Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Common Sense, Common Decency ... very UNcommon traits.

By gnovos in Op-Ed
Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 11:50:07 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Perhaps I am just angry, maybe just a little bit disillusioned at how disgustingly different this country is from what I was taught in elementary school, but, for what it's worth, I feel that we are in serious danger here. Danger that our apathy and desensitivity to the "system" that exploits and controls us will someday devour us completely. Danger that we are slowly becoming subhuman; that common sense is no longer common; that the world my children will grow up in will be more horrifying than mine.


It all started one night when I had just gotten off work, as I was starting out home and see what goodies my Tivo had collected for me. It was pissing down rain when I stepped out onto the street, which had completely caught me off guard since it had been sunny that afternoon. The weather in San Francisco is usually pretty consistent (sunny but cool, day in, day out), so I was completely unprepared for a downpour. I guarded my laptop bag as best I could and made a break for the bus terminal, which luckily, was just across the street.

If you have ever taken a MUNI bus from Transbay Terminal then you know they have a little bit of a quirky setup. The front of the terminal is a kind of a short semicircle with the entrance to the station right in the apex. The buses come in from one side and park right at the entrance and let everyone off. Then they usually sit there for a minute or two while the driver stretches his or her legs right next to the entrance and changes the destination signs before traveling a quick 15-20 feet to the end of the semicircle where the official "stop" (passengers get on only here).

The "get on" bus stop, unlike the disembark stop, is completely uncovered, so this evening I was hiding under the eaves at the entrance trying to stay dry. After a minute or so a bus pulled up and everyone disembarked, as usual. I knew there was no way that I could possibly stand out in the open at the "stop" area and stay dry, so after the driver had switched the signs, had a quick five minute break and looked like she was getting ready to move on, I walked up to the still-open doors and asked politely if I could get on there, seeing how I couldn't have lasted in the rain more than 5 seconds before I was soaked to the bone. She didn't even turn to look at me after I asked, however. Instead she just pointed right in front of the bus and said, "The bus stop is there."

I was a little taken aback, as can be expected; after all I already had one foot on the bottom step of the bus. I figured she either didn't understand my question, or somehow was oblivious to the situation, so I tried once more, again trying to be polite, "I know, but it's raining so hard, and I have my laptop with me," I held up the scuffed leather bag that had traveled with me all these many years, "So would it be possible to get on right now and stay dry? It's only a few feet away..."

She seemed to pause for a second. I mean visibly pause, like you see people do in the movies in that brief second when they learn the "truth" about their father. For a brief second, I thought I detected an odd hint of satisfaction flash in her eyes, but when she finally turned to look at me, and I literally had to take a step back. Her ice-cold glare hit me like a hammer. Then, in the most hateful, envenomed tone imaginable, she said again, "The. Bus. Stop. Is. Over. There," this time enunciating the words slowly, literally biting them out. I looked the fifteen-odd steps down the road she thought I should walk, at the single dripping light pole with a painted mark indicating it the "official" bus stop, at the punishing rain gleefully blattering everything in it's path; so close, so incredibly close, but to an unprotected man in this rainstorm, it was miles away.

This must be a joke? The Monty Pythonesque overtones, the Dilbert-style irony, it just couldn't be real. She couldn't possibly expect me to move twenty steps into the rain just to walk in the door that I am already standing in front on, can she? I looked again at her face, at her hollow, now expressionless eyes, and I knew it must me real, no matter how clearly I can see the three panel comic-book borders through the hazy rain.

It wasn't like a like a flash of light, so much, my revelation. It was more like a heavy fat coalescing into a thick gel. It wasn't caused by the hateful expression she wore, nor the mocking tone in her voice. In fact, it wasn't even so much the absurdity of her actions or the situation. What really gave me my revelation; that made me realize Western WorldTM has finally come to an end, was that she was no longer human, alive perhaps, but could not be counted among the living. This once beautiful creature was no more, now just another cog in the machine. We had been doing so well, we humanity, but in the end the devolution of sentience, the nullification of reason and thought, was complete.

Rules, for the most part, are good. If it were not for some arbitrary rules here and there, we would quickly find ourselves in a very unstable society. There is no doubt a rule (probably many rules) that the MUNI drivers are to follow when it comes to pick-ups and drop-offs of their passengers. These rules are not designed to hurt customers, but to ensure that this massive system of transportation runs as smoothly as possible. This is a perfect example of the good stuff, the ingenuity of Man. After all, the entrance to the terminal is probably a busy place at times; picking up riders right where you are dropping off a whole group of them was probably causing crowding. The logistics of moving the stop twenty feet away is perfectly understandable, and is an excellent solution. This kind of rule is actually good.

The evil comes, as is evil's wont, through the corruption of good things. When the rules cease to exist for the sake of some pragmatic purpose, but instead for the sake of themselves, they are no longer good. When bureaucracy begins to solidify, rules are allowed to take precedence over common sense. And when common sense no longer reigns supreme, the end is nigh for humanity.

As I was taking a taxi home that night, had some time too cool off and think about what had happened. What the woman was doing was being sadistic, and strangely, I could forgive her that. She no doubt has an unpleasant job, and lives in an unhappy home. All sentient chimps have bad days now and again. What was unforgivable, however, wasn't so much what she did, but instead the way she did it. She was practicing the art of being Justifiably Wrong, and she isn't the first. Robert Anton Wilson, author of the equally acclaimed and abhorred Illuminatus! Trilogy, has some interesting thoughts on the matter. He called it the "SNAFU principle"; Doing something wrong, but doing it perfectly within the scope of the "rules" so as to be justified. If taken to a hypothetical trial, I have no doubt that this woman would have proven victorious. After all, she was following the rules to the letter. But morally (using the abstract, not the religious, concept of morality), she was Wrong. History is replete with such actions, and I am certain that I have been guilty once or twice myself, but this kind of attitude has never been the norm. We have always had clauses in our laws that attempt to enforce the "spirit" over the "letter". In the last few years, however, I have begun to realize that this concept of the Justifiably Wrong has become gospel to the last remnants of our once grand western civilization.

I can remember reading Dilbert so many years ago when it was still fresh and new. It was a great read, because we could watch the antics of these silly PHBs and laugh at their small-minded actions. Then we started to see people who really did resemble these kinds of people, and again we laughed; this time because absurdity was beautifully ironic; life imitating art. At some point, however, the tables turned. Suddenly, in the space of a few short years, we find ourselves living in a world where the absurd is reality, and that long held standby, common sense, no longer provided a safety net. Through some twist of fate, we had become, as a culture, that which we instinctively despise.

The "bus stop incident" was my own personal last straw, though perhaps may not even seem particularly vile to the more experienced or cynical reader. But the phenomenon that inspired me to write this is in no way limited to the crabby public transportation worker. It surrounds us. It has almost completely infused into our culture. We see the horrible examples of the Justified Wrong on a daily basis, but have ceased to be shocked.

In the news we see companies and individuals in this country right and left that that are incomprehensibly evil by any definition of the word, but that hide behind their lawyers and stay alive and prosper. Disney destroying the very nature and scope of copyright to inflate profits, Microsoft using every dirty trick in the book to crush competition. GE intentionally polluting and destroying rivers and lakes. Wal-Mart decimating markets in small towns. Recording companies trying to pass laws that will annihilate the technology industry and free speech in a pathetic bid to protect their greed. It is impossible today to sign a contract as, say, a programmer without automatically giving all your rights away. Attempting to negotiate even a tiny change in a draconian RIAA contract will be met with mocking laughter and slamming doors. The majority of minimum wage employees you meet every day are as likely to spit in your food as give you an honest smile. We see individuals like John Ashcroft advocating near police state like controls in the name of combating terrorism. I am the last person to laude the merits of communism or socialism (I am quite happy with capitalist philosophy), but at what point do capitalist enterprises cross the line from happy competition and blind slavering greed? At what point are people held responsible not solely for the legality of their actions, but for the morality and common decency of them too?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Also by gnovos


Display: Sort:
Common Sense, Common Decency ... very UNcommon traits. | 309 comments (255 topical, 54 editorial, 0 hidden)
Quite so. (3.03 / 30) (#6)
by elenchos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:32:11 AM EST

What makes your beautifully-told story all the more bitter is that here you are, a highly-intelligent, hightly-educated, twenty-first century knowledge worker, one of the talented few who actually generate wealth in our economy, and you are being treated with contempt by a mere bus driver!

A female one at that.

We rarely see authors here or at any web site who have such a keen sense of the spirit of the age to be able to see that indeed our civilization has fallen down when a gifted intellect with the character to earn your own is left standing in the rain by that -- I'll say it for you -- bitch.

Kudos to you sir. You are a credit to hardworking, decent men everywhere.

Adequacy.org,

Not the problem (3.87 / 8) (#9)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:45:51 AM EST

Contempt was not the problem. I don's care about that. Maybe she was having a bad day, maybe she just had to clean off the buss after somone hurled, who knows what would make her angry. I can understand anger. What I can't understand, nor can I in any way endorse, is when somone attempts to hide behind some illogical rule to effectivly mask that contempt with plausibly deniability. If she had come out and said to me, directly, whatever she was feeling, then I would not have taken issue with her.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Exactly. (2.47 / 19) (#18)
by elenchos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:06:22 AM EST

We all know damn well that rules like that were never meant for upstanding guys like you. That female would have had to be just willfully stupid to not realize that a man with a well-used laptop in a leather bag is a productive, tax-paying citizen, not one of the typical lazy types who all those bus rules were made up for.

Acting like she was just doing her job was cold; she should have just said, "Hey, this is my chance to abuse the pathetic bit of power I have to get back at The Man." At least that would have been honest.

One time I had the same thing happen: this Unix sysadmin wouldn't tell me my fogotten password. He insisted on giving me a new one and making me chage it myself instead of just telling me. Some rule they made up for the mundanes; he knew damn well I wasn't one of them!

Adequacy.org,
[ Parent ]

Unix Passwords (3.33 / 6) (#20)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:10:40 AM EST

Unless this happened a long time ago, he COULDN'T have told you the password. They are encrypted one-way.

As for the rest of it, forget about being a taxpayer, forget about contributing to society, where is her humanity? Does the golden rule not apply any more? Do we really want to live a world where everyone must do only what they can get away with, and nothing more? Where everyone forgoes any claim to reason and self will?

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Hello (2.93 / 16) (#23)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:18:22 AM EST

In addition to posting diaries to the queue, you are also the stupidest person on the face of the earth. YHBT, twice, in the one thread.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
You know.. (3.66 / 9) (#25)
by enterfornone on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:28:05 AM EST

It's bad form to mod someone to 0 just because they have pointed out how stupid you are.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Then add content. (2.61 / 13) (#30)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:37:44 AM EST

By all means, add content or discussion, not insults. I would never rate somone down who I didn't agree with, but I find no problem doing so to comments that don't add any value.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
I know. (3.71 / 7) (#28)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:35:20 AM EST

I know he sounds like a troll, but he writes well and actually touches on an important point. Many people, at least in this country, like to justify thier actions as retaliation to some percieved injustice they have faced in the past. My job sucks, I can't yell at my boss without getting fired, so in retaliation, I'll go and do what damage I can to the rest of the world. It is far, far too common.

Yes, it may be a little bit of "feeding the trolls" but if it generates any intelligent discussion, then all the better for k5.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
I'M TRYING TO AGREE WITH YOU YOU DUMB BASTARD! (2.52 / 23) (#34)
by elenchos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:47:05 AM EST

These little people in their dead-end jobs just don't have any respect! Here you are, a guy who has his shit together and our society has lost so much sense of decorum and allegiance to the proper social order that guys with laptops in leather bags get treated like typical public transportation SCUM! And it's being done by lowly BUS DRIVERS!

That just frosts my buns. You could buy that bitch! You make enough to have here killed if you wanted. It used to be that the social classes were arranged so that you could have mentioned this little incident to her boss down at the club. But now? WHAT CLUB?

Common sense is gone. Common decency is a thing of the past and all we have left is the good, productive types being disrespected by lazy bus driver women.

Don't listen to them calling you stupid. They are just liberals who feel sorry for the bus drivers and fry cooks of the world. You are a credit to all smart, industrious men.

WHAT do I have to say to make you realize I think you're RIGHT???

Adequacy.org,
[ Parent ]

LOL (4.55 / 9) (#40)
by Stick on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:06:34 AM EST

You ruined that little troll by posting a link to Adequacy at the bottom.


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
I think that's his point. (4.00 / 11) (#41)
by spaceghoti on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:06:42 AM EST

In agreeing with him you over-exaggerate his position and therefore put his opinion in a bad light. It's conceivable that he doesn't care about the social status between himself and the bus driver, he cares that the bus driver was more concerned with obeying the letter of the law rather than making an exception for extreme circumstance. In doing so he feels that she fulfilled her legal contract while violating a moral one.

Put another way: stop agreeing with him. You make him look bad.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
You're in error in this case, Spaghetti. (2.56 / 16) (#48)
by elenchos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:21:20 AM EST

This entire incident is vertitably seething with class envy and hatred. Look at the little details. Heading home to see the goodies waiting for him on his Tivo. The dashing leather laptop bag. And what class of worker carries a laptop in the Bay Area anway? Not blue collar. Maybe his father was a worker bee, but this is a gentleman, and that is a fact.

Look at his assailant. He is clearly very conscious of her wretched state. He knows how much she hates her job. She has to clean up puke, we note. And she hates him because of it, and he knows it.

Why does she hate him so much? What is it about this poor dotcommer that makes her boil over with bitterness? Well, clearly bus drivers are losers. Everyone who uses their mind for a living knows that. And we all know how jealous they are of us. They used to kick us around in High School, but now we're making the big bucks, and they drive us around doing their dead-end jobs where they don't get to think at all. They follow the rules, and the smart ones make the rules. That is what makes her want to use the rules against him in such a sneaky way.

The bottom line is, and gnomo's touching article says this very well, is that smart men are their betters, and we are the ones who make civilization. They are the ones who invented the idea of common decency, and the laborers hate them for that too.

He is right on target here, and the only ones making themselves look bad are those who are afraid of a frank and honest discussion.

Gnovos, you are a great American man, and that is a fact.

Adequacy.org,
[ Parent ]

Ok, so you understand irony... (3.50 / 6) (#52)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:36:51 AM EST

Yes, very good. Oliver Twist, Class clashing galore. Maybe the bus driver was a bad example to use, but I still beleive the point was valid.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Uh huh. (3.44 / 9) (#58)
by spaceghoti on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:48:33 AM EST

You've let your Editorship at InAdequacy go to your head. You've forgotten how not to troll.

Remind me to shoot myself if I ever find myself agreeing with you. This is as bad as trying to discuss something with thurler.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
Damn it (1.50 / 2) (#254)
by too many cigs on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 01:33:55 PM EST

Trolls under multiple layers of sarcasm serve no purpose other than amusing the poster and confusing the discussion.
I, at least, didn't see any of this "class hatred" crap in the story. But then, you probably don't either. I can't really tell with the gallons of irony slapped over your real ideas.
Blech.
--
*cough*

[ Parent ]
What does a laptop have to do with class? (2.66 / 3) (#251)
by the scooter king on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 12:52:19 PM EST

These little people in their dead-end jobs just don't have any respect! Here you are, a guy who has his shit together and our society has lost so much sense of decorum and allegiance to the proper social order that guys with laptops in leather bags get treated like typical public transportation SCUM! And it's being done by lowly BUS DRIVERS!

Let me paint a picture for you.

I am male. I have a laptop in a 'leather' bag. I wear a tie at work. I work in a prestigious downtown office building. So I should be at the top of the social order, right?

let's break that down though:

my 'leather' bag is vinyl and came with my brother-in-law's subscription to Fast Company;

my job at the prestigious office building where I wear a tie involves mostly typing and filing;

my laptop is a 4-5 year old P150MMX with a non-working battery which I got from a friend for $120 CDN;

you'd be more likely to believe most of this about me if I was a woman.

I have the laptop because I use it to write, and organize my amateur film and theatre projects. I work as a temp to support those two somewhat expensive habits. I was, briefly, a programmer, but I got into it late and only got about a year and a half of meaningful experience before the dot com crash. (Too bad. I could really use the money I was making then now.)

Now let's consider the bus driver:

She works in a 'dead end' job which probably pays more than my office jobs ever will;

She has the benefit of union protection to protect her from the message on her home answering machine saying don't come in tomorrow.

She's working as a female in a male dominated profession. I work in a female dominated profession. Sex in this equation is pretty much irrelevant.

As for relative productivity, is transporting citizens to and from their place of employment magically less important than going to endless meetings, producing reams of documentation that nobody reads, or writing code for e-commerce websites that no-one will ever buy anything at? (Leaving aside the whole question of chasing your fellow employees with nerf guns.)

You talk about common decency, and yet you display none. You seem to believe that posession of a laptop somehow makes you morally superior to someone just because she wears a uniform and operates a vehicle.

I'm not defending her in this case, though I have no idea what brought on her vitriol. She may very well have an unhappy home. Or maybe her stocks are tanking.

I want to talk instead about my father. He was a programmer back long before it was cool. He worked for a government agency, designing complicated systems for hydrographic mapping, some of which are over 20 years old and still in use because they still work perfectly.

But Dad never forgot where he came from; a little mining town in Northern Ontario (Canada). He never judged people based on what they did for a living; never assumed his position granted him special priviledges, and stopped taking the promotions he was offered when they would mean he'd have to stop coding.

He never belonged to 'the CLUB', and if he did he wouldn't use it to get someone fired. He was a decent man. And if we're talking about decency here, you're showing more of her level of decency than his.


The secret is not to try and bend the .sig. The secret is that there is no .sig.
[ Parent ]

Yeah, sure. (3.50 / 12) (#24)
by elenchos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:19:52 AM EST

That's what that dude tried to tell me too. Why couldn't he just be honest and say that he didn't think I was worth the trouble? These underlings who always hide behind their so-called "rules" are all the same.

We both know she could have let you on the bus and nothing would happen; same as that jerk could have just given me my password. Like his supervisor would have found out? Come on.

Adequacy.org,
[ Parent ]

Sheesh pal (3.00 / 1) (#117)
by webwench on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:28:09 PM EST

elenchos was being sarcastic, sheesh.

[ Parent ]
Ignore this thread (1.80 / 5) (#268)
by Noodle on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 03:16:25 PM EST

I would like to point out that this entire thread should be dutifully ignored, as it was started by someone from Adequacy.

Carry on.

{The Nefarious Noodle}

{The Nefarious Noodle}
[ Parent ]

Don't jump to conclusions.... (4.42 / 14) (#7)
by blankmind on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:39:10 AM EST

She no doubt has an unpleasant job, and lives in an unhappy home.

Sure, she may have a shitty job, but that doesn't necessarily mean she has an unhappy home.

I probably have one of the worst jobs in the world (I'm serious), but my home life couldn't be better.


--------
I have been trolled.
I concede (3.80 / 5) (#10)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:47:32 AM EST

Yes, you are right. I don't think I meant to say "no doubt" Perhaps the word "may" fits better.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Your job (3.00 / 1) (#258)
by sydb on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:10:19 PM EST

Don't hold us in suspense. What's your job?
--

Making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did - Linus Torvalds
[ Parent ]

Worst job (none / 0) (#296)
by Mitheral on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:08:22 PM EST

You work first level tech support, right? :) Seriously though one of the jobs that freaks me out the most is dentist; how the heck can they stand to look in someones mouth for 8 hours a day :shiver:

[ Parent ]
LOL (4.00 / 1) (#299)
by blankmind on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 02:58:48 AM EST

That is really weird, I was just talking about that a couple of days ago. Why does one get into the field of dentistry? I mean, can you imagine kids saying they want to be dentists when they grow up? It has to be the money.

Actually, I work at a car wash. It may not seem bad, but this place is a haven for yuppies and rednecks. As you can imagine, I wash a lot of SUVs, BMWs, and diesel trucks with confederate flags on their bumpers. The only good is that I have really flexible hours. I can usually take off when I have midterms or finals coming up. Other than that, this job is hell.
--------
I have been trolled.
[ Parent ]
Hello (2.38 / 18) (#19)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:10:36 AM EST

At what point are people held responsible not solely for the legality of their actions, but for the morality and common decency of them too?
Can an editor please change the topic of this article to "Ask Kuro5hin".

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
Hello (3.21 / 14) (#21)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:14:49 AM EST

Can an editor please change the above comment to editorial. That is all.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
And this is new to whom? (3.25 / 12) (#26)
by paxus on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:29:15 AM EST

You need only have posted the following and be done with it as a diary entry:

"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire

My 2 cents




"...I am terrible time, the destroyer of all beings in all worlds, engaged to destroy all beings in this world... " - Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
Think Deeper (4.14 / 7) (#33)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:43:58 AM EST

I know you mean this as a joke, but think about it seriously for a second. Are you not unnerved that such a statement has been true for hundreds of years?

It does me. What gene allows humanity to sit on our hands in the face of the absurd and illogical? How much happier could we be as a species if we simply did NOT tolerate the inane and the unreasonable?

