Monday, January 28, 2008

Bus blurb #1

There are a lot of things to complain about when you consider the public transportation in Chicago, but lack of visual interest is not one of them. No matter what form of transport you choose, you've got layers of advertisements, graffiti, warnings, policies, and maps to look at. I've whiled away entire trips gazing up at those gauche rectangles of brightly colored marketing. Who is this Robert Morris, exactly? He sounds like my next-door neighbor. Why is it that women in equivalent positions still don't make as much men, and why are they making me mad about this on the train? And does anyone actually do those sleep studies offered by Rush University?

Who has not spent a few moments considering who it was that took the time to carve that four-letter word into the window? Or where gangs get those thick markers they use to... claim the sought-after fourth car of red line run 842? (Do they fight over who has to take the pink line, do you think? Why on earth, by the way, did they pick that girl's essay on the pink line to win the "Name the New Line" contest? I heard it. It was not a winner.)

If I'm not too distracted by stuffing coming out of the duct-taped crack in the seat in front of me, I also like to read "The Passenger's Bill of Rights" each time I am in a cab. I find I am always impressed by how much we riders are entitled to. My admiration is always immediately ascribed to Mayor Daley, whose anachronistically young face is conveniently right there on the page waiting for credit.

Well. The situation is much different in Switzerland. You have to look hard to even see that someone wants your attention. Please, sir, if you're not too busy, sir, and you have nothing else to look at, perhaps, maybe you're interested to hear about this new bus route we're starting? Swiss ads whisper where American ads scream and wave their arms.

But what advertisements on Lugano buses lack in quantity, frenzy, and seediness, they make up for with usefulness and tact. Just like the billboards, the bus ads are tastefully sized, no bigger than a sheet of paper. They advertise new bus routes, local festivals, the convenience of public transportation. Useful! But oh so boring.

3 comments:

Karl Rove said...

Maybe the swiss busses are just Comfortable... for work, or perhaps there are Opportunities... for conversation, or maybe its just enough to be Punctual... for school ?

The secret to the Rush University sleep study lies in your heart. If you dare look.

Julie & Captain said...

I think I would be sad if there wasn't anything to read in a bus... Where else do you find out about festivals and gang info and scary studies?

Today it was completely confirmed that you and I are soulmates - I never knew anyone else read "The Passenger's Bill of Rights" in cabs.

Tonight I made your German Apple Pancake (gleaned via How About Orange?) and it is fabulous :) Thanks!

jenicrob said...

I always read the Passenger's Bill of Rights mournfully over and over as I'm sweltering in a cab wishing the driver would roll up the windows and turn on the AC. I read my rights, wishing I had the courage to claim them. But I don't. (Other rights I've wished I had the courage to claim: Mr. Cabbie, could you please stop talking to your chums on the phone while driving? I don't care if it is hands-free. I just don't want to hear it. Not only that, half the time I think you might be asking me a question about our route but then realize you're only chatting it up with your pals. Oh, and could you turn off that awful radio station?)