there.

How about just underneath? Where it says "Thank you for riding the MUNI"? No help there - in fact, this is a particularly redundant message. I doubt it leaves any MUNI-riders happier.

How about above, where it says "Caution". Aha, we're on to something. It says not to stand in the stepwell, because the doors open inwards. A good clue there. Whatever we're doing, we shouldn't stand on the steps. Don't want to get slapped in the face. Thanks for that.

Except that's wrong. These doors are ingeniously designed such that they will only open if you step down onto the first step. The sign is right at the top there, perfectly positioned only for basketball players and rack-tortured guantanamo escapees. So nobody reads it.

So what happens is that you just stand there and wait like a goon. It takes a second and a half for the rest of the bus to catch on to your naivety, and help out, by shouting "STEP DOWN" in unison. It usually takes a second chant "STEP DOWN" before you catch on, probably because you're confronted with myriad "STOP" and "CAUTION" instructions.

Just in case you think this is normal, let me correct you: this is only applicable to a particular kind of bus. Others require you to touch the door handles to open, while others still need you to physically push them open yourself. These buses are equally well marked.

It's brilliant, and really brightens up my ride. Shouting at tourist twice a day is almost as good as "aheming" tourists off the wrong side of the escalators back in London. Born yesterday, I think smugly, as though it never happened to me.

Of course this probably isn't a particularly healthy way to think. I'm going to need a brain reboot. Can anyone please suggest some slightly more happy and life-affirming reading material?

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