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Joke? What joke? (4.75 / 4) (#88)
by paxus on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 09:33:56 AM EST

I did not mean it as a joke, it's a very true statement. Common sense is not a common thing. Does it bother me? Not anymore. I would never subscribe to the idea of gene manipulation to make us smarter or better or faster, etc. I have become comfortable with the inevitable conclusion that things are how they are. You seem to forget that 'inane' and 'unreasonable' are subjective determinations. You'll never get everyone in the world to agree to a common set of standards. Surely present society, or history for that matter, has taught us this. Common sense itself is subjective.

Welcome to the world.

Enjoy the ride.




"...I am terrible time, the destroyer of all beings in all worlds, engaged to destroy all beings in this world... " - Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
[ Parent ]
genetic? (3.33 / 3) (#109)
by juju2112 on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 01:44:18 PM EST

The way we conduct ourselves as a society is not genetic. With enough discussion and consideration we might be able to do better.

Haven't you ever watched Xena: The Warrior Princess? One person can make a difference! :)

[ Parent ]

Not genetic? What is it? (3.00 / 1) (#141)
by Shovas on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 11:48:00 PM EST

If common sense is not genetic, then what is it? Is it a set of enforced moral principles and social mores? Come to think of it, if it's not genetic, it must be learned and enforced moral principles. Instinct would be genetic, no?

Very interesting questions here which we should get into. Does Common Sense require an external, enforcing "policy" to propogate throughout society?
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Not Geneitc, an extension of logic (4.00 / 2) (#150)
by gnovos on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:06:39 AM EST

I don't think Common Sense is genetic, I think it's a transition of logic from the abstract and mathematical realm to a more cultural and tangible one. By this, I mean, common sense exists despite cultural boundries, it is universal. Yes, some cultures have rules that may seem odd, but every culture understands what actions defy reason.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Interesting, almost as if sense wer external (none / 0) (#174)
by Shovas on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 02:16:41 PM EST

Your explanations of common sense as universal mesh very well, yet seem to be an excuse, with morals and laws being laid down by a god.

At any rate, if Common Sense is inherent in human nature, why have we gotten off track? What enforced this inherent logic? Why did we lose it? Why does it wane over time? Why do we do weirder and more dangerous things?
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
The problem with Common Sense. (4.66 / 3) (#175)
by Amesha Spentas on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 02:39:16 PM EST

I have heard this argument many times. "Oh what were you thinking, that is Common Sense", Etc.
However what most people forget about Common Sense is the Common part.

Here is my definition of Common Sense.
A set of observations made by beings that share a common background and understanding.
Most people would agree that, "It is Common Sense that if you hold up a object above your head and let it go, that object will hit you on the head." This is not because of any inherent, genetic, or social correctness, but because of common shared observations. (Gravity)

However, hypothetically if you were a child born and who lived your entire life in space in zero gravity, it would be reasonable to expect that this shared bit of Common Sense might have missed you. Because you no longer share commonality with the people who live in gravity.
In space, if you place an object above your head and let it go, it just stays there.
In fact astronauts who live for long periods in space routinely make the mistake of letting go of a glass or other object with nothing to support it because they became accustomed to the "reality" in space of that object staying where they left it.

This is frequently the problem people get into with robotics. People say, "Well how hard can it be to give a robot Common Sense." Without realizing that humans share very little in Common with robots. The biggest problem with Common Sense is when people assume that they share commonality with someone or something (Like your computer) and expect them to act in a certain way.

Quick, which side (Left or Right) do you pull over to when you get a flat? If you drive on the right side of the road you would answer right. If you drive on the left side of the road you answer left.

Another part of the formula is the "observations" part. If someone from the Caribbean or Jamaica or anywhere where water does not freeze outside any time of the year, is say, driving a car on an ice covered road. Do they know it's Common Sense to slow down because of the ice? They have never observed ice on the ground, and may not realize how frictionless it can be.

So when you say "common sense exists despite cultural boundries, it is universal"
Voltaire statement "Common sense is not so common" becomes more accurate. Unless the common sense you are referring to encompasses everything and everyone in the universe and is observed by each of those beings.
If that were your meaning, then that common sense would be a very rare thing indeed.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

legal (3.40 / 10) (#32)
by xriso on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:39:00 AM EST

At what point are people held responsible not solely for the legality of their actions, but for the morality and common decency of them too?

Don't worry -- they're going to hell. ;-)

[As a Christian, I see a strong parallel with the situation we see the Jews being in. They are bound to an enumerated set of Laws. Jesus came to deliver the "Spirit" of that law.]

Unfortunately, we can't rely on everybody else to practice the strategy as us. Will you be decent regardless, or give them some of their own medicine?
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

legal (4.60 / 5) (#73)
by juju2112 on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:37:39 AM EST

I guess this is way off topic -- but I don't think that Christians are any better at interpreting the spirit of the law than Jews are. Fundamentalist Christians are notorious for interpeting the bible literally.

[ Parent ]
I've seen this myself. (4.57 / 21) (#36)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:51:14 AM EST

The problem I'm worried about isn't exactly the same one you are, but I think it's at the heart of what you're talking about. What I'm worried about is people dulling out, becoming zombies, just going on the same way every day.

Personally, I don't care about "morals" - which I can't even find a cohesive definition of. I do care about spirit, though.

So, I don't care too much if a stressed out worker slights me, but I'm scared to death of people who don't even pay attention to what's going on. What scares me even more is when my Boss once (okay, several times, in fact) encouraged me to become one of these people. It wasn't explicit, mind you, but it was there. It was a bunch of little things that slowly took away my humanity and sacrificed it to "The Machine" if you will. I did eventually get fired, of course (it's okay, I immediately got a better job - and now I have a better one still.)

I blame routine. Routine itself isn't that terrible, but routine alone will kill you. If it's just routine, why pay attention? You know what to do, just keep doing it. Close your eyes, keep going.

So one day you'll wake up and it will be 1984 - the difference is that it won't be an actual conspiratory system, but a government that can't work and a social body that can't notice, or care. IMO, that day has come. Government is painfully ignorant of the sciences involved in effecting desired social changes. So are most people. I don't even understand it all, but at least I'm aware that there's more to it than implementing an untested idea (I see this happen all the time, as any programmer knows, every implementation itself needs to be tested, not just the concept. This applies to all systems, though, including social ones.)

So how do you fix it? You can't. Not yet. The system is still awake enough to resist a super-system, though I'd love to build one, but I think we'll both be dead by the time it's possible - or at least I hope I don't see a completely zombified country in my life time.

farq will not be coming back
FANTASTIC (4.55 / 9) (#37)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:57:17 AM EST

I think, perhaps, my example of the bus driver is misinterpreted by most, but you got it. I wasn't peeved that she slighted me, but that she felt comfortable hiding behind the veil of pointless rules, and routine, like you say, because she knew, like all of us do, that doing so was perfectly acceptable in our society. Why is it acceptable? Becuase there are so many who simply live thier lives this way. Yes, she made a concious effort to do it, but, like you say, there are many out there who live thier lives in a haze, and become part of the machine would even thinking about it.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
The solution? (3.16 / 6) (#143)
by Shovas on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:07:39 AM EST

The simple fact of the matter is that there is no guiding principle on which Man can act by, at least, not in popular culture. A nation's government can espouse morals and principles until the cows come home, but there are those who couldn't care less without some form of negative feedback. A person being rude to another, as in the story, will not be changed without an influence upon them. It might have done the author better to have explained how they felt about being forced to wait out in the rain. That would have put their feelings on the table. At the very least, the bus drive would have had opportunity to think on their decision and possibly change - perhaps not at that moment, but maybe later. Yet we are taught to lay off, not to breach another's space.

The problem starts before this event. It starts with society and how we bring up out children. The way we rear, influence and shape our children is the way the world will develop when they are grown. How have we raised our children? How did our parents raise us? More importantly, how did society raise us?

While some will reel with disgust at the following, it will be said: religion has been that guiding light throughout the centuries. Whether in he west or east, north or south. Spirituality, in its more involved forms, produces the kind of people that we desire. I'm not aware of another method of raising our youth that has produced the quality and numbers of caring, thoughtful people as religion.

In another thread, they're discussing common sense as genetic, learned, enforced, etc. It seems to be learned and maintained by a guiding light.

Perhaps there is a solution here that, while not as palletable as some options, appears to be the only way out of this mess?
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
I don't normaly do this.... (4.66 / 3) (#144)
by FuriousXGeorge on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:22:25 AM EST

<< religion has been that guiding light throughout the centuries. Whether in he west or east, north or south. Spirituality, in its more involved forms, produces the kind of people that we desire. I'm not aware of another method of raising our youth that has produced the quality and numbers of caring, thoughtful people as religion. >>

But please cite some facts that support these statements. Is there ANY data out there that shows that religon produces, "the kind of people we desire?"



-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]
Circumstantial, but obvious in the culture... (3.00 / 5) (#171)
by Shovas on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 02:00:09 PM EST

I can't provide you with hard proof. Nobody can. I'm not aware of any studies detailing the Enlightenment and Scientific Method thinking as the downfall of western morals(I tried tackling this once. It was an exercise in futility. ;)). Looking at where we've been, where we are and how we acted in the many eras throughout history should give us somewhat correct perspective on behavioural trends.

While not hard evidence, it is also not argued that there is a general shift to casuality in our interactions with other members of society, even if they are in a position which traditionally has been given more respect than some other professions. Where we were once a largely courteous and thankful people, we are now a hardened, jaded populace of me-first, greed encrusted tools for the corporate machine.

There are some things which are evident without the need for studies and scientific analysis.
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Obvious in nature? (4.66 / 3) (#176)
by Kwil on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 02:58:14 PM EST

There are some things which are evident without the need for studies and scientific analysis.

Yes, such as heavier objects dropping faster than lighter ones, the sun rotating around the earth, black people/women being "naturally" inferior, movement requiring a constant force, heat being a substance, stars being fixed in space, and a host of other things that seemed perfectly evident -- until we examined them and found them false.

For instance, I put to you that religion does not teach morality, but that some who would be generally nice to other people are more attracted to religion than those who aren't. (I might even go farther as to suggest it being for selfish reasons as some sort of guaruntee of being "rewarded" for the better behavior and punished for the worse)

I might also suggest that the reason for the general moral decline isn't the scientific method directly, but rather those things that the scientific method brings with it - the ability to never have to deal with natural limits (farmers know you can only plant crops on a field so often), population density in cities, a separation from other people due to widespread literacy and/or television viewing, stresses brought on from doing work that seems unconnected with anything (aka the mid-life crisis), etc.



[ Parent ]
The connections are there and sometimes strong (none / 0) (#181)
by Shovas on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:40:28 PM EST

Yes, such as heavier objects dropping faster than lighter ones, the sun rotating around the earth, black people/women being "naturally" inferior, movement requiring a constant force, heat being a substance, stars being fixed in space, and a host of other things that seemed perfectly evident -- until we examined them and found them false.
Certainly, for things which haven't been analyzed. I haven't written a peer reviewed piece on the fall of morality, but I've analyzed it myself and it seems to be that the correlation between religious-independence and the the idea of decreasing Common Decency is too strong to ignore. This is not to say it is not due to side factors that come along with the main citation.
For instance, I put to you that religion does not teach morality, but that some who would be generally nice to other people are more attracted to religion than those who aren't. (I might even go further as to suggest it being for selfish reasons as some sort of guaruntee of being "rewarded" for the better behavior and punished for the worse)
This is a very intriguing side discussion. Books such as Lord of the Flies, Heart of Darkness, etc. try to detail in a logical flow how uninfluenced people will degrade in their principles. I'm of that belief.

It might be logical to assume that the already good people tend towards religion but of course there are few that actively seek out a set of beliefes to adopt. Most often the case is that the outreach of the religion brings them in and that includes those who would tend to it before hand and those who would not.
I might also suggest that the reason for the general moral decline isn't the scientific method directly, but rather those things that the scientific method brings with it - the ability to never have to deal with natural limits (farmers know you can only plant crops on a field so often), population density in cities, a separation from other people due to widespread literacy and/or television viewing, stresses brought on from doing work that seems unconnected with anything (aka the mid-life crisis), etc.
It is naturally not logical to place the fall of Common Decency on the shoulders of science and its methods. Perhaps it was the development of science as life style that perpetuated the exodus of religion from the mindset of the culture.
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Heh (4.50 / 4) (#179)
by FuriousXGeorge on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 03:48:10 PM EST

<<There are some things which are evident without the need for studies and scientific analysis.>>

No there isn't. You know sociology is a science right? You made a statement asserting that religious people have the morals Americans prefer. There are plenty of ways to investigate this and there is nothing self-evident about your statements.

Maybe religions produce the kind of people YOU like but I know they don't create the type of people I like. Religion creates closed minds. There is nothing moral about a closed mind. A closed mind is neutral. It could be evil, it could be good, the closed mind does what it is ordered to do by an authority.

Now, the christian closed mind model may be close to what we view as a good, moral person. However, the ideal person (IMO) will act in all the good ways true christians act, but without the fear of hell or all that other religious bullplop.


-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]
Rephrasing (4.00 / 1) (#183)
by Shovas on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:45:13 PM EST

Religion produces the traits in people that seem beneficial, as it relates to this story.

No there isn't. You know sociology is a science right? You made a statement asserting that religious people have the morals Americans prefer. There are plenty of ways to investigate this and there is nothing self-evident about your statements.
True; but the studying and analysis are not what the scientific method would have. There are apparent correlations and connections between aspects of life that can be used to extrapolate information. This isn't the hardcore, indepth study that most would associate with science, but it is, in itself, an analysis of the situation. Certainly there is pondering and thinking on the issue.

PS. I'd like to think my mind is open.
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Closed mind? (4.00 / 2) (#290)
by jombee on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 12:28:26 PM EST

FuriousXGeorge wrote:
Maybe religions produce the kind of people YOU like but I know they don't create the type of people I like. Religion creates closed minds. There is nothing moral about a closed mind. A closed mind is neutral. It could be evil, it could be good, the closed mind does what it is ordered to do by an authority.
Your assertion that religion is responsible for closed minds is blind. Humanities religious wisdom, teachings, and scriptures, by definition, work beyond the mind.

I have studied comparative religion for three years. I encourage you to explore the vast quantity of foreign cultures and their religions. More importantly, build personal relations with priests, nuns, monks, and other spiritual leaders. Reevaluate your statement at that point.

=jombee

[ Parent ]

Late, but I need to respond.... (none / 0) (#309)
by FuriousXGeorge on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 02:05:19 AM EST

<<Your assertion that religion is responsible for closed minds is blind. Humanities religious wisdom, teachings, and scriptures, by definition, work beyond the mind. >>

I'm not sure exactly what you mean. If it is that religion inspires free thought as opposed to a closed mind as I asserted, I can dig it.

St.Thomas Aquinas is a great example of a brilliant free thinker and philosopher.

But for the average person the message of religion is simply, "Do what I say."


-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]
surprised this hasn't come up yet... (4.66 / 3) (#180)
by jdtux on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:37:54 PM EST

I've read this thread through so far, and I'm surprised no one has mentioned that religion also breeds the biggest hatreds(*ahem* middle east?), or do people just use religion to justify their hate?

I'm not a VERY religious person(I'm roman catholic), although I do go to church every week, and I'm sure after doing that I am close minded to some ideas. school does the same thing though. I do however, consider myself to be more open minded than most, and I think that having an open mind is the most important thing for each of us.

(I'm not sure if this made sense to anyone else. this topic has really gotten me thinking)

[ Parent ]
I think this is more ... (5.00 / 2) (#146)
by Trickster on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 02:06:20 AM EST

... brave-new-worldish than 1984ish. Though if you think about it, the societies described in both books aren't that different

[ Parent ]
Psychology of assholes (4.07 / 13) (#38)
by Stick on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:57:32 AM EST

I should see if I could get a psychologist friend of mine to explain this behavior in an article. The rules have nothing to do with the bus drivers actions, they were just a tool, which can be ignored. The first mistake people make is to assume everyone thinks like them. That's why people get shocked when someone acts in a way they would never consider. The normal reaction to this is to make excuses for the person, which you did,

"She no doubt has an unpleasant job, and lives in an unhappy home."

The best way to deal with these people is understand why they are the way they are. If you understand people like this, then you'll find life much easier. Of course, I'm not going to try and explain it, since I'm no expert, but I know enough to understand these people myself. Its already saved me a few times.


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n

I forgot to point out something (4.40 / 5) (#39)
by Stick on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:04:00 AM EST

"Then, in the most hateful, envenomed tone imaginable, she said again, "The. Bus. Stop. Is. Over. There," this time enunciating the words slowly, literally biting them out."

That isn't the action of someone just following a routine. That's why I feel the whole "becoming drones of the system" argument is following the wrong path. Normal people don't act like dicks to someone who has made a resonable and polite request. Would you?


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]

Hello (3.75 / 4) (#43)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:07:26 AM EST

I have worked in enough situations where I have encountered people who believe they deserve special treatment over and above that of others. I imagine this bus driver has too. If you have spent enough time in such a situation you would understand why she would act in such a manner.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
Hi (3.50 / 4) (#47)
by Stick on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:20:38 AM EST

"The normal reaction to this is to make excuses for the person, which you did"


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
Yes, look closer... (4.66 / 6) (#45)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:15:52 AM EST

That isn't the action of someone just following a routine. That's why I feel the whole "becoming drones of the system" argument is following the wrong path. Normal people don't act like dicks to someone who has made a resonable and polite request. Would you?

Actually, it is just the reaction of somone following routine. In her mind, she has already informed me of the proper procedure, and now, here I am attempting to foist reason on her. She did NOT want to have to make descisions that required any kind of personal responsibility, and understandibly it provoked an angry reaction.

When she spoke to me, it was remarkably how one would speak to a child that *just wouldn't listen*. In her mind, I assume, I looked to be mentally incapable of understeading the very simple rule that passengers get on at point X, regardless of extinuating circumstances. I have no doubt in my mind that if somone with a bleeding headwound, a bomb toting terrorist, or the President on the United States stumbled into the bus asking for help to get to the hospital, to destroy the Transameric pyramid, or to rush to the Russian consulate to head off a message that may cause thermonuclear war she would have looked at him sternly, and ordered him to walk to the correct point to be picked up.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

Hello (2.80 / 5) (#46)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:20:37 AM EST

Exactly. Just as if the President submitted a diary to the queue it would be voted down. Rules are made for everybody, not just people less important than you.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
Then we agree (4.20 / 5) (#54)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:41:12 AM EST

I swear that just sounded like you agree with me... Unless you really do think thermonuclear war is a valid price to pay in exchange for an unbending system of rules and law, in which case, I'm very proud to not have you on my team! :)

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Hello (3.28 / 7) (#59)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:51:15 AM EST

It is stupid to suggest that making the President walk a few feet down the road in the rain will cause a nuclear war.

Next time I'm at a bar I shall walk up to an attractive woman and ask "Will you sleep with me". Perhaps she will reply "No, I don't sleep with losers." I will then say "But the President is a loser, and if sleeping with him would prevent a nuclear war, then obviously you should sleep with me".

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]

Yes (4.57 / 7) (#62)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:58:20 AM EST

Yes, of course it's absurd. That was kind of the point. At what point do you BREAK the rules? Sure, if it will stop nuclear war, right? What if it will stop just a small war? What if it could save a life? What if it could just make somone happy?

The entire point of the article is that rules should NOT dictate to human thought, and we should not let ourselves believe that can or should. We should ALWAYS make descisions based on our own good judgement, DESPITE the rules. Yes, if the bus stop was crowded, I could understand why her judgement told her to follow the rules. But how can you justify somone following the rules even though those rules are actually negating the purpose of thier existence (to ensure customer satisfaction).

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Hello (3.40 / 5) (#63)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:01:42 AM EST

I would argue that the purpose of the rule is not to ensure customer satisfaction, but to provide an efficient service. If everyone gets to choose where to get on the bus then the bus will be stopping every few feet down the road.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
Agreed (3.40 / 5) (#67)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:17:09 AM EST

I agree 100%. HOWEVER, I believe that people should not bind thier will to rules even when those rules are no longer useful. People should have rules to follow, certianly, but they also should have the option of bending those rules based on the context of the situation. To not do so is folly for all humanity, not just those who stand to get a little wet.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Hello (2.80 / 5) (#68)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:21:22 AM EST

I don't believe the context of your situation is worthy of bending the rules. If we bend the rules in your case we should also bend it for the person who needs to walk from their front door to the bus stop in the rain, the person who is too tired to climb the hill to reach their stop. You getting wet is not a disaster of thermo-nuclear propotions, nor does it signify humanity's decline into folly.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
I disagree (3.80 / 5) (#71)
by gnovos on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:30:03 AM EST

It would have taken more work for me to have me step down and cross 20 feet to the next stop then for me to have just continued walking in the door I was already halfway in.

It would have taken more work for HER to have to drive that extra few feet and stop and reopen the door for her only passenger.

The bus company would have made more money that night (and subsequent nights) from me paying (which I did not do, nor have i done since).

The bus company would make more money from friends of mine I have told the story to and who have decided not to ride the bus since.

There is NO valid reason to have followed that rule, except to relieve the bus driver from ever having to take responsibility for making descisions, which dehumanizes her.




A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Hello (2.33 / 6) (#77)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:48:51 AM EST

If you and your friends are no longer catching the bus because they refuse to redefine bus stops to suit your purposes then it is likely they are saving money by not having to deal with people who refuse to follow rules that are created to allow the bus company to provide an efficient and cost effective service.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
Perhaps you're just playing Devil's advocate... (4.00 / 5) (#91)
by yostinso on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 10:38:40 AM EST

If you're not, you seem to be doing your best to act like the bus driver in question, sticking to your point of view whether or not you've got valid reasons for doing so.

I expect people have quit riding the bus system after hearing this story because they don't want to get involved with a system that hires jerks or people who are too incompetent to think for themselves. I certainly wouldn't want to get on a bus driven by this woman; what happens if I suddenly get sick? She's not going to let me off to call a cab or an ambulance until she gets to the next stop, be it fifteen feet or twenty miles.

--E.O.

I fight for truth. I fight for glory. I fight for love. I fight for beauty. I am Hero.
[ Parent ]
Hello (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:49:37 PM EST

Has it occured to you that the bus driver may very well be smart enough to decide whether a given situation warrants a breaking of rules. Perhaps you having a heart attack on the bus warrants her stopping and calling an ambulance. Perhaps the President needing to avert nuclear war warrants a change in route. But perhaps she doesn't feel someone getting a little wet warrants breaking the rules.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
Exactly? (5.00 / 1) (#206)
by roju on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 10:26:44 PM EST

Isn't that kind of his point though? Maybe she's just a bitch. If someone asks you the time, do you say "THE CLOCK IS IN THAT ROOM" or do you look at your watch and say "10:30"? That's up to each person to decide, but the decision says a lot about the person in question.

And I'm sure people could find you liable for telling them the time. Perhaps your watch is a minute slow, so they stop to get a coffee, and miss their bus. Because of that, they miss their meeting, and lose their company $1 million dollars, and get fired.

Sure it's hypothetical, but since we can't ask the bus-driver herself this whole conversation is hypothetical.

[ Parent ]
Rule Following as Tactic (4.75 / 4) (#79)
by snowlion on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 07:47:05 AM EST

There is a long history of using rule following as a tactic.

She may very well be using her good judgement, and her judgement was against you. So may have made a conscious decision to take the rules literally.

Which would be quite different than being merely an automoton.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
And, why exactly... (5.00 / 1) (#193)
by DavidTC on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 06:07:37 PM EST

...are we allowing people with such piss-poor judgement to operate death machines?

If she saw someone who'd have to walk though the rain, and decided that she would make him do it, not because the rules said so, then the situtation is even worse, she is sadistic, pure and simple.

If you have two choices, and both of them have exactly the same effect on yourself, but one hurts someone else, and you choose that one, on purpose, after being asked by the person who will be hurt to select the other one, you do not belong in this society, and you certainly do not belong on the road.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Perhaps a relocation is in order? (4.00 / 6) (#64)
by juju2112 on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:09:49 AM EST

I think to some extent your problem is regional. Trying moving to the southern U.S. -- the people here are much friendlier. You can actually say 'hello' to strangers without them thinking oddly of you. I've never lived in a big city before, but I do hear that this is a big difference between big and small cities.



Delays, delays (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by tenpo on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:25:29 AM EST

One way to look at it would be that as populations grow larger the tendency is to have more rules and to break them less. Many rural areas are now more populated than in the past. They will always be relatively better than large cities with regard to friendliness of neighbours, but are things improving or getting worse?

[ Parent ]
I used to think the southwest was friendlier.... (3.66 / 3) (#132)
by antigone414 on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 08:00:24 PM EST

Although i live in the midwest now, I lived in Arizona for several years and have noticed quite a few differences. When I lived in the south, I was used to people being polite and downright pleasant. I have come to expect much, much less here. Not to say that everyone is unfriendly in the midwest, only that there is a definite marked difference in the degree of openness from region to region. Here, if I randomly smile at a stranger on the street, only one out of every 20 will smile back. The rest look at you like you're insane, clutch their briefcases/purses tighter, or even say rude things. I am a 24 year old girl who dresses very conservatively and have been told by several people that I look like someone's kindly grandmother waiting to happen. I don't think I look threatening in any way. Hoever, even little politenesses, like opening the door for an elderly man or woman, are not very well received at times. I get really unhappy when I hold the door for some sweet looking old lady with a cane, who then clutches her purse and tries to hobble away quickly, glancing behind her in fear/loathing. I miss being able to randomly smile at people and having a roughly 8 out of 10 chance of having people smile back.

As an addendum though, I recently went to visit my grandparents in AZ for a week and was shocked at the decline of politeness there too. The city of Phoenix has more than tripled in population since I called it home, so it was very different than I remembered it. One thing that struck me, though, was that many people I spoke to (gas stations, fast food, grocery stores, etc.) either spoke no english, were rude, or both. I always always always say "please" and "thank you" and "have a great day" and smile, and can do so in several languages when needed, but many people are surly in return no matter how polite you are to them.

I guess my rather long-winded point is that while I would agree with the fact that the south is a bit more friendly than some other parts of the country, I would also like to point out that the world is changing very quickly and that no matter which way you look at it, treating people with respect and trying to brighten their day for the three seconds you come into contact with them is, for the most part, a losing battle. It's enough to make even me a bit cynical.
antigone414 "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people."
[ Parent ]
You had me going there... (none / 0) (#135)
by inadeepsleep on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 09:02:42 PM EST

until you ended with your 'no stupid questions, just stupid people' sig. heh

I'll promise to smile at the next five strangers I walk by tomorrow if you will.


[ Parent ]
*smile* (none / 0) (#177)
by antigone414 on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 03:13:18 PM EST

I promise ;)
antigone414 "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people."
[ Parent ]
What would you have done if.... (3.33 / 6) (#75)
by Nick Ives on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:40:10 AM EST

Say you had gotten on that bus. Then, before the bus pulled up to the bus stop, another bus had slammed into the back of that bus and you suffered an injury that required hospital treatment. Of course your medical insurance would cover it, but then your medical insurance company would go after the bus company's insurance company for the money.

What would happen to the bus driver in that situation? Do you think she would have kept her job?

--
Nick
Can time please speed up now?

Yeah, right. (2.66 / 3) (#76)
by tenpo on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:42:11 AM EST

And what if there was a homicidal maniac hidden in the bushes with a bomb waiting to rush onto the bus when it stopped at the proper entry-point? Eh? Yeah... you think about it...

Good point, but it's pretty easy to prove a point by relying entirely on hypothetical situations.

[ Parent ]
I dont think its too hypothetical (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by Nick Ives on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 10:21:07 AM EST

Although I tried to illustrate it hypothetically, I think my point was simple. If you break the rules and something unexpected happens you could loose your job. If you cant afford to loose your job, dont break the rules, therefore the bus driver was perfectly justified in her decision. I'll deal with the manner in which the bus driver addressed the writer in my other reply to m0rzo.

--
Nick
Nicotine

[ Parent ]

I think the people... (none / 0) (#127)
by DeadBaby on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:59:57 PM EST

To be upset with are the sue-happy rats who try to milk anyone for everything they got with little or no concern for the truth. If he had slipped and fallen down and hit his head on the curb you can bet:

a) He would have sued.
b) The poor bus driver would have been fired, possibly held liable herself. At very least she'd have a stack of legal bills she probably couldn't afford and the city wouldn't have much of a choice but to support HIS side of the case since SHE was breaking the rules.






"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#260)
by Nick Ives on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:22:07 PM EST

I think you guys over there in the states really need to get rid of that whole litigation culture thing, spread the love and if someone does something that harms you well, just like, love man. Yea.

--
Nick
I've yet to hear a good reason why getting people to hug each other more wouldnt solve the worlds problems, or at least a lot of them.

[ Parent ]

Ok (5.00 / 1) (#137)
by tenpo on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 09:31:02 PM EST

The bus driver was entirely justified in adhering to the rules. That doesn't mean she was friendly, considerate or even helpful. That's not what she's been told to do, though. I'd suggest that people like this are the reason that microwave food packages have warnings that say "Warning! Packaging will be hot after cooking". Give someone enough instructions and they no longer think for themselves.

[ Parent ]
You misunderstood the article. (3.33 / 3) (#81)
by m0rzo on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 07:59:59 AM EST

Or so it would appear. It's not what she said, it's the impertenant, downright obnoxious manner in which she did it. Such rudeness was uncalled for. Had she politely explained that it was more than her job was worth, then I'm sure the author would have understood.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

Bad moods (4.00 / 3) (#95)
by Nick Ives on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 10:49:46 AM EST

You might just have a point on this one. I realise that over there in the USA your used to a "have a nice day" culture, but to be honest the bus drivers we get around here (blackpool, north west england) are almost always rude and obnoxious. The tram drivers are the worst. I even remember one occasion where I had to get the bus home from college (I useually got a car with some friends) and the bus conductor had a right go at me for not knowing my fare, forcing him to have to look it up. Now, in that case he was most certainly over the top ("next time learn your bloody fare!"), but if he hadnt had said that and had just expressed a mild disgruntlement I would have forgiven him as down the road the bus stopped at a secondary school where a couple of dozen more people were due to get on and he was barely halfway through the people crammed onto the bus as it was. Just a little background so you know why I dont expect public transport people to be all smiles and happiness.

Either way, just because he interprated the bus drivers actions as cold and hostile doesnt neccessarily mean she intended them that way, or even that she thought she was being hostile at the time. Given that the writer was having such a bad day anyway, I'm inclined to think that he was looking at the situation from the worst possible angle. Look at it from her point of view. She had probably spent all day driving that bus around and driving is certainly not a stress free activity, especially when you have to deal with lots of passangers. She could have given him a full explanation, but that would have taken time. Can you honestly say that if you were in that situation you'd take the time to fully explain yourself to every passanger that asked you to do something that was against the rules?

Of course she was rude, but remember that he did ask her the same question twice. Her first answer should have been good enough. That gnovos then goes on to use this case as an example of some sort of overall downfall of politeness in US society is a little melodramatic in my opinion. I think that its best to simply put this down to a case of two people having a bad day.

--
Nick
Shumy got pole.

[ Parent ]

Blackpool bus drivers... (none / 0) (#168)
by dipipanone on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:36:15 PM EST

Yes, but you've got to be fair. Every second passenger on a Blackpool bus or tram is a rat-arsed Scotsman in a tartan tam and wig, either puking under the seats or trying to dodge his fair because he's spent it all on Buckfast.

It must be very, very difficult to remain civil as a Blackpool bus driver.

--
Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
Definitely (none / 0) (#263)
by Nick Ives on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:33:11 PM EST

I've been making use of public transport a little more often over the past few weeks and I've noticed that as winter draws to a close and the season starts to pick up the drivers and conductors are getting less frendlier. Between the aforesaid scots, the screaming kids and the people asking silly questions like "what stops does this tram stop at in fleetwood?" (er, all of them?) they do have a tough time of it, which is why I'm not useually entirely bothered when they act arsey towards me.

--
Nick
FFIX, epsxe, maaan....

[ Parent ]

Um (2.33 / 3) (#114)
by DeadBaby on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:16:35 PM EST

I think he understood the artilce perfectly. It's nice if people are polite but there's no magical rule that says they have to be. You know, sometimes I am rude to people simply to let them know I'm not in the mood to fuck around. It doesn't mean I hate them, it doens't mean I wish anything bad to happen to them, it just means I don't want to stand there talking to someone when I don't want to.

It's pretty easy to argue that "the bus stop is over there" is polite anyway. I might have said:

"You numb fuck. Can't you see the fucking bus stop is over there? Are you fucking BLIND? get the fuck off my bus or I'll piss all over you."

That's being rude.






"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
That's because... (1.75 / 4) (#115)
by m0rzo on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:19:06 PM EST

you are an unsociable cretin. A sociophobe. Like most miscreants that loiter on this web-site.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

That's true... (3.00 / 2) (#118)
by DeadBaby on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:41:00 PM EST

Yep. I really can't argue that.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
The vicious cycle of humanity. (3.40 / 10) (#80)
by m0rzo on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 07:57:49 AM EST

Barbarism => Development => Civilisation => Decadence => Barbarism => Development => Civilisation => Decadence => Barbarism... which continues ad infinitum.


My last sig was just plain offensive.

Speaking of common sense (4.22 / 40) (#83)
by pyramid termite on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 08:13:30 AM EST

1. If she'd let you on there, she'd have had to let everyone on there.

2. If she'd gotten fired/suspended for allowing you to get on there, would have you been willing to reimburse her?

3. Plastic bags are your friends. Wrap them tight around your leather case and you won't have to worry about your laptop.

4. You're not made out of sugar, you won't melt.

5. You could have just waited until everybody else was on and ran the 15 feet over there.

6. Seeing as you were already wet from your run across the street, what difference would have it made?

7. If the chance that your laptop was going to get damaged was so great, wouldn't it have made sense to take a taxi in the first place?

8. Unless the bus stop is right outside your door at home, you'd have still had to walk a bit in the rain, right? More than the 15 feet to the bus stop?

9. MUNI, being a government enterprise, cannot be an example of capitalist failure to care about people.

10 The actual revelation you should have had is that the Western World does not exist solely for your benefit.

11 To argue that a woman, who was only doing her job, has an unhappy life and home because you didn't like her attitude, is a lot like my saying you have an unhappy life and home because you're getting so upset over something like this. Your prejudices are showing here.

12 The most constructive thing you could have done afterwards, is ask MUNI why they've arranged their bus shelters so poorly and contact the appropriate governmental people to put pressure on them to redesign them.

13. Having spent, a long, long time ago, a night in the East Bay, waiting for various extremely late or non-existent buses to come; which enabled me to, a) share a bus stop in Emeryville with a rat that was the size and potential disposition of a bulldog, b) hang around Jack London Square half the damn night freezing my ass off waiting for a bus to take me into the city, c) get home at 5:30 am when according to the schedule I should have been there at 12:15, it is my conclusion that you have not yet experienced true inconvenience in public transport.

14. We all get wet at bus stops. Shit happens. Life goes on.

I'm voting this +1, just because ...
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
My thoughts (4.44 / 9) (#149)
by gnovos on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 03:48:29 AM EST

You put some thought into it, but I still think you are missing my key argument. Let me try and go over your points.

>1. If she'd let you on there, she'd have had to let everyone on there.

I don't like this argument, becuase it is the same illogical argument that you get in grade school when you are caught chewing gum, but didn't make any sense to you then. If you are trying to say that, if she had let me on there, then she would have to let anyone else on who *fit my particular situation and profile*, then yes, I can agree with that. But if you are trying to say that she would have to let anyone and everyone on there, then no, I disagree. My entire point I was trying to make was that she should have used judgement. She should have seen that I was not attempting to be rude (not once did I even give her so much as a mean look, even after I stepped down), I was presenting to her a very rational argument for allowing me to embark at that point, and there were no other potential passengers around who would also have wanted to get on.

>2. If she'd gotten fired/suspended for allowing you to get on there, would have you been willing to reimburse her?

If she were fired, I would be very unhappy. Do you realise that having somone fired for an act of kindness is not such an absurd concept these days? You can imagine it happeneing, you may have even seen it in the news. As surreal as that situation SHOULD BE, it is actually real enough that it is something that people need to fear on thier job, and is just another example of what I have been talking about.

>5. You could have just waited until everybody else was on and ran the 15 feet over there.

There was no one else there. I was alone. She did, however, stop and open the doors into the empty night air, 15 feet away.

>6. Seeing as you were already wet from your run across the street, what difference would have it made?

It would have made a great deal of difference. The run took maybe 5-10 seconds and it was before the rain really reached it's peak, but the bus, starting up, driving 15 feet, slowing down, stopping and opening the doors takes a good 30 seconds. It is an incredibly slow process. You can get very wet in 30 seconds in that kind of rain.

>8. Unless the bus stop is right outside your door at home, you'd have still had to walk a bit in the rain, right? More than the 15 feet to the bus stop?

Actually, it is outside my home. But this is beside the point. The point is not the practicality of the situation, but the motives and abstract thought that took place.

>11 To argue that a woman, who was only doing her job, has an unhappy life and home because you didn't like her attitude, is a lot like my saying you have an unhappy life and home because you're getting so upset over something like this. Your prejudices are showing here.

Yes, that should have actually said "May" not "no doubt". I did not intend to say that she definitly had an unhappy life, but it is too minor a change to redo the whole submission.

>12 The most constructive thing you could have done afterwards, is ask MUNI why they've arranged their bus shelters so poorly and contact the appropriate governmental people to put pressure on them to redesign them.

Yes, that's a good idea, actually. But still, it only addresses the tangible components of the situation, not the motivations behind it.

>13. Having spent, a long, long time ago, a night in the East Bay, waiting for various extremely late or non-existent buses to come; which enabled me to, a) share a bus stop in Emeryville with a rat that was the size and potential disposition of a bulldog, b) hang around Jack London Square half the damn night freezing my ass off waiting for a bus to take me into the city, c) get home at 5:30 am when according to the schedule I should have been there at 12:15, it is my conclusion that you have not yet experienced true inconvenience in public transport.

I totally agree, but I have to say again, my point was not that I had such a bad time, my point was that we have a severly warped mental state in this country where we can JUSTIFY illogical and unreasonable actons because of arbitrary rules. It makes me think of the proposed SSSCA law, which intends to madate DRM in all digital appliances. It can be mathematically proven that DRM cannot actually exist in the real world, but this complete logical flaw does not automatically disqualify it.

forgive me for thinking that reason and logic should drive all human endeavors and descisions, no matter how small or insignifigant.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Value in following protocol (3.33 / 6) (#164)
by frozencrow on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:11:49 PM EST

>1. If she'd let you on there, she'd have had to let everyone on there.

I don't like this argument, becuase it is the same illogical argument that you get in grade school when you are caught chewing gum, but didn't make any sense to you then...

It sounds to me like the point being made is that if the bus driver sets the precedent of modifying the rules at runtime, there's essentially no end to it. There was only you at this particular stop, but what about the next stop? Is she supposed to let you (or whoever) on right there, and then also stop 15 feet up ahead in case there's someone else who wants to get on, soneone who is ok with the rain? Are people going to get confused when they see you (or whoever) getting on the bus, and maybe assume that the procedure for getting on the bus no longer includes that whole pull ahead 20 feet thing?

Exceptions to the rule are just plain hell to accommodate, no matter what kind of system you're talking about. I think that the better solution is probably to fix the protocol, whether it involves allowing passengers to get on at the getting-off stop, installing a roof of some sort at the getting-on stop, whatever.

My point here is not to argue that the bus driver is not a soulless automaton, just that she's not necessarily a soulless automaton. Please remember that your judgement is subjective, and that you may be asking more of her than you think you are.

[ Parent ]

Don't any of you people get the point? (5.00 / 2) (#256)
by Hatoyama on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 01:42:56 PM EST

I keep getting amazed at how you people fail to see the real thoughts presented within gnovos' article. He's not bitching about the bus stop. He's talking about where the world is going ('cause the US is not the only place where this is happening..). Couldn't you guys just read the article again and *try* to understand what he's talking about?

[ Parent ]
"The Death of Common Sense" (none / 0) (#295)
by fencepost on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:00:57 PM EST

An interesting little book that came out a few years ago. The author is a lawyer writing about how laws and rules are basically stifling common sense in the quest for absolute fairness - after all, if we codify everything and always follow the rules, then there's no grounds for anyone to complain.

Still, in this instance I can see three possible responses if you decided that a response was absolutely required:

  • Write a letter about it later ("I wasn't aware that the bus system had ruled common courtesy as being undesirable.")
  • Tell her that you hope her life improves someday as you leave the bus ("because clearly it's pretty bad right now if this kind of petty behavior is what gives you satisfaction")
  • Go out, let yourself get soaked, dogshake as soon as you get on the bus since you're now soaked ("Sorry, I got soaked out there. Really pissing down, isn't it?")
Of course, all of these are fairly petty, and simply taking a cab was probably a better solution. With either of the first two, it doesn't really matter whether you ride the bus or not.
--
"nothing really says "don't hire me, I'm an idiot" quite as well as misspelling "pom-pom" on your resume." -- former Grinnellian
[ Parent ]
It's not illogical at all (3.14 / 7) (#169)
by pyramid termite on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:40:36 PM EST

>1. If she'd let you on there, she'd have had to let everyone on there.

I don't like this argument, becuase it is the same illogical argument that you get in grade school when you are caught chewing gum, but didn't make any sense to you then. If you are trying to say that, if she had let me on there, then she would have to let anyone else on who *fit my particular situation and profile*, then yes, I can agree with that. But if you are trying to say that she would have to let anyone and everyone on there, then no, I disagree.


That's exactly what I am trying to say. Perhaps you should tell us what it is about you that would justify your being let on when other people would not be. The argument you're making, that anyone who "fit my particular situation and profile" should have been let on, tells me you think you are entitled to special treatment. Do you mean to say that if someone was a teenager, or a hippie, or a factory worker they wouldn't fit your profile, and shouldn't be let on? I think that's an arrogant attitude. I think the woman, after telling you no the first time, picked up on it, and that's why she was rude to you. I'm not going to say it was right, but I do find it understandable, especially when she has probably had people continue to argue with her and perhaps even threaten her over things like this. Having had jobs where I dealt with the public, I can tell you that a small percentage of the people one deals with are either out to rip people off, or get privileges because of "who they are", in their own inflated opinion, and one can get pretty tired of dealing with it.

my point was not that I had such a bad time, my point was that we have a severly warped mental state in this country where we can JUSTIFY illogical and unreasonable actons because of arbitrary rules.

And therefore, we should do things according to what you arbitrarily decide is logical and reasonable. How do you know this rule is arbitrary? There may be a very good reason behind it. Why do you assume there isn't?

You've gone on quite a bit about motives here and elsewhere, but I've yet to see you examine your own. And to expand a very minor incident at a bus stop into an indictment of our country's mental state is absurd. It's my belief that your reaction to all of this says more about our country's mental state than what happened at that bus stop.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
NO! (3.00 / 3) (#219)
by gnovos on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 03:12:59 AM EST

And therefore, we should do things according to what you arbitrarily decide is logical and reasonable

Logic, by definition, is not arbitrary.

You've gone on quite a bit about motives here and elsewhere, but I've yet to see you examine your own. And to expand a very minor incident at a bus stop into an indictment of our country's mental state is absurd. It's my belief that your reaction to all of this says more about our country's mental state than what happened at that bus stop.

I did not mean to imply that this situation, alone, would make me wax rhetorical. This is simply an illustration of countless other similar situations.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

Question your assumptions if you know you're right (5.00 / 4) (#228)
by pyramid termite on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 08:16:13 AM EST

Logic, by definition, is not arbitrary.

Then by definition, a person who has never run a bus company or ever driven a bus cannot be expected to have enough information to come to logical conclusions, and his decisions would be arbitrary.

I did not mean to imply that this situation, alone, would make me wax rhetorical. This is simply an illustration of countless other similar situations.

None of which you've talked about. And again, you seem to be unwilling to face your contribution, not just to the situation at the bus stop, but to "our country's mental state" altogether. What illogical rules do you follow in your work? What illogical expectations do you have of your fellow humans? What distinctions do you draw between people who fit your "profile" and those who don't, and why do you feel it necessary to "profile" people? How do you know that the bus driver didn't percieve you as rude, even though you're convinced you weren't? And, to address the bigger point, why do you feel a system where people have roles, and rules they must play those roles by, is dehumanizing and callous, simply because many choose to obey, but still have areas of their lives outside of that system? Think carefully about that last one; you've assumed several things - that people who obey rules are mindless and that people who give rules are uncaring and cold. In some cases, they may be, but not all.

Just think about it. All of us, including me, have to struggle with the process of getting good answers to these questions, and it's a never ending process. I don't say there are no logical solutions for dealing with people and society, but we can often fool ourselves into thinking we have one, when we don't.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Heh 12. is what I was thinking... (4.20 / 5) (#194)
by KOTHP on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 06:08:23 PM EST

Of course I'm missing the point, but who designs a bus stop with a shelter for people getting off the bus and none for the people waiting (likely for several minutes) to get on? This makes no sense!!!

[ Parent ]
My guess (4.33 / 3) (#220)
by gnovos on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 03:15:55 AM EST

I am just guessing, but I think they never intended to have two stops. They probably USED to have just one, but later found out that having people both get on and get off right in front of the entrance to teh city's biggest bus terminal was causing traffic flow problems.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
crap (4.00 / 3) (#233)
by QuantumG on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 09:55:19 AM EST

1. If she'd let you on there, she'd have had to let everyone on there.

No she wouldn't.

2. If she'd gotten fired/suspended for allowing you to get on there, would have you been willing to reimburse her?

How would she get fired/suspended, it was just him and the bus driver.

3. Plastic bags are your friends. Wrap them tight around your leather case and you won't have to worry about your laptop.

Or an umbrella or a waterproof bag, this is beside the point.

4. You're not made out of sugar, you won't melt.

He is a californian tho. One must remember that water falling from the sky is not a common occurance there.

5. You could have just waited until everybody else was on and ran the 15 feet over there.

I got the impression there wasnt anyone else. Did I miss a section?

6. Seeing as you were already wet from your run across the street, what difference would have it made?

There's a difference between wet and drenched.

7. If the chance that your laptop was going to get damaged was so great, wouldn't it have made sense to take a taxi in the first place?

Or not take the laptop, but he's outside now, and I'm sure there's no windows in his prison^H^H^H^H^H^Hoffice.

8. Unless the bus stop is right outside your door at home, you'd have still had to walk a bit in the rain, right? More than the 15 feet to the bus stop?

You've put way too much thought into this. Maybe it's not raining at home.

9. MUNI, being a government enterprise, cannot be an example of capitalist failure to care about people.

Not sure he was saying too much about capitalism. But if you want, we can talk about how "caring" a capitalist venture would be. Probably about zero as it wouldn't exist, as running public transport in California would be prohibitively expensive.

10 The actual revelation you should have had is that the Western World does not exist solely for your benefit.

I thought the revelation he should have had would have been "damn, why'd I open my mouth?" and not just get on the bus and tell the bitch to go get bent if she gave him any trouble.

11 To argue that a woman, who was only doing her job, has an unhappy life and home because you didn't like her attitude, is a lot like my saying you have an unhappy life and home because you're getting so upset over something like this. Your prejudices are showing here.

I was a bit taken aback at this presumption too. She probably just didn't feel like taking any shit from a geek with a laptop.

12 The most constructive thing you could have done afterwards, is ask MUNI why they've arranged their bus shelters so poorly and contact the appropriate governmental people to put pressure on them to redesign them.

Or called the other people (seeing as you seem to think there were some) over and tell them to get on the bus and when the driver gave you any shit told her she shouldn't be smoking on the street (which believe it or not is a crime in California) and we all break the rules some time so stop being a bitch.

13. Having spent, a long, long time ago, a night in the East Bay, waiting for various extremely late or non-existent buses to come; which enabled me to, a) share a bus stop in Emeryville with a rat that was the size and potential disposition of a bulldog, b) hang around Jack London Square half the damn night freezing my ass off waiting for a bus to take me into the city, c) get home at 5:30 am when according to the schedule I should have been there at 12:15, it is my conclusion that you have not yet experienced true inconvenience in public transport.

At least you have public transport at that time of night. The "night bus" system of london leaves a lot to be desired and the tubes stop running at midnight (which is probably why the pubs close at 11pm, assholes).

14. We all get wet at bus stops. Shit happens. Life goes on.

Not all of us. Some of us dont live by the rules. Some of us dont think the rules apply to us and some of us ignore people who expect us to be constrained by the rules. What could possibly happen if he'd gotten his fat ass into that bus when he wanted to and laughed/joked at the driver when she told him the "bus stop is over there". She may have made a bit of a fuss but a simple "drive the bus ok?" would have been more than adequate response. It's pretty simple to get through to people that you're not playing games. When I was very young I used to catch the bus to school. The bus driver stopped the bus one day and said "we're not moving till [random kid] puts his bag in the upper rack" (it being by his knees). Someone walked to the front of the bus, whispered something in the driver's ear and the bus started again. I asked him later what he said "When you're looking for another job tommorrow you wont think where a bag is resting is such a big deal". It was an empty threat but it put things in perspective for the driver. Sometimes the rules are not that important.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Not just in the Western world (4.30 / 13) (#85)
by sudasana on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 08:30:25 AM EST

There's an example of this kind of institutionalized irrationality in the movie Not One Less directed by Zhang Yimou. It's probably a relativly tame example of common sense and compassion in China being totally overruled by following regulations. Young Wei Minzhi is rebuffed by a television station secretary who refuses to let her into the studio to find the manager, although she's trying to find a runaway student from her rural school. Eventually the manager wonders why a girl has been standing outside the gate for days asking every person who comes out if they are the manager, and calls the girl in. He reams out the secretary for 'just following regulations' and not actually thinking about the situation.



Hey, I saw that movie too! (4.33 / 3) (#105)
by autopr0n on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 12:47:26 PM EST

Actually, you could say that china probably would have even more of that type of thing, after the crushing bureaucracy of Mao era communism. (and it's not like they've become totally unautocratic these days either). That movie, you could say, was really kinda anti-establishmentarian, the heroes have an active dis-regard for rules and order ("just sneak on the bus!").

It also has a lot in common with the film Yellow Earth by Chen Kaige... which on the surface seems like a celebration of communism and stuff, but in actuality is kind of a critique.

Yes, I did take a Chinese Literature and cinema class last semester, why do you ask? :P


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
[ Parent ]
A Diary Entry...... (3.20 / 10) (#86)
by sisyphus on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 08:33:42 AM EST

(ALREADY.BEEN.MENTIONED):-Diary Entry. (ABM): What Country? (ABM): A employee follows rules.

She no doubt has an unpleasant job, and lives in an unhappy home. How can you ascertain this, just becasue someone doesn't make a load of money, have a great job, doesn't mean she's unhappy.

-If everyone wrote a story about personal bad experiences, we would have 25000 stories on the queue.-Lastly, what makes you think you were morally right on this situation, I thought the article was condesending so I can just imagine what that person felt like.That'ts what Diaries are for.

I looked again at her face, at her hollow, now expressionless eyes, and I knew it must me real.


The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

erm... (3.80 / 5) (#129)
by antigone414 on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 07:24:54 PM EST

""She no doubt has an unpleasant job, and lives in an unhappy home." "How can you ascertain this, just becasue someone doesn't make a load of money, have a great job, doesn't mean she's unhappy.""

I would say that anyone who treated another human being in such a manner is undoubtedly very unhappy in life, for who could stand to be close to such a nasty person except for other nasty people? I've worked in customer service/tech support for ages and one rule across the board is "Be Polite". Sure, we all have our bad days, but as an employee of any company that deals with the public, you are paid to treat people with dignity and respect as part of your job. I've talked to alot of rude, condescending, ignorant bastards on the phones and in person in the course of work, but if I were to treat some of the customers the same way they treat us as employees, I would be fired instantly.

And, I'm not trying to be picky, but the impression I got from the story is that the Point is not to whine about having to walk in the rain and getting wet, but rather that instead of treating him like a human being and saying, "sorry, no, it's against the rules" or some such, she treated him like some kind of retarded child. I'm assuming he didn't walk up to her and say "Hey Bitch, I'm getting on the bus here unless you tell me not to".. He probably said something more along the lines of "I know the stop is 5 feet away, but since you're here and i'm here and it's really raining out, would you mind if i get on here?" which should have elicted at least some sort of response other than a dull stare and contempt.

Point in case: If you walked up to a police officer on the street and politely asked him for directions, and he looked at you with contempt and pointed and very slowly said "it's.....right....there....you....idiot" than you might also be a bit concerned with the decline of human decency. Not to mention offended or even a bit angry. If, on the other hand, that response seems normal to you, then you are probably already very jaded and cynical, and part of the decline of human decency that the author was trying to discuss.

antigone414 "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people."
[ Parent ]
everything that happens to me is very important (4.00 / 1) (#303)
by fn0rd on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 11:16:59 AM EST

Point in case: If you walked up to a police officer on the street and politely asked him for directions, and he looked at you with contempt and pointed and very slowly said "it's.....right....there....you....idiot" than you might also be a bit concerned with the decline of human decency. Not to mention offended or even a bit angry. If, on the other hand, that response seems normal to you, then you are probably already very jaded and cynical, and part of the decline of human decency that the author was trying to discuss.
What if we examine 2 other cases based on this situation?

1)The officer is extremely friendly, a regular Barney Fife, not only giving you directions, but walking you to the destination (let's say it's Floyd the barber) and introducing you to Floyd, making pleasant small talk and smiling all the while. Is this an indication that human society has achieved a new state of enlightenment and that we are rapidly approaching utopia? That Jesus is going to come bounding down from the cloud tops any minute?

2)The cop points accross the street and says,"It's over there", off-handedly. You promptly forget all about this uneventful exchange. Does this illustrate that maybe, just maybe, a specific interaction between two individuals actually says nothing at all about our society in general? Oh my god!

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

Cry me a River (3.66 / 15) (#92)
by Woundweavr on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 10:39:22 AM EST

You got wet. Oh no!

The Bus Stop was 15 - 20 feet away. You got wet. Get over it. The rules exist not for your satisfaction, but for the most efficient loading and unloading. Had you gotten on there, others would have also, and it would have likely caused problems. Even if it hadn't, and the bus driver was doing it for her own lack of desire to do you a favor, thats not evil. She didn't want to put her job on the line (there are cameras in there you know) or some random stranger.

Its good to know that you have a complete understanding of the history of Western Civ. How old are you? At the oldest you're 70 or so, but more likely you're under 30. Do you really believe that you have evidence that this type of behavior is suddenly new in your lifetime. Nope. I don't think that factory workers in the 1800s got to bend the rules for convenience. Your tricorner hat would have gotten wet in the 18th century too. And you think the Puritans bending rules?

Get over it. Someone wouldn't do you a favor. You got wet. Thats how it goes, and it doesn't herald the downfall of Western Civ.

Thats just it (3.50 / 2) (#97)
by autonomous on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 11:03:47 AM EST

Even if it hadn't, and the bus driver was doing it for her own lack of desire to do you a favor, thats not evil. She didn't want to put her job on the line (there are cameras in there you know) or some random stranger.

What you said right there is just it, there are cameras watching and the bus driver could lose her job for being nice. I think you look at the same world the author did but you don't see a problem with it. Sad.
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
Not being nice (2.75 / 4) (#155)
by Woundweavr on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 11:29:08 AM EST

Does not herald the end of the world. It is not new.

The bus companies don't give a crap about some random guy who might get wet if he has to board 15 feet away. They make rules to make an efficent system for the maximum profit. If one person boarded in the departure area, the people already wet would have been screwed. Then, everyone would get on there. So the bus would be stuck in a place its not supposed to be, most likely screwing everything up.

Why did this guy deserve special treatment? If he gets on, everyone will, and the whole system is f'ed. So why would they do this guy a favor to save an inconvenience, when it a) would have inconvenienced them, and b) would have inconvenienced other passangers.

[ Parent ]

Special Treatment (5.00 / 1) (#178)
by Kwil on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 03:17:18 PM EST

If he gets on, everyone will, and the whole system is f'ed. So why would they do this guy a favor to save an inconvenience, when it a) would have inconvenienced them, and b) would have inconvenienced other passangers.

Which would be perfectly valid, except the situation as he describes it wasn't as you do.

The way he describes it implies that he was the only one waiting to get on, and indeed that he had already gotten on half way. From the situation as he describes it would have cost the bus-driver and the system precisely nothing to allow him to continue getting on - less even as the bus would not have had to expend the gas accelerating twice (once from the get-off stop, once from the get-on stop), and getting those big behemoths moving is the toughest part for the engine.

I certainly agree that he shouldn't be given any special treatment if it costs the driver or the system something to do so - if it doesn't cost though, then isn't being human good enough to get special treatment?

[ Parent ]

Incivility is new behavior? (4.77 / 9) (#116)
by webwench on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:19:15 PM EST

"The Earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer mind their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching."

-Assyrian stone tablet, c.2800bc

[ Parent ]

We're doomed! (none / 0) (#215)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:23:56 AM EST

Whoever wrote that was on to something - look what happened to Assyria. The fall of their empire was obviously brought about by rude chariot drivers. Judging by the date of the tablet, at this rate we've only got a couple millenia left. The end is nigh!

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Much Worse Example (4.38 / 21) (#98)
by localroger on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 11:05:50 AM EST

According to this BBC article Saudi Arabian religious police prevented girls from leaving their burning school because they were not properly attired. Virtue was protected at the cost of only 15 lives.

Now, what were you saying about that bus stop?

I can haz blog!

What are you trying to prove here? (4.50 / 4) (#145)
by Kalani on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:59:10 AM EST

Should we be concerned about indifference toward other humans only when it gets as bad as that situation in Saudi Arabia?

For the record I think that the author's response to the bus driver is just as bad as the bus driver's act.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
My Response (4.50 / 4) (#151)
by gnovos on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:42:04 AM EST

Actually, I was very kind despite the situation. I did not yell at her, spit on her shoes, or even give he so much as a mean look. Once I understood the situation, I stepped down and turned away.

I cannot emphasize this enough. I was not particularly angry at her in particular. I was angry at the society that wishes to justify actions similar to hers as more than perfectly acceptable.

Yes, I used this situation to illustrate a point, but this is by *no* means the one and only time I have seen this kind of behavior. I *contantly* see it, this time just finally hammered it into my head that, no, the society isn't just full of assholes. Instead the society has built a framework whereby this kind of behavior is actually preferred to what, I hope, would be considered the natural human reaction.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I should have been more clear ... (4.00 / 3) (#152)
by Kalani on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 05:31:13 AM EST

I was not particularly angry at her in particular. I was angry at the society that wishes to justify actions similar to hers as more than perfectly acceptable.

This is actually what I meant was bad about your reaction. I (as a part of society) have no connection to this lady's actions, not even indirectly. I do act by the spirit of rules rather than by the letter, and I have never been discouraged from doing that (except in cases where the intent of the rule is in question).

I have generally had good experiences with workers out there in the real world. The girl at the sandwich shop down the street even offers me free drinks for coming into the store so often. Should I infer from this that society is encouraging everyone to reward loyalty?

Society is full of mixed messages. In this case I think that you just had a pissed off bus driver.

You might also consider that stress is higher in cities (especially San Fran -- I lived a couple of hours south in SLO and it was not nearly as stressful). People who are acting under stress are motivated to protect themselves more zealously (and this effect is amplified as more people react under stress to others under stress etc). I think that in this case the simpler answer is the more likely one.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
To put it another way (3.88 / 9) (#153)
by localroger on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 09:36:11 AM EST

The basic problem: Distracted drivers

  • Dude on a cellphone pulls out in front of me and I have to slam my brakes: picayune
  • Dude on a cellphone rear-ends the car in front of him on the Lake Pontchartrain causeway, causing 37-car pileup and closing the bridge for 5 hours: news
The basic problem: People follow the letter of the law instead of the spirit

  • Somebody gets wet at a bus stop: picayune
  • 15 people die: news
Sometimes there is a place for the small, slice-of-life picayune example just to show the pervasiveness of a problem (and that's what the toplevel article does here); but it's also worth pointing out that the same problem has much more drastic consequences elsewhere, lest the reader think all instances of it are picayune.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Ah, er, OK ... (none / 0) (#214)
by Kalani on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 01:39:09 AM EST

I guess I was confused because you said, "Now what were you saying about that bus driver?" I thought that this meant, "get over it, it's worse somewhere else," instead of, "yes it's good that you noticed that so that something can be done before it gets as bad as this." It just didn't seem to me that you were supporting his stance but since you now say that you are then I agree with you.

Really, what this world needs is more Commando Bus-riders.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
better as a diary entry (2.62 / 8) (#101)
by SocratesGhost on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 11:59:13 AM EST

I don't disagree with you though. In fact, you're seeing evidence of this sort of harsh behavior in this thread right here.

When I was younger, my parents tried to teach me that there's a difference between being good and being just and that often times the two don't overlap. I've come to disagree with them. Rather, the big difference comes between being merciful and being just. Mercy is really what you were looking for here, but what you got was "The Rules". Being just is always to be in the right, but being merciful can be good too. Of course, the idea of mercy is probably considered old-fashioned, so maybe that's an explanation for what happened to you.


-Soc
I drank what?


re: better as a diary entry (3.00 / 1) (#191)
by kreyg on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 05:23:15 PM EST

(CAUTION: metapost)

In fact, you're seeing evidence of this sort of harsh behavior in this thread right here.

Such as the numerous calls to blindly adhere to the vauge rule that this should be a diary entry? Perhaps I could enter my own complaint - that suggesting the story would be "better as a diary entry" should be an editorial, rather than topical comment. :-) (That's interesting because it combines the "rules must be followed at all costs" and "rules are for other people" concepts at the same time, which I would normally think of as being contradictory.)

There seems to be a rabid "adhere to the rules" crowd right here. More interesting is that they seem to have entirely missed the point, and in doing so made the point.

There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
Ok.... (1.91 / 12) (#102)
by Icehouseman on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 12:17:01 PM EST

If you don't like standing in the rain; get a car. It's easy. Go to a car dealer. Find a car you like. Pay for it or get a loan. Get some insurance and gasoline and you're ready to go where ever you want without waiting for a bus or paying for a taxi cab. It looks like that person was trying to do their job and you're just being a whiney little bitch.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
common sense, common decency (3.25 / 4) (#108)
by juju2112 on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 01:34:31 PM EST

Dude, you're completely missing the point -- people are starting to act like dicks more and more these days. To the bus lady, he wasn't even a person -- he was something less. Don't people have common decency anymore? That's what he's saying. He's saying, for god's sake, take 5 seconds out of your life to try to understand someone before you rip into them.



[ Parent ]

A car? In San Francisco? (4.33 / 3) (#119)
by pyramid termite on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 04:05:32 PM EST

They're more trouble than they're worth. Really. It's impossible to find a parking place for them on the street and parking garages are expensive. Furthermore, the hills are hell on brakes and transmissions and the traffic's terrible. Not to mention that it's a compact enough city that you can get to half the places you want to by walking and public transport will take care of the rest.

If I lived there, I wouldn't have a car either.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
I see. (4.00 / 3) (#122)
by Icehouseman on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:37:07 PM EST

Well, I live in Iowa. Here if you don't have a car, you're screwed. There is no way to transport yourself. Honestly I can't imagine living without a car, I can't remember how I survived before I got my driver's license. Taxi Cabs are high priced and the bus seems to only make stops at schools, retirement homes and the mall. In fact I think the whole idea of a car pool lane is rather silly. I dunno; the car seems to me the best mode of transportation.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
[ Parent ]
Cars are good, not in SF, tho. (4.60 / 5) (#148)
by gnovos on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 03:23:37 AM EST

Yes, cars are great, but NOT in San Francisco. Literally, there is no place to park. Literally no place. If you live in apartment building like me, expect to pay a $120 a month extra to have a parking space in thier garage. And that is where your car will sit, unless you plan to leave the city, becuase anywhere and everywhere you want to go, you will not be able to park. Don't think, "I'll park a couple blocks away and walk," instead think, "I'll end up parking so far away that it ends up being FARTHER than if I had just parked the car at the garage in my apartment."

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
To quantify it: (5.00 / 1) (#280)
by pietra on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:54:39 PM EST

There are roughly 750,000 cars registered in San Francisco, according to a recent SF Chronicle article.

There are approximately 600,000 legal parking places (including pay lots and garages) in San Francisco, according to the same article. Do the math. In addition, the entire city is seven miles wide by seven miles long. Insurance is prohibitively expensive; gas is at least 30 cents more expensive than it is just across the Bay in Oakland. Buying a car in SF is the single dumbest thing you could possibly do if you lived there. When MUNI actually works (about half the time, on time), it's cheap and awesome, and you don't have to go on a Sisyphean quest for a parking spot.

(That said, I live in Idaho, and if you don't have a car here, you don't go anywhere.)

[ Parent ]

Should have just gotten on (3.00 / 14) (#103)
by autopr0n on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 12:28:57 PM EST

Without asking.


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
werd (4.00 / 2) (#232)
by QuantumG on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 09:36:13 AM EST

I was going to say the same thing. What kind of idiot asks permission to get on a bus.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
I dunno, some kinda whiny dotcom wuss? (2.66 / 3) (#302)
by fn0rd on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:48:40 AM EST

One rude bus driver heralds the end of civilization? This has got to be the whiniest bit of drivel I've ever read in my life.

"But.. but... *sniff* I've got a laptop!"

Holy smokes! Grow some cajones, man!

I'd like to see the reception this bus driver would get if she tried to join this guy's country club. I can completely understand why this woman acted the way she did. She, like most of us shlubs, has to deal daily with the self-esteem crushing belittlement of people with important sounding titles and $1000 suits who seem to coast through life on their sheer sense of entitlement. Seeing one of the hated enemy in a position of vulnerability, she naturally pounced like weasel on a one-legged chicken. Whether or not the poster was one of those types, he fit the profile enough for her to derive some satisfaction from the situation. I bet she had a good laugh about it with her bus driving friends afterwards, too.

I'd have handled it differently, I suppose. The outcome might not have been as pretty, I probably wouldn't have been allowed on the bus, even at the correct stop, after I'd finished giving her a piece of my mind, but I sure wouldn't have written some maudlin crybaby piece for all the world to read about it, inflating my hurt feelings to catastrophic proportions. That nasty bus driver was at least being honest to her territorial primate nature. The poster is living in a sepia-tinged fog of nostalgia for an Ozzie and Harriet civilization which never really existed in the first place.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

not be allowed on the bus (none / 0) (#308)
by QuantumG on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 02:48:57 PM EST

Pah-lease, just because she drives the bus doesn't mean she can keep me off it. What's she gunna do? Man handle me? I'll smack the bitch down. She gunna stop the bus until I get off, *everyone* on the bus would instantly be on my side not hers (I wonder if there is some theory behind that. Guess a passenger always relates to another passenger more than the driver). She gunna just off the bus herself into the pouring rain and catch a cab home? I'll drive the bus myself! It's just plain lunacy to take any shit from a bus driver. Drive the bus dude, or I'll drive it for you!

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
Whiner (4.00 / 17) (#104)
by KnightStalker on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 12:32:41 PM EST

After 6 years daily riding public transportation in various forms, here are some of my observations:

Drivers have to deal with several kinds of people. The two largest segments are people who aren't permitted to drive for various reasons, whether for drunken driving or they're just too stupid to pass the test, and commuters. They have to answer the same stupid questions all day long. They have to deal with all the lonely people who think that bus drivers are their best friends just because they don't get up and leave. They have to deal with people in Civics who think it's a good idea to cut the bus off or swerve around it illegally. They get robbed a lot.

After Sept. 11, their jobs got a lot more stressful. Buses are one of the best bomb targets, after all. Several bus systems (at least the ones in Portland OR and Vancouver WA) no longer allow people to sit on the bus without a driver, because they "might be a terrorist". Yeah, it's a stupid rule, but hey.

The "common decency" you vaguely imagine once existed was based on many things that are no longer real. One of those was that people stayed "in their place" and didn't ask for favors from strangers. You can't ask someone to break the rules of their job just so you can be more comfortable, and then call them "wrong" in some kind of moral sense when they quite rightly refuse. You don't have the right to special treatment. Deal with it.

yay for Tri-met (3.00 / 2) (#139)
by Skwirl on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 09:38:38 PM EST

I don't think public transportation, at least in Portland, is nearly as bad as you imply. There's a very large population of teenagers who ride the bus, and people who can't afford to own a car who are neither too dumb nor too drunk to drive. Also, most bus drivers seem more than happy to answer questions and some pride themselves on the number of routes they have memorized.

I can remember at least one occasion where I've had a lonely bus driver start a conversation with me. I'm not quite sure why anybody would rob a bus driver, since the fares are all locked up in the till, but it is true that drivers were distraught over the knife attacks on Greyhound busses.

The "common decency" you vaguely imagine once existed was based on many things that are no longer real.
Oh yeah, and passengers in Portland still routinely thank the driver for a safe ride as they disembark.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]
True enough! (3.66 / 3) (#166)
by KnightStalker on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:29:52 PM EST

I certainly didn't mean to imply that Tri-Met is bad or dangerous to ride. I've met lots of different drivers, some of whom are so cheerful it's scary. (Like the big dude with the Santa Claus beard who always calls out every stop and all the businesses around it, and thanks everyone for riding.) I used to know all the bus drivers in Klamath Falls by name.

Almost all the grouchy or rude drivers I've met were in Vancouver. (Most of the grouchy and rude passengers were in Vancouver as well. And the grouchy and rude rent-a-cops. Go figure.) Still, most of the C-Tran drivers are pretty friendly. But I've heard stories from many drivers about how they used to drive in So. Cal. or Oakland or Chicago or wherever, and got shot at, knifed, etc. just by passengers trying to avoid the fare.

And in my experience, there's hardly anyone who can't afford to own a car. Some people choose not to (I do) but it seems most people will go without food before they'll go without wheels. It's a shame, really. I have a 25 mile commute and I'd rather bicycle it than drive. Fortunately, the buses are available. :-)

[ Parent ]

To associates who live above the poverty line (5.00 / 1) (#294)
by Mitheral on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 05:54:34 PM EST

You must not know many poor people. It wouldn't surprise me if 25% of the people I know can not afford to own a car. After housing food and clothing they often have less than $100 in unallocated funds, good luck maintaining an auto habit on that.

[ Parent ]
mmm? (5.00 / 1) (#305)
by KnightStalker on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 12:18:32 PM EST

$100/month is easily enough to own a car if you (a) drive a crappy car, (b) don't bother get insurance and possibly (not necessarily) (c) live on credit. If people you know have a $100 surplus every month and they're not living on credit, I'd say they're doing reasonably well, as their finances are going up, not down. Kudos to them for choosing not to waste money on driving.

Yes, I lived below the poverty line until I was 24 or so. No, I don't have much sympathy for people who keep themselves there.

[ Parent ]

Thanking the driver. (3.00 / 1) (#236)
by katie on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:36:58 AM EST

Now that's something I noticed. In the Midlands, everyone does that. They get off the bus, they say "cheers, mate!"

In London, I felt like a foreigner when I was the only one that did...





[ Parent ]
Bored? (2.63 / 11) (#106)
by tangocharly on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 01:08:43 PM EST

Someone works a lot to get the money to buy this $*-notebook to look impressive and to rent a flat in California and now it sometimes "rains in California", too and the driver isn't impressed.
This is a serious subject you should address immediatedly to the government or the tourist office of SF but you should have chosen the banana-topic...

Unfortunately there seem to be so many people not going by public transportation which find this subject interesting. :-(


San Francisco and Life's Not Fair (4.20 / 10) (#112)
by levsen on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 02:56:17 PM EST

I agree with the bus driver on your particular story, but I agree with you on everything else.

If I get you right, what put you off more, is not so much that you weren't let onto the bus, but the way she responded. I guess if she had said "I'd like to, sir, but I could lose my job if I did" you would not have written this article. It is surely MUNI's rule not to let passengers on the bus anywhere else but the bus stop, but it was probably her own rule to speak to you like to a 5 year old. The reason is, that, especially in San Francisco, there are a lot of people whose understanding goes exactly that far. Especially Mexicans and Africans think that everything is negotiable and won't back down after having argued for half an hour. This seems to be deeply rooted in their culture. After you've seen a Mexican keeping everybody in line waiting for half an hour at the DMV because he tried to argue his way out of the $500 parking tickets he had run up for perfectly valid reasons in the last months, you know they are not like us. Languange problems add to that. It was difficult at first to get used to being treated like an idiot at times (signs saying "It is against the law to do something illegal") but I guess San Francisco's multicultural population warrants that.

The other thing is the "life's not fair, get used to it" attitude that persists in many parts of the United States and that is being repeated in comments to this article. Not only are people's social horizons limited to their family at most, they feel attacked by anyone proposing to be nice to someone else. That keeps worrying me.


This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.

Common Decency.. (3.28 / 7) (#113)
by DeadBaby on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:10:57 PM EST

Wouldn't common decency also cover not subjecting a bus driver to breaking rules? I mean, it's fairly obvious there was some reason she couldn't allow you on her bus... maybe it's a rule, maybe it's some bizarre insurance issue, who konws. Maybe she thinks you were indecent to her by asking her to break rules, possibly risk her job, just because you couldn't deal with being a little wet, or didn't check a weather report or didn't have some shelter of your own.

It's really a matter of perspective. In the end, it's not a big deal so who cares?
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Style as well as substance (none / 0) (#184)
by Macrobat on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:51:34 PM EST

I agree with you that not wanting to break the rules was probably her motivation. But there's a right way and a wrong way to say it, too. Something like, "I can't change the stopping point for liability reasons" or even, "Sorry, it's against the rules" would work. But it looks like this woman came up with a way calculated to be rude and dismissive of the request.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

work (3.00 / 6) (#121)
by infinitera on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 05:36:14 PM EST

This is what hierarchy and rules do to people - they make them unable to relate to others as people. Most [corporate/goverment] work environments are organized in such a way as to make calling it fascist an exercise in logic. So I grieve with you at the dehumanization of people by their jobs. I gots more to say, but the words aren't coming right now, so I'll wander back here when they are.

Peace.

-Dan

Meanwhile, the everyday activities of Marxists ... (4.50 / 2) (#124)
by pyramid termite on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:18:51 PM EST

... results in more Marxism. Ick. I tried to read that. I really did. It was duller than dishwater, had no factual information in the 1/3 I wallowed through, and seemed to be mere opinion, and not very interesting opinion at that.

If someone wants to make an argument like that, make it real. Talk about a real person, what they do in their lives, what they think about what they're doing. Show us what's wrong and how it doesn't work.

Furthermore, it was dated 1969 ...
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
my apologies (4.33 / 3) (#125)
by infinitera on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:35:58 PM EST

It is quite hard to read, I know, it took me a long time to digest it all (a point of distinction though; when it was written does not make it less relevant). I'll quote one of the cool parts here:

In capitalist society, creative activity takes the form of commodity production, narlelp production of marketable goods, and the results of human activity take the form of commodities. Marketability or salability is the universal characteristic of all practical activity and all products.The products of human activity which are necessary for survival have the form of salable goods: they are only available in exchange for money. And money is only available in exchange for commodities. If a large number of men accept the legitimacy of these conventions, if they accept the convention that commodities are a prerequisite for money, and that money is a prerequisite for survival, then they find themselves locked into a vicious circle. Since they have no commodities, their only exit from this circle is to regard themselves, or parts of themselves, as commodities. And this is, in fact, the peculiar "solution" which men impose on themselves in the face of specific material and historical conditions. They do not exchange their bodies or parts of their bodies for money. They exchange the creative content of their lives, their practical daily activity, for money.

As soon as men accept money as an equivalent for life, the sale of living activity becomes a condition for their physical and social survival. Life is exchanged for survival. Creation and production come to mean sold activity. A man's activity is "productive," useful to society, only when it is sold activity. And the man himself is a productive member of society only if the activities of his daily life are sold activities. As soon as people accept the terms of this exchange, daily activity takes the form of universal prostitution.



[ Parent ]
No, I don't "buy" it (4.50 / 2) (#133)
by pyramid termite on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 08:05:48 PM EST

As soon as people accept the terms of this exchange, daily activity takes the form of universal prostitution.

Or barter. Or trade. Let's face it, the author used a loaded word there.

Furthermore, there is so much that people do with their lives that doesn't have anything to do with money what so ever. Do you consider your post, or my reply to it a commodity? Are we earning anything by posting here? Do the creative contents of our posts exist for the purpose of making money?

The reason capitalism and Marxism are fading as social theories is they regard people through an economic viewpoint only. It just doesn't work. Why did the firemen rush into the WTC on 9/11? What commodity were they giving and what did they hope to gain by it? No, a Marxist or capitalist explanation of that behavior does not exist.

I could go on and on - online file trading, people who draw Herbie on trains, women and men flirting with each other with no intention of doing anything about it, parents and children - the list is endless. If a person sees all that as some form of commodity or universal prostitution, he's saying more about his obsessions than he is about the world. And I am finding the obsessions of Marxists and libertarians to be quite tiresome ...
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
productivity (4.00 / 2) (#134)
by infinitera on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 08:14:57 PM EST

Are you being productive, is the question he asks. Society would say posting on k5 is not. The word prostitution is meant in the sense that prostitutes take a detachment from their work, to protect their sanity (or however you want to think of it). So does the bus driver in the story. She interacts in a purely detached, nonhuman manner because it is safer, easier. This is what our commodity fetishism brings us.

-Dan

P.S. Perlman is not a Marxist, or even close. He's an anarcho-primitivist, using methods of Marxist theory, but he is many leagues away from Marxists. I don't agree with his philosophy, but his analysis of society is spot on.

[ Parent ]
The Game (3.87 / 8) (#123)
by n8f8 on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 06:13:41 PM EST

On good days I'm lucky enough to get a moment to step back and see the game. I'm afraid too many people get caught up in the game and can no longer see it for what it is.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
She was right (3.58 / 12) (#128)
by depok on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 07:04:09 PM EST

She did the right thing.
Similar case in Belgium (but probably also true for other countries) with trains. When you arrive at the departure zone, and you see the train is leaving (trainmanager has whiseled, thus given the sign to move ahead), you are no longer allowed on the train, even if the doors are still open (eg. in the wagon where the trainmanager stands).
Why? well, if you happen to have an accident (can always happen), this person is responsible. Already over here it's an difficult position, but i think in the US, where people sue over almost everything (even their own stupidity), it's better not to take risks. Ok, I have to admit, maybe you won't have an accident, and nothing will happen due to your doings, but what if something really happens?

koen

death has a thousand faces, they all look familiar to me

What if? (3.80 / 5) (#147)
by gnovos on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 03:20:51 AM EST

Ok, I have to admit, maybe you won't have an accident, and nothing will happen due to your doings, but what if something really happens?

"What if" can never be an argument, becuase there is no way to determine any sort of degree of possibility that something will happen. You could say, "What if you get struck by lightning?" as a reason why never to go outside. Sure the chances of getting struck by lightning in broad daylight with no clouds in the sky are something like a billion to one, but there ARE reports of such events.

In your example, maybe the chance of the doors causing an accident may be a little greater than a billion to one, but it surely is rare enough that such an even doesn't happen many times in a year, or perhaps even in a decade.

What we MUST do in this situation is place the "blame" squarely on the shoulders of the one making the descision. If you decide you are willing to "risk it" and go through the doors, then you should be held completely accountable for your actions. If you are the type who can't handle such a risk, stand back, take the next train. This, in my mind, is the Common Sense which we seem to have lost.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

Huh? (2.66 / 3) (#157)
by Woundweavr on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:20:36 PM EST

What?

The example wasn't a what if. Its liability. Best case scenario for the train/bus company: passanger gets on at the wrong place, no one else does to foul up loading/unloading and no one gets hurt. Worst case is someone gets hurt and they lose their business from liability. The train/bus owner is liable to protect the people that use its transportation. Thats a fairly obvious and (Western World) universal precedent. By your argument, everyone should be liable for their injuries if the train crashes or explodes or poisons them as they choose to get on the train(and most people who try and get on the wrong place do so from ignorance).

[ Parent ]

Right. But (3.00 / 5) (#159)
by mindstrm on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:26:51 PM EST

That's not how american society works.

People are all too often not responsible for their own ignorance. If they are permitted to jump onto a moving train, and slip, and get their leg ripped off, it's the platform attendant's fault for allowing them to try to board the train.



[ Parent ]
Probabilities (4.00 / 3) (#182)
by Macrobat on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:40:35 PM EST

"What if" can never be an argument, becuase there is no way to determine any sort of degree of possibility that something will happen.

I'm guessing you've never taken a class in, or read a book about, probability. Or thought very much about it. Equating the incalculably small chance of being struck by lighting on a clear day with the chance of something (anything) bad happening on a moving bus shows a remarkable lack of proportion.

Besides, it doesn't have to be one bad thing: it could be a traffic accident or mechanical failure or someone slipping and falling on the bus. Things go wrong on moving buses several times a year, with varying degrees of consequence. Maybe tragedy and lawsuit won't ensue, but if anything remotely troublesome happens, you can bet the first question the bus driver will be asked is, "why were you driving the bus when it was supposed to be parked?"

Moreover, getting back to your lightning example: would you carry an aluminum umbrella in a thunderstorm on the grounds that "there's really no way of telling the degree of possibility" of being struck by lightning? Do you not know what "conditional probability" means?

What we MUST do in this situation is place the "blame" squarely on the shoulders of the one making the descision. If you decide you are willing to "risk it" and go through the doors, then you should be held completely accountable for your actions.

And a driver who opens the door on a moving vehicle is not "making a decision" and therefore cannot be held accountable?

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

she was wrong (4.00 / 2) (#270)
by dsturnbull on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 04:44:07 PM EST

Here in Australia most train conductors will stop the departing train for late comers, like if you are running down the stairs to the platform and he blows the whistle and you yell out 'WAIT' or he sees you, he/she (mostly she, actually.. weird) can stop the train from leaving so you can get on.
I don't know about Belgian train platforms but it's pretty hard to hurt yourself getting on a train :)
I think the really shitty status of the job keeps young, unjaded conductors from becoming assholes. In fact this applies to a lot of jobs that I can think of. Cynical jaded bastards to work behind the scenes and the young, relatively polite and helpful to work with the public.

[ Parent ]
+1, Would have been FP (2.83 / 6) (#130)
by whojgalt on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 07:35:52 PM EST

I was with you until the last paragraph. Its not just that I disagree with your opinion in that last paragraph, but that it undermines the keen and well-expressed insight of the rest of it.

You started out great, describing a social phenomenon that is well known and widely experienced, but not often understood in the way you describe it, at least not explicitly. But then you diverged from that into a political diatribe that has at best tenuous connection to your main point. You didn't spend any time making the connection, just threw it out there as an obvious and inarguable manifestation of the phenomenon you identify.

I think that conclusion is incorrect, but more to the point, it just makes the rest of your story look like a cheap set-up for another political rant. There's really two articles here, and neither is well served by jamming them together so crudely.

Still, on the whole, it is good enough to deserve being modded up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you can't see it from the car, it's not really scenery.
Any code more than six months old was written by an idiot.

Perhaps is was (2.00 / 1) (#163)
by daveq on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:47:49 PM EST

The 'article' appears to me more like a writing excercize on dramatic over-exaggeration then something with an insight into the state of the universe. My first impression was that it had many of the signs of a troll. I actually didn't read very closely beyond the first few sentences, since clearly much of it was embellished (i.e. full of biased imagery and lies). I wouldn't dismiss the possibility that the story was merely a cheap set-up so quickly.

[ Parent ]
I don't think it was (none / 0) (#197)
by whojgalt on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 07:10:45 PM EST

The rant at the end made it look like it, but my guess is that it was just opportunism, or maybe the author running out of steam at the end and not really knowing how to wrap it up.

His point, which most of the responders have missed, is much deeper than simple frustration at ill treatment, worth discussion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you can't see it from the car, it's not really scenery.
Any code more than six months old was written by an idiot.
[ Parent ]

Yes (5.00 / 1) (#218)
by gnovos on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:57:48 AM EST

I admit, the end did not turn out well. I really should have cleaned that up a bit before posting. But, it was comletely true and accurate.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
The rules (2.62 / 8) (#131)
by theR on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 07:40:23 PM EST

I agree with most of the people that are basically just telling you to deal with it. I'd also like to point out, besides all the other explanations of why the bus driver did what she did, that she may have been on her break, or the time between unloading and loading may be considered break time or personal time.

Where I am, the bus drivers typically sit on the bus to catch a nap, talk on a cell phone, or eat their food during their breaks, which seem to be fairly short for the most part. The last thing I would want if I was a bus driver would be to deal with customers when I'm supposed to be on a break.



Yes, show some respect (5.00 / 1) (#185)
by Jel on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:53:25 PM EST

There was a comment posted on this story, where someone complained about a Macdonald's worker not cooking things the way HE wanted, in order to speed things up. That worker's actions may have seemed senseless, but in fact had good reasoning behind them, as a response to the comment explained (different cooking methods for different foods, oil temperatures, etc -- and then there is McDonald's reputation for the same taste everywhere).

People are usually experts at what they do, no matter how simple that job is. It doesn't take a genius to figure that someone who does a job everyday will have more insight into it than your occassional external glimpses will provide. If they tell you to keep off the wet cement, then respect their advice, even if you're too dumb to figure out the reason for that advice. Perhaps the driver was pissed off precisely because passengers don't respect her enough. She probably gets that at every other stop. It takes two to tango, of course, and you only get respect by giving it.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that this driver had been dying to use the bathroom for the last hour, and had looked forward to the stop for a long time. I doubt that her job would have remained secure if she'd let a passenger on board the bus, and then took off to the bathroom whilst that passenger proceeded to mow down some pedestrians. In fact, she may have needed to go take some medication to stop her feeling crap for the next two days, or even from having a heart attack -- who knows? The point is, you can assume the worst of people, and call them mindless automatons, or you can rise above your tiny problems, respect them, be patient, and hope your patience gives them an added second to rise above their own troubles and take in the moment from a fresher perspective.

On the other hand, I agreed with most of the story in principle, and especially with the last paragraph -- to me, society *should* aim to follow ideals rather than laws whenever humanly possible. Unfortunely, it is human nature to take things for granted, and even the loftiest notions eventually come to be used in vain. And, I think that is the essence of the problem -- if we all just take a little time to think about what we say, things might improve.

For example, when you say "Good morning" to someone as you leave your home, mean it. Think about the words for a second -- if you're having a good morning, pass that feeling on. If the morning doesn't feel good... well, either don't say it, or say it with a sincere wish that their morning will go better than yours is.

That's a simple example, but it applies to everything -- even the loftiest notions of social conscience hinted at in the article. When you go to the park, think of the life you lead, the freedom you have. Take in the moment. This reflection may not seem relevant to anything, but it's relevant to really living -- to understanding what you have, and what the ideas you claim to embrace really mean.

Apart from enhancing life for yourself, and by proxy, for others, these moments of reflection will matter in many other important ways. They will matter when someone asks you, in your professional capacity, how they can bypass local wildlife laws to build another shopping complex. For a split second, you might question the act, rather than simply accepting another's destructive desires because they are paying.

If you really get into the spirit of this, you might find that those clients pick up on it, and stop coming to you. Hell, you might even wake up one day to wonder why the clients you get now are so much more pleasant to deal with than the old ones. And believe me, there will be new ones... how often do you hear people complain about bad business practices, unfair dealings, etc. I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of good people in your line of work, just waiting to find someone who practices business the way they want to practice it.

Again, when your policitians speak of imposing further taxes on the poor in order to promote opportunity, you might be more inclined to wonder why all the previous taxes they paid didn't go towards providing them with better housing, better representation in government, or a measly little park in their area. Regardless of your political inclinations, you'll certainly be more inclined to go out and volunteer to give people a little of whatever you have, and to accept what little they have to give.

And just to get completely off topic... despite disagreement with some points in this story, I loved reading it... at times, I wanted to flip the page, read on for a while, and see how the rest of the novel turns out.



[ Parent ]
her approach (4.33 / 3) (#207)
by roju on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 10:38:09 PM EST

Although I agree with most of your comment, I am bothered when you say "Perhaps the driver was pissed off precisely because passengers don't respect her enough.[...]"

He is complaining about her attitude, which I agree is a poor one. Suppose the case is that she really had to go the washroom. Seems to me to be a perfectly valid reason to not let him on the bus. But rather than say "THE. STOP. IS. OVER. THERE." why not say "Sorry, I have to use the washroom and can't let you on the bus now. Stay in the drop-off shelter, and I'll let you on when I get back" making everyone happy? This approach extends to basically any reason she could have had for not letting him onto the bus. Instead of being rude and hiding behind the rules, why not give a friendly explanation of why she can't, and then try to be as helpful as possible.

I think the author is just lamenting that rather than being nice and polite, she was mean for no reason.

[ Parent ]
Cycles. (4.50 / 2) (#235)
by katie on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:31:05 AM EST

The problem is that these things happen in viscious cycles. She wouldn't get halfway through that explaination before the average passenger had started off on a long rambling, incoherent sentence of roughly the form "but, fuck, you know, what, fuck, yeah?" and then they start ranting about rights, and customers and god and who knows what else...

The author could have been given a coherent explaination, would have replied "oh, ok, sure" and been happy. A lot of the population just isn't up to having sensible conversations.

So, people like bus drivers get used to being short and rude to people because it's all they understand. It's only a shock to the brighter or better brought up parts of the population.

I still occaisionally get amazed by how rude people working in shops are to people; and yet their customers seem bent on being ever ruder to them. I stand having a conversation with someone in a shop and someone else will walk up, and open their mouths and demand something.

They don't start with "hi", or "excuse me", they don't smile, they don't wait for the assistant to finish dealing with an existing customer, they just demand something and then walk off scowling. They scowl whatever the outcome.

The expressions on older people's faces in reaction to that is fantastic. They give off this air of "we used to shoot people like that you know.."

In a way it's not surprising that so many people respond to anything by being rude first, while they have a chance...



[ Parent ]
Good point. (4.00 / 1) (#273)
by roju on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 05:56:54 PM EST

I suppose I did make the assumption that everyone given a valid rational explanation for something would then have a rational reaction in turn.

You are probably also right about the bus driver being jaded from the rude customers. Perhaps this serves to make the author's point even more clear however. If she started off as polite and friendly, but has come to the conclusion (or been driven to it) that only being rude will be effective on passengers, that is very indicitive of people in general. I don't agree with the "everyone else is doing it" rationalization, but I can see how she could have been worn down.

Part of it must be the sense of detachment from not knowing him. If she knew him outside of this incident, you can be pretty sure she would have tried to help him out in some way. That seems to be the biggest fault with large cities, people don't know eachother. Everyone knows there will be no direct consequences for being rude to someone they don't know, because that person can in no way affect their life in the future. It's bad, but people do seem to act that way.


Luckily, not everyone is jaded. I used to take the same bus every day to get to the trainstation for work, and the drivers on that route knew everyone. The bus was full of regulars every day. One day I was late, and basically ran the entire way to the bus-stop. The driver saw me coming and waited, and when I got on said something along the lines of, "You didn't have to run, I would have picked you up on the way," which was awesome to hear. It was nice to know that someone you barely know would have done you a favour that could save you so much trouble.

[ Parent ]
FYI (4.50 / 2) (#217)
by gnovos on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:55:08 AM EST

Just to clarify, these are the actions she took when I stepped down from the bus:

1. Pressed some button on the dash.
2. Took out a clipboard to make some note of some kind.
3. Put the clipboard back and pressed a different button, which closed the doors (from start to this point took about 30-40 seconds).
4. She started driving to the "stop".
5. When she reached the "stop" she opened the doors to the CLEARLY empty night air.
6. She waitied a few seconds with the door open, despite the fact that there was no one there, and no one could be seen on the streets in any direction, and then drove off.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
re; the rules (4.00 / 2) (#190)
by Dreamwizard on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 05:22:21 PM EST

Why is this man a "fucking Idiot" because he asks to sit on the bus instead of having to stand in the rain. If he gets on the bus, pays his fare and sits down, how is this interfering with the driver, on her break. From the way I interpreted the mans letter, this drivers "layover" as it is called in my area, is fairly short, perhaps 5 minutes or so. Generally this is just enought time for a driver to perhaps use a restroom, stretch a bit, maybe have a snack, and get back to the business of driving. Unless she needed to leave the bus herself, to go the restroom or something, she would not be leaving him unattended in the bus and as I see it, she would not be violating any rules.

Maybe its because I am in a different climate, but what strikes me as odd is that the bus company dosnt seem to provide any sort of shelter for the passenger. Where I am at; in an area where the bus is suppoosd to have a "layover", the area provides shelter. There is an arrangement, where the busses complete their appointed rounds and take a break and adjust their schedules. There is a shelter for the passengers and also an area for the drivers to stop and use a restroom or take care of whatever personal matters need attending to. Once the driver has done that, or if the driver dosnt need to leave the bus, they have been known to take on a passenger(s) to get them in out of the cold, or inclement weather.

What this man said was not that the woman simply followed a set of rules, but it was the rude or hateful way she dealt with the issue; much the same way as you used the term "fucking idiot" to describe a person who just wanted to come in out of the rain.

Dreamwizard

[ Parent ]

"Fucking idiot" (1.50 / 2) (#240)
by theR on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:14:59 AM EST

I didn't write that into my comment. It's my sig, and appears after every comment I write. Thanks for proving that it's true, though.



[ Parent ]
Oh do shut up. (1.57 / 26) (#136)
by yicky yacky on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 09:27:26 PM EST

There's a good chap.


yicky yacky
**************
'The actual reasonable Britons are correct, you're being a cock.' - Hide The Hamster.
Actually, the demise was detailed a century ago (2.80 / 5) (#154)
by radghast on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 11:12:39 AM EST

Bureaucracy was where the demise was first predicted, with Franz Kafka as the critical analyst.

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
Nope (5.00 / 2) (#156)
by Woundweavr on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:07:57 PM EST

Some people always think society is spiralling down. Its what happens when people get older and they remember the past with a large glop of nostalgia. Kafka wasn't the first, nor was he the last. See webwench's post for a quote showing this. People just think that in the past people were better to each other, viewing the past through rosecolored glasses.

[ Parent ]
Litigation. Rules. Conformity. (3.76 / 13) (#158)
by mindstrm on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:23:18 PM EST

That's what it's all about.


I recently (or not so recently.. I've been here 8 months, wow) moved to Costa Rica.

People here don't follow rules. Sure, they know murder is wrong, thievery is bad.. but there is a common sense element to it. The bus stops wherever you want it to. You can just flag it down. It also stops to let you off where you want it to. You are also free to just hop off the moving bus as it slows down.

Now.. it occurred to me. Part of the problem might be litigation. It's not a huge stretch of the imagination to picture a scenario where, say, the lady let you on the bus, then the bus got hit by another bus, and you got paralyzed from the accident, then sued the company for violating procedure and allowing you on the bus. Redulous, yes, absurd, yes, but the American Way ;)

As for everyone being cogs in a machine.. you are so right. People in the US, especially in larger cities, tend to be assholes to each other in public. Does everyone who gets on the bus have some respect for the bus driver? Does the driver feel this respect? I doubt it, or she would have let you on the bus.

Society just needs to loosen up a bit. Not everything can be reduced to a set of rules an regulations. There is no algorithm for a healthy society.




No Rules (4.33 / 9) (#170)
by bodrius on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:44:44 PM EST

As a citizen from another one of those Latin American countries that manage not to completely fall into ruin while delaying prosperity indefinitely, I have to counter this post (and yes, I have been in Costa Rica too):

Costa Rica HAS RULES. They may not be as strict as the US, and certainly not in the same place or the same rules, but they do have lots of rules, particularly compared with the rest of Central and South America. That's why they do relative well.

I have lived in a country where "common sense" is the rule. Guess what: everyone has a different idea of when "common sense" applies, and a disturbing percentage loves making exceptions for themselves.

This also applies to the rules we do have. We comply with them, "as long as it is common sense". This makes everything, from littering to tax evasion, turn into a chronic social disease that no one really wants to solve because it's so much easier. Try convincing people to follow traffic rules when they submit everything to their respective "common sense".

You don't want to abandon the whole idea of the "Rule of Law" for the "Rule of Man", you really don't want to go back there. We have been there for centuries, and it definitely has not helped us. We're there now, and we have a really hard time trying to get out; regardless of how many Phd theses and well-intentioned political projects, it's a matter of culture, and it takes time to change culture.

Without the culture, you have a proliferation of continually changing rules that are harder to follow, and therefore make it easier not to follow, which generates new rules... you see the problem. Rules become meaningless. Unless you attach them personally to some ruler, or force people to take them seriously by draconian oppression, or usually both. And a lot of other problems...

Your culture (which by the way, is not all of Western Culture) already understands the importance of Law as Law, please be more careful before discarding that because you had to wait a few extra minutes for the bus.

If you want to see a place where people follow their "common sense" rather than the rules, try Miami. When Latin Americans say about that city "it feels just like home", it's not always a compliment.

To the specifics:

Buses have arbitrary stops in Costa Rica because they are small private or subsidized-private ventures, therefore they work as a sort of multi-person taxi.

This happens everywhere there is such an arrangement: a private bus will stop where the customer wants to stop. It won't anger the other passengers, and will make that passenger much happier, and you don't want to make ANY passenger unhappy (there are capitalistic reasons, and also self-preserving reasons). No one is really worrying if this is inefficient (hint: it is), because it's what the customer is paying for and for a single transport the savings are not that great.

A public, government-handled service doesn't have to answer to customers, just to bureaucrats. Bureucrats worry about efficiency for good and bad reasons; they have little motivation to spend a couple extra million dollars from the city's budget to make passengers happy, when those same voters and all of City Hall will want their heads if they spend that money.

Services handled directly by the government tend to be exactly alike everywhere I have visited, including the US, Spain, France, and my own country. Shitty bus drivers included.

When that bus driver treats you like shit, anywhere in the world, remember this: he gets away with this because he knows he doesn't work for you, he works for the government.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Hmm. (3.50 / 4) (#173)
by mindstrm on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 02:15:18 PM EST

I was not implying they had no rules, only that society is looser than the US.

Yes, littering is a problem. Yes, there *are* lots of rules that are ignored, and they do create problems.

I do think, however, that out of that looseness comes a happier more friendly place to live.


I agree on all your points though.







[ Parent ]
This sort of thing has been bothering people... (3.33 / 6) (#160)
by The Great Wakka on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:30:59 PM EST

for quite a while. I don't really know why our culture has taken a sudden downturn. What we really need is a sort of reform. You see, this state of being is very beneficial for corporations. They want an army of hypno-drones. They care not for us.

I predict that in the next 50 years, we will see the rise of corporations as clearly and obviously running the government, or we will see their total downfall, back to being businesses and not more.

Your input and feedback is appreciated. Your flames will be used to save on energy bills.

Or (5.00 / 2) (#196)
by skim123 on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 06:29:24 PM EST

I predict that in the next 50 years, we will see the rise of corporations as clearly and obviously running the government, or we will see their total downfall, back to being businesses and not more

Or we will see them continuing to do the same thing they are today. Yeah, I would expect to see one of those three outcomes in the next 50 years.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
my story (2.28 / 7) (#161)
by rebelcool on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:32:42 PM EST

A couple days ago I made my way to McDonalds one morning to pick up a couple of egg mcmuffins, which are the only things from there i'll eat. The clock in my car read 10:27, so I figured I was good (breakfast ends at 10:30). I get to the little order thingie and order... and get: "sir, i've stopped breakfast and started serving lunch". Now I know my car clock couldnt be more than a minute or two off because I actually use it and keep it fairly accurate.

me: "But it's not 10:30 yet..."
monkey: "By my clock it is"
me: "Come on. It can't be more than a minute or two past."
monkey: "well... i don't have any more of that kind of egg left. all we have is the fold up kind"
me: "That's fine, use that."
monkey: "I dont know if i can.. let me ask the manager"
*waits*
monkey: "okay, pull on up"

Grr.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

They had a reason (4.75 / 4) (#172)
by pla on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 02:13:26 PM EST

As much as I agree with you in spirit, an old Significant Other once explained this phenomena to me (namely, why they can't throw two patties of what they call hamburger on the same grill as eggs and give me my double cheeseburger for breakfast)

They change the temperature of their oil vats and grills at the changeover from breakfast to rest-of-the-day-food. Usually, they will have a lull around the time they change menus, and adjust the temperatures during that lull rather than at 10:30 (or whenever) exactly.

Now, granted, most sentient creatures could figure out "35 degrees cooler, cook for a little bit longer", but, well, they do at least have a physical excuse rather than a procedural one.


[ Parent ]
Not reason enough to throw out food (3.66 / 3) (#187)
by netmouse on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 05:03:53 PM EST

I've seen this go both ways. I'm personally very fond of McDonalds breakfast food. I've been at Mcdonald's restaurants where they will give away extra breakfast food they aren't supposed to sell after the time switch, and I've been at McDonald's where all the breakfast food that isn't sold by 10:30 am goes in the garbage.

And when I get past my own personal grief that I wasn't allowed to buy that (already cooked and prepared) food, It occurs to me that on a global scale, McDonalds probably throws away enough food in a year to feed all the poor people in a small country.

There are distribution organizations that try to intercede with grocery stores and redistribute food they are about to throw away to hungry people who will eat it immediately, but I've never heard of Mcdonalds doing this. The probablem is that locally the amount of waste doesn't seem big enough to justify a redistribution system. At least to a profit-making corporation.

--netmouse

[ Parent ]

Ew. (3.50 / 2) (#199)
by quasipalm on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 08:07:22 PM EST

While I agree that wasted food is a bad thing... I'm not sure egg-mcmuffins are going to do the world's hungry much good. Not only would they be better served with more natural foods with less "bad stuff," but in most cases natural food would be cheaper to produce near the hungry people -- rather than shipping aging, pre-cooked eggs and hamburgers in refrigerated barges (too keep them from rotting).

(hi)
[ Parent ]
Everybody should be forced to work in fast food (4.50 / 6) (#202)
by IvyMike on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 08:54:01 PM EST

...at least once in their life.

I did, in high school, and let me tell you, the changeover from breakfast to lunch is a big pain in the ass. Remember, the reason that a place like McD's can serve you a hamburger that tastes the same every time for $0.69 is that the back is an assembly line. The grills, the setup of condiments, the bun machines, etc. are all set to either "breakfast" or "Lunch". Worse yet, customers expect that at 10:29 they can order anything from the breakfast setup, and at 10:30 anything from the lunch setup. It takes about 15 minutes to switch over, though.

Yes, it wouldn't be hard to break the rules, but the system isn't about free thinking; it's about automation and efficiency. If they could replace the workers in the back with machines, they would. Stretching the rules, even to make a customer happy, are the type of thing that make managers mad.

Before you start to complain about the lack of customer service in this day and age, remember, you could have good service at another restaruant. What you can't have is good, fast, and cheap customer service--you only get to pick two.

P.S. As a former employee, I have to say that I don't eat breakfast at McDonalds. Far too many aspects of it encourage lazy employees to cut corners. (And I ate a bug at the Purdue Bug Bowl without hesitation, if that tells you anything.)



[ Parent ]
Eat elsewhere (2.00 / 3) (#223)
by bob6 on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:07:21 AM EST



Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Think about it (3.66 / 3) (#249)
by needless on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 12:15:03 PM EST

If it was as slapdash and easygoing as you would like it to be, you would be instead complaining about how it takes so long for your food. It is called fast food, emphasis on "fast". That's why Mom and Pop restaurants don't have drive throughs.

[ Parent ]

Perhaps (4.00 / 1) (#265)
by virg on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:54:17 PM EST

Maybe if you didn't spend your time condescending on the "monkeys" they'd be a little nicer to you. Get outside your head for a moment here. It's not the drive-through person's decision that there's a break point between breakfast and lunch, and they don't do it just to make your life miserable at 10:29 on your car clock. The reason is that the McD's is set up like an assembly line, and when the line gets retooled for lunch food getting a breakfast order together requires more work than you'd think. That said, it's possible that a cooker could pull off cooking and assembling your Egg McMuffins even after the setup for lunch, but most managers frown on such things because it throws off the line. So, that kid has to go out of his way and risk getting in trouble just so you can treat him like an uncooperative turd because he doesn't want trouble for going out of his way.

So from here, it looks like the "monkey" wasn't the one being a jerk.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
...why is this not a diary entry? (3.70 / 24) (#162)
by swifty on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 12:38:29 PM EST

aw hell, had I caught this in the queue I probably would have voted it anyway for sheer entertainment value. haven't seen melodramatic indignance on that kind of scale in a long time.

I lived in berlin for a good portion of my life and have to say that I've experienced many, many iterations of what you experienced. the crassest example was when I got my hand sliced open by some kid with a butterfly knife and the bus driver, rather than calling the cops (while the kids jumped off the bus and fled), instead gleefully let my drunk friend and I off the bus so we could pursue. but that's a whole 'nother story. the whole 'bus drivers are assholes' thing is just so tired to me.

the only thing that irritated me about your write-up (besides the fact that it makes you reek of WHINY LITTLE BRAT JUICE) was that forever inappropriate and infinitely idiotic 'why, back in my day' thing. no, that bus driver does not provide you with any meaningful reason to blame 'western culture' and say it's going to hell in a handbasket. assholes are universal, and if you think they're especially prevalent in the western world then that just points to your glaring lack of travel experience. and yes, when you were in your diapers and fighting yankees away from your plantation there were assholes in the world, too. if anything there are less assholes now than there used to be. bigotry, poverty, isolatedness (my new word of the day) are all lower now than they used to be, and they're all first class reasons to be an asshole. if you think that there are more assholes today due to their role in insane bureaucracies, then maybe the proportions of the reasons for being an asshole have shifted in bureaucracies' favor, but I doubt there are more walking the earth now than ever before or somesuch nonsense.

you might want to take an old berliner's advice on this one: the best thing you could have done was grinned at her, stepped into the bus anyway, and offered her a big hug (this is all assuming a certain measure of charisma on your part, of course... uh oh). if she simply won't be won over by this friendly overture, start pretending to be mentally deranged (yes, pretending to be mentally deranged is an old berliner tactic... how many of you would live in a walled in city for most of your lives?), laugh at nothing in particular, and sit down in the back of the bus. maybe drool on yourself a little, and everything will be alright. I do hope you aren't going to bore too many people irl with this anecdote... I pity your unfortunate taxi driver.

Freiheit ist immer auch die freiheit des anderen.
Whiny Little Brat(n): someone who asks for respect (3.83 / 6) (#192)
by juju2112 on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 05:59:30 PM EST

All he wants is people to be nice to him. Don't you think that strangers are entitled to be treated with kindness? If not, I think that's sad. Are you saying that it's okay to be an asshole?

[ Parent ]
I don't think so (4.00 / 1) (#201)
by tenpo on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 08:43:48 PM EST

I think he's suggesting that assholes will find a way to be assholes always. I don't see him condoning it anywhere. I think he's got a point, really. I don't walk out the door expecting EVERYONE to be nice to me. Nor do i expect everyone to be unfriendly. As to whether more people are one or the other now (as opposed to 'then') would be difficult or impossible to quantify, seems to me.

[ Parent ]
just a thought (4.33 / 9) (#165)
by cicero on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:23:47 PM EST

you are very right about people interpretting the "spirit" of the law, rather than the "letter". with this is mind, you could always complain directly to muni, with the date/time/busnumber and a description of what transpired. It probably won't go to your hypothetical court, but believe me, the muni execs realize that they are in the service industry (especially with Willie Brown's attempts to clean the muni up in the last few years), and most likely would have a more sympathtic ear than your sadistic driver.


--
I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
I doubt it'd make a difference (2.75 / 4) (#189)
by montjoy on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 05:18:39 PM EST

They would either:

A. Say she was just following the rules. Deal with it.
or
B. They'd attempt to change things "For the better", breeding even more contempt among the busdrivers. I don't see how you could successfully implement a plan to change all of the bus drivers' attitudes. "Oh, I'm so happy and polite because they tell me I should be happy and polite." Yeah, right.

[ Parent ]

what about c? (4.60 / 5) (#195)
by cicero on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 06:14:13 PM EST

They would either:

or rather I was thinking that they might just actually put some sort of weather protection over the loading zone.


--
I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
well... (3.00 / 3) (#198)
by montjoy on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 07:24:32 PM EST

I don't think they'd do that unless if someone came up with creative way to sue them for getting wet (which may be what you were getting at in the fist place).

[ Parent ]
well, no. (3.00 / 1) (#211)
by cicero on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 11:35:32 PM EST

I'm serious about muni knowing that they are in a service industry. There are other forms of public transportation in san francisco (golden gate transit). I realize that ggt doesn't have the same coverage of san francisco as muni does, but if they saw an in, you can be sure they would take it ("offering new routes, to previously unserviced ares"...) if enough people complain, hell, if one person mentions it and they think it's a good idea, then you can be sure muni would invest the coule grand on an awning and more than make it up in pr.


--
I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
fuck the bus (4.50 / 2) (#269)
by dsturnbull on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 04:23:47 PM EST

I hate busses.
A while ago I was waiting for the bus outside my house, which was where the bus stop was.. the bus came, I moved to the side of the road to get ready and it just drove past.
On another occasion on the way home I missed my usual train and thus got a later one, so by the time I got off and went to the bus stop for the next stage of the journey it was about 5:05pm. The bus came at 5:12pm, and I got on and displayed by bus pass while walking past, but the driver stopped me and scrutinized the pass for a while, then told me it wasn't valid. It was only valid up until 5pm. I explained that I was late, and didn't have money for a ticket, and grudgingly, as if he was doing me this massive favour, he said "alright get on!"

I called the bus company after a few more pedantic bastard bus drivers pissed me off and surprisingly was met with a sympathetic ear. "Yeah I know they can be right bastards sometimes," this secretary or whatever was telling me. But I don't think anything really changed, you know.. the "fat pink one with socks pulled up to his knees" probably got told to stop being such an asshole, but I fear the "thin dark haired mustached eye-piece wearing megalomaniac" bus drivers are still at large.

Basically, fuck the bus. Use the train.

[ Parent ]
Time limited bus pass (none / 0) (#293)
by Mitheral on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 05:36:39 PM EST

It was only valid up until 5pm. I explained that I was late,

How does this work? My transit pass is good 24X7. Do you have to pay extra to get a full time pass? Is this some sort of commuter special?

[ Parent ]

Hard life makes hard people (4.42 / 21) (#167)
by zocky on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:32:14 PM EST

This is an important phenomenon in today's society, so people who claim that "you're not made of sugar" or that "personal experiences are diary material" are wrong.

She was just completely WRONG. Fuck the rules, a fellow human being asks you a simple favor which will greatly benefit them and endanger you in no way. Of course you say yes. And if you just thought "NO" then you are a sociopath.

But the guy who talked about Marxism was heading into right direction. Of course large cities, where people meet a lot of strangers, breed distrust and distrust breeds impoliteness. But the other thing is, these people are not given any slack, so why should they give you any. Nobody cares how they feel, nobody cares how they live, nobody is protecting them from utter failure. Makes good people neurotic. And they deal with it eye for eye. They don't give a fuck about you.

Now, my experience tells me that this happens more often in more purely capitalistic countries.

It does happen in UK, much less commonly in other parts of Europe. I live in Slovenia, part of former Yugoslavia. While there was socialism, the norm was being nice and polite. And in the 80's, when the political changes started, nothing changed in the way people treated each other. Only in the latter part of the 90's, when most of the welfare state had been deconstructed, people (especially in the richer regions and cities) started behaving impolitely, which is the publicly acceptable norm today.

Unfortunately there's not much any of us can do about it. As the current cycle of civilization completes its way through the decadence and barbarity prevails, there will be development again. And history shows us that it tends to go much higher than the last cycle. But I am pretty sure that it won't happen soon enough to matter to me.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?

Interesting phenomenon (4.50 / 2) (#188)
by Jel on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 05:14:09 PM EST

I live in Slovenia, part of former Yugoslavia. While there was socialism, the norm was being nice and polite. And in the 80's, when the political changes started, nothing changed in the way people treated each other. Only in the latter part of the 90's, when most of the welfare state had been deconstructed, people (especially in the richer regions and cities) started behaving impolitely, which is the publicly acceptable norm today.

That's interesting. Does anyone know if this phenomenon been documented anywhere, besides individual observations?



[ Parent ]
Yeah! Yeah! (5.00 / 1) (#246)
by Yellowbeard on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:40:19 AM EST

It's all a capitalist plot! We're taking over the world by being rude!

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
The Myth of the Golden Age (4.50 / 28) (#186)
by Sethamin on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 05:02:52 PM EST

I can't help but feel that this is just another example of romanticizing the past. I call this "The Myth of the Golden Age". Personally, I think it's human nature to do so, because it appears to happen so often in history.

The Myth goes something like this:

Woe is us. Our society used to be good. Now it is bad. Just look at (litigation/games/teen pregenancy/drug use/any other societal trait). This is a perfect example of the degeneration and downfall of our society.
The author then proceeds to list some anecdotal or narrow view of our society, neglecting to ever paint a real and complete contrast of society to the romanticized era. In this particular article one only need only look at:
I can remember reading Dilbert so many years ago when it was still fresh and new. It was a great read, because we could watch the antics of these silly PHBs and laugh at their small-minded actions. Then we started to see people who really did resemble these kinds of people, and again we laughed; this time because absurdity was beautifully ironic; life imitating art. At some point, however, the tables turned. Suddenly, in the space of a few short years, we find ourselves living in a world where the absurd is reality, and that long held standby, common sense, no longer provided a safety net. Through some twist of fate, we had become, as a culture, that which we instinctively despise.
So we are supposed to believe that things "like this" never happened before a few years ago? That all of a sudden our society has plunged into a darkly malevolent version of these things we used to satire?

This is all very hard for me to believe. Of course, I'll grant that you can't precisely present evidence for this in a K5 article, much less a book. However, I don't take issue with the problem presented here; rather, I don't like the rhetoric of "it never used to be this way, and now it is!" The reality is that it probably very much used to be this way. Perhaps it has simply gotten more noticable, but to suggest that people justifying their malicious actions behind arbitrary laws is a recent phenomenon - I find that ludicrous. Without exhausting my space here in counter-examples, can I just suggest the concept of slavery as one you should closely examine in relation to this subject?

It is very easy for humans to take shelter in this "Myth" paradigm. It gives their greivances a sort-of "doomday" feel to it and makes it more interesting. I personally feel that conservatives tend to indulge in this more than liberals (think Rush Limbaugh), but I'm sure all politicans use it to some extent. What really needs to happen, though, is for people to address the ills of society while placing them in their relevant context. It's very easy to overemphasize the importance of your gripes through contrasts to some fantasy time; it far harder to actually use reality to do so.

A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman

His myth was reality. Ask any senior :) NT (2.00 / 1) (#210)
by Shovas on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 11:21:06 PM EST


---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
I didn't say it was myth (2.00 / 1) (#212)
by Sethamin on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 11:44:11 PM EST

The myth he propogated was that "it was never like this before". I believe his account, but not the context he's putting it in.

A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
[ Parent ]

Now this, I agree with wholeheartedly (4.33 / 3) (#245)
by Yellowbeard on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:36:54 AM EST

Remember Slavery? Segregation? Holocausts? Christians being fed to Lions (Ok, maybe not such a bad idea ;) "Witch" burnings? British Imperialism (Hey, American imperialism is ok. I'm American ;)? The list goes on. Yes, people can be bastards to one another. They always have been, no doubt they will continue to be. OTOH, humans can also be really good to one another, and, frankly, things overall /appear/ to me to be improving. At least no one can own anyone else any more....

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
confusing personal memory and history (4.75 / 4) (#247)
by speek on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:54:16 AM EST

I think people often confuse their own personal history with the history of humanity as a whole. For many people, childhood was the best time of their lives. A minimum of rules, altruistic parents caring for them, other children who interacted honestly (if not always nicely) with you.

Then, you grow up, and people become hidden and manipulative. It's not clear who around you really has your interests in mind, other than you. Rules outside of your control govern nearly everything you do.

It's not hard to confuse this as a trend of society as a whole ("back when I was young, the world wasn't like this - must be a horrible trend"). The world, however, was like this, but you have changed. The world of a child is not the same as the world of an adult.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Black, White, Brown (1.40 / 5) (#200)
by bayankaran on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 08:10:39 PM EST

It can be - she was black you were white, or you were black and she was white.

Or, both of you were black or white or brown or yellow.

What else is remaining?

Bad Day at MUNI (3.75 / 8) (#203)
by sakusha on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 09:05:47 PM EST

Yeah, I know what kind of MUNI driver you're talking about. Some of them are pure plain old mean.
I remember once I went by bus to the DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park. It was pouring rain when I got out, by the time I got to the bus stop at the edge of the park, I was pretty wet. At the little shelter, I decided to light a cigarette while I waited for the bus. As the bus approached the intersection, I extinguished my smoke. When the bus came up to the stop, it did not pull in to pick me up, and did not open its doors. I walked up to the bus and tapped on the door. A young black woman was driving, she glared at me and yelled "You can't smoke on the bus!" I said "I'm NOT smoking." She said "Let me see your hands!" I held up both empty hands. She yelled (through closed bus doors, with a bus full of people, mind you) "Let me see you exhale!!" WTF? I blew heavily, exaggerating the motion with puffed out cheeks. I thought I'd comply with this idiot's requests, I just wanted to get home and out of the rain. But then she astonished me yet again, yelling "Now exhale AGAIN!" I did the same puffed-cheek motions, and then the bus doors opened.
As I put my money in the till, the bus driver screeched right at me, "you can't smoke on the bus!" I said "I'm NOT smoking on the bus, everyone knows you can't smoke on the bus." Apparently this driver thinks that smokERS shouldn't be allowed on the bus. As I sat on the bus riding home, I saw a public notice of a city government meeting. Fully half the notice was taken up by a statement about how attendees should not wear perfumes or other fragrances, in compliance with new city policies about accommodating fragrance-intolerancy handicaps.

Humanity: The good, the bad and the ugly. (3.85 / 7) (#204)
by Nuup on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 10:12:44 PM EST

I bet you feel a lot better after posting your frustrations here, there's no better cure to these type of incidents than rationally expressing yourself before your peers. Anyway, the author brings up some interesting perspectives and ideas about humanity, some have their merit and are quite thought provoking.

Though I must say these problems supercede arising in modern culture, they are and have been embedded in the minds of man since his socialization began. It's a mixture of basic human programming and environmental based influences which cause people to 'lose rationality' in our eyes, everyone of us has the potential to truly act as the said buss driver did. The most important aspect to remember when dealing with people like this is that in their minds they are acting within complete rationality and using common sense, they see nothing wrong with their actions. It is all a matter of perspective, which in itself is highly subjective.

A few people have stated these actions are not occurring more often, to this I disagree with. As I said above what causes people to act in such a way is a mixture of instinctual programming and environmental/cultural influences. Since the industrial boom and the rapid advancement of technology humans are focusing more and more in to cities, tightly compact with hurrying speed. Being constantly exposed and saturated in this environment leads people to resent and even abhor one another, they have no reason to care for people outside of their social group, which in return causes others to feel the same way when attempting interaction, and so on and so forth. You will not see nearly as much of this type of irrationality in a small community (Percentage based, not amount of incidents,) of course it's always inevitable as it's somewhat instinctual, but there's less environmental influences to push people to act in such a way.

Many humans living in large cities are becoming more and more irrational, inattentive and frustrated with their daily lives as technology pushes them to be productive within society's rules. Interestingly the environmental roots start at a very early age and become programmed in to a person's mindset. Our education system doesn't teach kids to think with logic, whit and intelligence, instead it forces them to remember facts and equations. Many students aren't as interested in learning as they are in graduating to move on to the next phase of their life. This sets at a early age people dependent on rules and ideas which they do not question but only remember, it's a terrible way to educate people but it's what America's economy depends on. Here's a interesting fact for you, for a sociology paper I researched in to the capability of thought in modern humans. My studies found that nearly 1/3 of modern US citizens are *NOT* capable of abstract thought.

"Bill, what would happen if you were forced to go to war?"

1/3 cannot hypothetically answer that question, instead their responses tend to be "What a stupid question, I'm not in a war." These people cannot think past the physical boundaries that exists before them, their minds are never challenged to develop to this stage. It's generally predominate in worker class children and parents who shun critical and logical thinking. (Perhaps this is why the buss driver wouldn't bend the rules?)

So in conclusion to the author above, I can empathize, modern humanity is progressively becoming more and more irrational and frankly stupid. They are dependant on doing what they're told and working within rules, this is fault of our society and education system for exploiting the human potential to act in such a way. It's almost impossible to rationally talk these situations out with the said people as they are simply not capable of doing it. I've found the best way to relate to them when necessary is on their level, for they are not bad people, they are only socialized differently than yourself and many of the posters on this thread.

Take it easy amigos,

Nuup


-------------------------------------------------
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage?
Who writes them...? (5.00 / 1) (#234)
by katie on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:09:22 AM EST

The rules, I mean, who writes the rules?

I spend a lot of time working for companies with dumb internal rules. And yet no-one will own up to owning those rules, to having written them or decided on them. There's no-one to appeal to to have them changed for "better" rules...



[ Parent ]
Out of Curiousity (5.00 / 1) (#244)
by Yellowbeard on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:31:06 AM EST

What do you study?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Studies/Research - Also Hypothetical thoughts... (none / 0) (#276)
by Nuup on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 08:46:23 PM EST

In a word my interests are people, both through real experience and scholastic research. My higher educational focuses have been sociology, psychology, and philosophy. My primary goal in studying people is what makes them who they are, how they're socialized to behave in such away, etc.. My current studies are on the socialization of religion - for example: if a hard core Christian was raised in a environment that praised their "satan" and shunned their god, they would have religious beliefs opposite of what they hold now. Faith is a part of socialization and environment when being raised.

If you're interested in the abstract thought study I brought up in my previous post. It's a part of what's known as Cognitive Development which the biological aspect of was discovered and brought to light by Jean Piaget. The cognitive structure is simply the operations and rules that humans use to govern their reasoning. There are four stages of this structure, each developing at a specific age in humans. The last to develop occurs around the age of 12, it dictates abstract thought and hypothetical reasoning. When deprived of creative stimulus, the mind physically will not develop to this stage. This is why it's very common in worker class children and parents, many raise their children to shun creativity and focus on doing what they're told and operating similar to a machine.

I hope this answers your questions. If you're interested in the numbers behind the amount of people unable to use abstract reasoning in America, let me know. I would be glad to share those.

Peace


-------------------------------------------------
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war, for a lead roll in a cage?
[ Parent ]
Check out my Bio (5.00 / 1) (#288)
by Yellowbeard on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 12:01:20 PM EST

Maybe we're the same person. I bet we could have some interesting conversations. I have seen some of the rational thought stuff. It's... bizarre. And, as to the "If a Christian were raised a satanist," stuff - well, that's exactly what Anthropology is all about. I told my freshman Anthropology class that they have to realize that the beliefs of those of other cultures are held /just/ as strongly as any WASP.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Living in Eastern Europe (4.43 / 23) (#205)
by Gutza on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 10:15:29 PM EST

I live in Romania. Travelled to Paris, London, Madrid, Lisbon, Vienna, Prague and the Turkish coast.

I noticed the following - make what you wish of the facts I'm stating here:

  • Romanians generally don't follow rules. But the trick is that in order not to follow rules, you have to be able to somehow intimidate or trick the other person rather than ask politely for a logical request. I think you (yes, with your profile and your situation) would've had about 75%-85% chances to get on that bus in Romania. Mind you, that's in a country where rules are generally not followed;
  • The French tend to be quite the way you'd like your bus driver to be. You can cross the street on a red light on a deserted street even if a policeman is there. Even if a car suddenly appears and you're in the middle of the street on a red light, they just slow down and wait patiently for you to cross the street. But I did get exactly the same treatment at a bus stop in Paris in mild rain - I must say however that I was with my wife and we both were dressed appropriate for the weather - it had been raining the whole day;
  • The Austrians tend to be more like your bus driver than anything else - those are the rules for everybody, follow them!
  • In Spain and much more so in Portugal, you can do whatever you want - the driver would've probably done what you expected the driver in your story to do, but not in the French way - or, from what I gather, in the way you wanted it to happen - i.e. "ok, I'll do you this favor because it's raining", but more because "yeah, dude, sure, why not? Who gives a fuck where the bus stop is - you're here, I'm here, hop up!"
  • Turkey's the only place where I haven't been to a big city - so they naturally were more loose than they probably are in big cities;
  • In London I really can't tell - but they do have a nice, honest way of treating people. My bet would be more on the attitude you expected, but that's not a very well formed opinion;
  • In Prague I guess they would've let you on the bus, but I visited Prague quite a long time ago, so it may well be that my memories are either outdated or too faded to serve the purpose. I must say however that I left Prague with a very good impression of the people and I plan to visit again as soon as possible.
  • What I was trying to do here is show you that capitalist or not, various peoples deal in various ways with this kind of issue. I'm obviously speaking 1. of my own impressions and 2. as general traits I've seen - there most probably are both bastard drivers in Paris and nice drivers in Vienna.

    My general impression of all the US culture I've absorbed via Internet and movies (never been there) is that Europe does a good job by being more socialist than the US. This, IMHO, albeit creating a certain amount of economic inefficiency better preserves the human spirit by not sucking people into The Machine with such a force the US system does.

    Obviously, just my 2c - if you live in any of the cities/countries listed above and find my description inaccurate, let me reiterate: these were my feelings at the time, and since the way we see this whole thing is obviously subjective (as seen from the comments before mine), my opinion is as good as anybody else's.

    Who's your vendor, who's your vendor? — Scott Adams
    time is K5

    Oh, London is just as bad... (4.33 / 3) (#242)
    by rleyton on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:18:49 AM EST

    In London I really can't tell - but they do have a nice, honest way of treating people. My bet would be more on the attitude you expected, but that's not a very well formed opinion

    The article reminded me of London a fair bit. Perhaps "we" are not universally quite as bad as the article, but at times it can be much worse.

    I'm referring to taxi drivers and bus drivers here. Black cabbies - a wonderful institution on the whole - but annoying on too many occasions. Ask to go "South of the River", and they'll refuse ("I'm not going that way"). I find I'm asking cabbies if it's "ok" to go somewhere. They're obliged to take you if they're available, within a six mile radius of central London. The unwritten rule though is "if they're going that way".

    On the contrary, I once had my mobile phone stolen. Dashing back to the office to cancel it before it had hundreds of pounds of calls racked up on it, the Cabbie offered me the use of his mobile phone.

    Red Buses. If there's a conductor, they're usually nice to tourists - For example, they'll call out "Marble Arch" if a passenger is clearly unsure where they are, and where they're going. But without a conductor, the drivers can be rude and uncaring. I read an article in The Independent a while back (I couldn't find the article on their website though :-( ) - that described a "disabled" journalists experience with London Transport (He was using the Wheelchair for a week to write about his experience). NEW Buses fitted with ramps, for wheelchair bound passengers sounds great, but drivers would respond "The ramps out of order" so many times to the journalist, it was clear they cared little.

    Ok, so these are some of my experiences having lived in London for about six years. It's clearly a mixed bag. At times I find I love the place. But more and more it's not a particularly friendly place, and reflects much of what I read in the above article

    --
    Ooooooooooooooh! What does this button do!? - DeeDee, Dexters Lab.
    My Website
    [ Parent ]

    What do you expect? (2.00 / 8) (#208)
    by jazman_777 on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 10:53:09 PM EST

    You're mingling with the Proles. That's what our fine Government school system has done: turned the masses into stupid Proles.

    Just seething with class struggle. (2.96 / 32) (#209)
    by Demiurge on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 11:06:59 PM EST

    Also, you whine too goddamn much.

    So you're going home to your Tivo, with your expensive laptop in a leather bag. The urbane, sophisticated, well-off white collar tech worker.

    And all of a sudden, this subhuman bus driver refuses to break the rules for you! How dare she! After all, she cleans up vomit and drives a bus, a witless prole no doubt, while you're a gentleman! Why else would she not bow to the will of her better?

    I suppose having her risk legal trouble and the loss of her job is more important that having to run 15 fucking feet and get a little damp. After all, she's just proletarian, blue-collar, working class scum, while you're a member of a digerati.

    Hmmm... (4.66 / 3) (#213)
    by elenchos on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 01:16:37 AM EST

    Wish I'd said something like that.

    Adequacy.org,
    [ Parent ]

    Well, (1.00 / 1) (#216)
    by Demiurge on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:36:17 AM EST

    While I did see merit in a post espousing similiar opinions, I'm not going as far as to agree with elenchos, even if he's not completely wrong this time.

    [ Parent ]
    So... (4.66 / 3) (#255)
    by Mr Fred Smoothie on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 01:37:03 PM EST

    You believe the bus driver's reaction would have been different had he been carrying a non-descript lunchpail? And that she somehow magically knew he was going home to his Tivo, and not a huge stack of bills and 5 screaming kids?

    [ Parent ]
    Standards are for everyone... (4.75 / 4) (#262)
    by chelicia on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:32:25 PM EST

    Why is it that being a blue collar worker automatically exempts one from the rules of courtesy? I'd be just as offended by a lack of courtesy from a worker of *any* class.

    [ Parent ]
    Let's get a few things straight (3.40 / 5) (#277)
    by Cantara on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:20:38 PM EST

    Shall we?

    So you're going home to your Tivo, with your expensive laptop in a leather bag. The urbane, sophisticated, well-off white collar tech worker.

    And what exactly is your point in that statement?

    And all of a sudden, this subhuman bus driver refuses to break the rules for you! How dare she! After all, she cleans up vomit and drives a bus, a witless prole no doubt, while you're a gentleman! Why else would she not bow to the will of her better?

    Where exactly did anyone other than you imply that the bus driver was subhuman? I think the quote that you are looking for starts as "Danger that *we* are slowly becoming subhuman:" and points to society as a whole.

    And it is you and no other that calls the driver a "witless prole". It seems like had it not been for your insight we would not have known that the author was denigrating her. We would have been misled without your astute knowledge that he is a "gentleman".

    My lord how dare this wet "gentleman" ask for a courtesy?

    I suppose having her risk legal trouble and the loss of her job is more important that having to run 15 fucking feet and get a little damp. After all, she's just proletarian, blue-collar, working class scum, while you're a member of a digerati.

    Let me suppose briefly.

    I suppose that you have first hand knowledge of the legal troubles that a bus driver will encounter by letting a passenger embark in a passenger disembark area?

    I suppose that you know the P&P (Policy and Procedure) of MUNI employees?

    Or do you really have that insight?

    [ Parent ]
    Blame Canada (2.33 / 6) (#221)
    by chunder on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 04:41:55 AM EST

    I know it's annoying that Canadians are always bringing this up, but...

    Up north this kind of behavior is much less common. People seem to care a bit more about helping each other out. For example, you call a store asking for Brand XYZ household widget... "Sorry, we don't sell Brand XYZ, but (our competitor) Foozco does. Here, let me get their number for you..."

    When my American friends visit Canada, they invariably notice the difference as well. I only noticed it after I had lived in America for a few years.



    Scandinavia too (4.00 / 1) (#226)
    by NoNeeeed on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:39:01 AM EST

    I'm from Britain and we are increasingly becomming like the states. No-one has any ability to makle decisions. I commute by train from Swindon to Bath (hi to anyone else out there who has to put up with 'First' Great Western), and regularly certain members of staff will just cause problems because they will not use their common sense to help people. They 'obey the rule', they are 'jobs-worths' ("Its more than my jobs worth mate"). Not all of them but some, and it is getting worse.

    I went to Norway for a holiday last summer and a business trip to Sweden just before chistmas and I was stunned at the diffeerence. People were just nice to each other. They were polite, curtious and helpfull. Not just staff, but everyone. I was in Norway for three weeks and probably only met about two people who wern't openly warm and friendly. Not in the over the top way Americans can be, but quitely, and sincerly. They disn't make a big thing about how they loved meeting you, they were just nice.

    Americans are always going on about the quality of their customer services, but its all hollow! it is meaningless. Does anyone really think that the minimum wager in McDonalds means it when he says "Have a nice day"? Of course not.

    People are becomming more and more, just parts of the system. Companies go on about 'empowerment' but they don't mean it. You don't empower staff by creating a policy, but by removing rules, and allowing them to make decisions.

    The sad thing is that the UK is becomming more like the US every day and I don't like it. If I ever get the opportunity to move to Scandinavia, or perhaps other parts of europe I would jump at the chance (any Norwegians hiring Software Engineers? :-) ). This country is following the US down a big toilet and I want out.

    Paul

    [ Parent ]
    Yet again (4.50 / 2) (#243)
    by Yellowbeard on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:23:41 AM EST

    I will say: Your concept of "America" is absurd. It's like me saying "Britain" and lumping everything: Scotland, Wales, North, South, together and assuming that everything was the same no matter where you lived. That's just patently untrue. In my experience, the northern Brits were much friendlier than, say, Londoners. If you came to the south, you would find out that people /really/ are friendly like that.

    The reason Wal-Mart has the policies that it does is because it's a southern chain (it's home office is about 20 minutes from where I sit in the poorest state in the Union) where "the customer is always right" is not just a good idea, it's Policy. That policy, however, comes out of the friendly attitudes to be found in the southern U.S. We still wave to strangers on the highway around here. The Policy only became "hollow" as you call it, when the stoes expanded to areas where there is no common courtesy. Frankly, I have had some of the worst customer service that I have ever experienced in England (note that I specifically did not say "Britain - Scots are, as far as I can tell, invariably nice). No, I would not have rather had a facade on top of it, but you people can be somewhat dour.


    "Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


    [ Parent ]
    Agreed (4.00 / 2) (#284)
    by NoNeeeed on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 05:16:44 AM EST

    Well you are right there about the regions being different. But it isn't as simple as north-south, scottish/english. I have lived in the south round London, Yorkshire, and am now in the south-west (Bath/Bristol area if you know it). Of these, the place i felt most at home was Yorkshire. The people were friendlier and more welcoming than anywhere else.

    What it ultimatly comes down to though is not so much the region, as the individual place. For example I have never felt comfortable in Manchester, but I would love to live in Newcastle. Likewise in Scotland and Wales it really depends on where you are. Although I did find your description of the English as dour funny (that is how we describe the Scots), and for some parts of the country I would have to agree with you (we can be miserable buggers at times) but not all, and the scots are all different, go out into the countryside and they are very different from their urban cousens in Edinborugh and Glasgow.

    On the whole my experiance has been that how nice people are to each other seems to depend on simple things like their self esteem. People in jobs that are worthwhle (or in jobs at all) where they feel they are achieving something or are appreciated seem much happier. Actually I think that is too specific, I think it is more that people feel there is a point to their existance, be it work or something els, friends etc.

    Too many people are fundamentally unhappy because they don't have anything meaningfull in their lives, they just go from day to day, doing their sh*t job, earning their money, but not feeling like there is much point to life. So many people now are just part of the machine and don't fell worth anything. I think a significant part of this is the increasing urbanisation of our society (especially in the UK where 56m people share an island half the size of texas). Hence why Scandinavia seemed to nice. People wern't thrust into each other way, there was space to breath. personally I don't beleive that people are urban by nature, I'm certainly not, the day I can get a job where I teli-commute, I'm buying a cottage out in the country.

    I hadn't really thought that much about how our perceptions of other countries can be so narrow. Over here we get a very strange vision of the US that I am sure is very different from the real thing. I suppose that when most people think of america we think of NY and LA and the other large cities. Mabey we all need to travel more, and then the world might be a nicer place. But travel properly, not just to the tourist spots and the cities, but to see the real countries.

    On that subject, where would you recommend a traveler goes in the southern USA, I've always thought it looked much nicer that going to NY or LA like everyone else seems to.

    Paul

    P.s. Sorry for tarring you all with the same brush.

    [ Parent ]
    No problem (4.50 / 2) (#287)
    by Yellowbeard on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 11:56:33 AM EST

    Making categorizations is all part of being human. Stereotypes do not invent themselves, and it is something we all do. Before I came to England, I thought everyone British would be just like Four Weddings and a Funeral - that's the only real perception we get of England, here. Everything posh. I thought I was going to be immune to culture shock because I am an Anthropologist. Man was I wrong. I was so surprised (and later, heart warmed) that there are rednecks in England. There are rednecks everywhere. But somehow I have come to think that rednecks have a sort of salt of the earth quality that makes them definitely worth as much, and in some cases worth more than intellectuals. That wasn't meant to sound elitist - I grew up in a southern town of 3,000 people. I own cowboy boots.

    I overgeneralized too, mainly because I am lazy and didn't want to type as much as I should have. Actually, I found the Brits (and this time I mean all of them) to be great. I was so homesick the year I was in England (but I was in Essex, so you can understand, I'm sure ;). Now, I wish so badly that I could get back there. However it is nearly impossible to move to your country without a job offer, and I just haven't had any luck.

    There's a great scene in <u>Coming to America</u> where Eddie Murphy and Aresenio Hall are talking about how big American is and the many places they could go. "So where should we pick? Los Angeles or New York?"

    The truth is, America is so diverse it's hard to categorize - just like anywhere else. If you were going to come to the south... Hmmm. Even the south has so many different areas. Of course, I like Arknasas. We are the place that shows like The Beverly Hillbillys are based on. However, there is not a lot to do here if you don't like to hunt, drive 4X4s, camp, fish, backpack, canoe, kyak, smoke pot (it is one of our number 1 cash crops), or do other outdoor type activities. Our State motto is "The Natural State."

    Texas is not really part of the south, but part of the southwest. However, people are very friendly there also. There are big cities like Houston and Dalls, and from what I hear, they are pretty fun. I haven't been to either. Really, there is a part of the south for any desire. I would need to know more about what you like to advise. However, if you ever head this way, let me know and I'll try to give something more practical. One piece of advice: The south is very hot and humid in the summer, and I mean 100 degrees and 95% humidity, so, unless you like that kind of weather, come during the spring or fall. Winters are mild, but spring and fall are the best, IMO.


    "Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


    [ Parent ]
    hey, it happens (4.66 / 3) (#227)
    by fugufish on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:55:51 AM EST

    my father is a pipefitter for the school board, which means he fixes the heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems. he was at a parts store to get a part, and when the store clerk told my father that they didn't have the part, my father asked for the phone book, so he could look up another place to buy the part.

    the clerk refused.

    No, he said, I will not HELP you take your money elsewhere.

    So my dad called the owner of the store, and guess who got in shit?

    That's how it should work. No store makes a good impression by refusing to help someone in as simple a situation as that. Particularly here, my father HAD to fix the school, and it was not for his personal gain, but rather for a bunch of children. The clerk knew that, he must have, he can read the uniform, and most likely sees many such technicians on a regular basis. What kind of idiot does this?

    just my rant :)

    [ Parent ]
    This would never happen down South. (4.50 / 2) (#239)
    by Yellowbeard on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:13:02 AM EST

    Unless, of course, the rider was black. I know - it sucks, but it's true.

    However, this seems to be a problem more with California than anywhere else. There is this weird phenomenon going on where Californians, having flooded out to the west 150 years ago, are now flooding back to the rest of the US. I have met several who, on going to a grocery store in Arkansas, were totally amazed, if not appalled, that the grocery store clerk spoke to them. "They just started chatting! And it was as if they were actually interested in what I had to say! I couldn't believe it."

    This would never have happened anywhere south of the Mason Dixon line. Hell, I doubt it would have happened anywhere else in the U.S., but that's a bit out of my realm of knowledge. So it's not the entire U.S. that is at fault.


    "Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


    [ Parent ]
    Common courtesy, decency, etc. (2.66 / 3) (#222)
    by tincat2 on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 05:55:58 AM EST

    Don't expect to add much here, but was so pleased to see this sort of occurence becoming, I hope, a part of more and more people's lives. Many comments are at least in part right on, though a lot of them seem to feel that this is about a bus driver and a rainy night. Then they go on to a reasoned and time consuming dissection of the personalities and circumstances of the participants leading, I guess, to a satisfying feeling of understanding which precludes the necessity for any further action beyond a shrug and a return to productivity in society as it exists here. Were I the father of one of those girls immolated in the school in Saudi Arabia, though being most likely a Muslim, I believe I would find strict adherence to a dress code not to be exculpatory in the trashing of respect for life. And that is what this is about, the trashing of human(read intelligent sentient,self-aware, etc.)life and the inherent dignity of man-woman as human for the sake of the attainment and maintainence of a social machine the purpose of which seems to be the elevation of the few to the status of got it all. So, yes, this is good news, because it will only be when enough straws have broken enough camels' backs that the probabilities of the quantum dynamic will collapse to a new and, again I hope, more humane set of imperatives.

    spellcheck (none / 0) (#283)
    by tincat2 on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 03:12:46 AM EST

    maintainence is maintenance, sorry-tincat2

    [ Parent ]
    The world is full of.... (3.00 / 6) (#224)
    by S1ack3rThanThou on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:14:30 AM EST

    Reminds of an incident I experienced standing at a bar. Now usually I am reasonably eloquent however it incensed me so much that all I could say when I returned to my friends was "The world will collapse under the weight of its own................ wankers".

    Just seems that common decency or any sense of common sense has left most of the world. Damn.
    "Remember what the dormouse said, feed your head..."

    Well come on then tell us (none / 0) (#289)
    by RandomAction on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 12:27:38 PM EST

    the incident, I want to know now!

    [ Parent ]
    public transport (3.10 / 10) (#225)
    by gregholmes on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:29:05 AM EST

    Have you considered that this is public transport?

    I mean, I know this is k5 and all, so public transport can do no wrong. But think about it - her job didn't depend in the slightest on your satisfaction. In fact, her job is easier if no one rides at all. Taxpayers will go on paying.

    I could be wrong, but I suspect a taxi driver might have pulled right up to you (or bent the rules, if any, at an airport or hotel, about where to do pickups).



    i think the point has been missed (4.80 / 5) (#231)
    by tenpo on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 09:08:59 AM EST

    I'm not a mind reader, but from reading the article I'm guessing that the author isn't looking for comments on how to get home more comfortably from work on wet nights. I think it's more about the phenomenon of people living within a community obeying the letter rather than the spirit of law. It could have been made more clear, true, and the bus driver anecdote is being heatedly discussed in all the comments. It seems the broader meaning that might have been analysed has been lost due to our obsession for minutia. That might be irony...

    [ Parent ]
    nope (4.00 / 1) (#272)
    by gregholmes on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 05:01:33 PM EST

    The details do matter. If her behavior was understandable, or even just obnoxious (hardly "sub-human") it doesn't support his rant.

    It doesn't "miss the point" to discuss, question, or refute the details of his story. In particular, he blames "capitalism" for his plight. Er, subsidized, government run transportation ain't capitalism.



    [ Parent ]
    Therein Lies the Point (4.66 / 3) (#261)
    by virg on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:23:04 PM EST

    I think you've found the issue, albeit in a roundabout way. You're right in saying that his satisfaction doesn't affect her job at all. But that goes both ways. If it didn't matter to her job whether she was nice or mean, why did she choose mean? In other words, if it doesn't hurt her to make him wait, why would it hurt to let him get on?

    From there, it's easy to proceed to the analysis as to why so many people mistreat others when there's no benefit to being a jerk.

    Virg
    "Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
    [ Parent ]
    How piquant... (2.07 / 14) (#229)
    by erp6502 on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 08:36:29 AM EST

    Bravo! Bra-vo, I say! Too rarely do the petite bourgeoisie denounce this new phenomenon that one might call the tragedy of the commons. Never before in history have the vulgar classes gleaned so much power through vindictive and spiteful interpretation of the laws that bind them to us.

    I sleep more soundly now, secure in dreams of vigilant anarcho-romantics fopping about the troubled byways of our public transit system, bravely rewarding the Commoners' dim, atavistic comprehension of caste through these oh-so-poignant encounters. Those fallen creatures, products of some guttergene's original sin, must earn such petty pleasures in reinforcement of their station. It is our duty, noblesse oblige, to provide such perverse rewards to keep them in their place.

    Brother, truly I commend you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the very depths of my ever-bleeding heart. I hope we can count on your martyrdom in this Great Cause.

    So? (1.90 / 11) (#237)
    by chiller on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:39:28 AM EST

    Some people are bastards. Deal with it.

    Maybe this will help... (1.50 / 8) (#238)
    by Lenny on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:58:05 AM EST

    awww...come here, let me give you a hug... *SMACK*


    "Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
    -Me
    She just wasn't motivated enough... (2.75 / 8) (#241)
    by edpowers on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:18:46 AM EST

    Maybe if you waved some dead presidents at her she would have let you on. Better yet install 802.11b based paypal tip jars on every bus and maybe service will be better and humanity won't collapse!

    logical progression (4.14 / 7) (#248)
    by dakoda on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 12:12:03 PM EST

    "...but at what point do capitalist enterprises cross the line from happy competition and blind slavering greed?"
    ultimatly, i think 'blind slavering greed' is the goal of capitalism. Not that i am pro-communist or pro-socialist or anything, but thats how it plays out.

    capitalism is run by humans. yet it strives for inhuman goals: maximum efficiency and maximum profit. logically, one gets more profit by being more efficient (in general).

    humans, however, are generally not terribly efficient. we need breaks, sleep, food, and sometimes these silly emotions just make us useless for days at a time. Machines, on the other hand, are quite a bit more so (at least efficient at making stuff, not necessarilly at being energy efficient etc). From my observations, it is quite common to see people grow into machines. my father is one of them.

    you start out being all conscious, having a free will, and all that fun stuff, but day after day of the same old thing slowly eats that from you. additionally, productivity is quantified in the form of a paycheck. the human mind is very quick to notice that "Bigger is Better" (tm) [whether it really is or not is another story], and adapts to get the biggest check from the smallest effort, which eventually results in turning your brain off completely. why leave it on, it's only a distraction from making more money (to buy more happyness).

    she may have also been abusing what little power she could over someone else. this is common as well, as we have this persistent pecking order that we learn to love from birth, through school, and onward. yet we are never once taught to 1) think 2) feel or 3) be conscious. "just do your work, shut up and listen, and things will be ok" is the theme.

    It's all a logical progression, in a sick, statistical way only because humans aren't designed to fit into the equation.

    interesting (4.50 / 2) (#275)
    by tenpo on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 08:31:39 PM EST

    I have a friend who drives a taxi in the city. Obviously he gets a good chance to observe a lot of people every day that he's at work. I was talking with him one time about working in an office and how it was getting me down. He had this to say.

    When sitting in an office, in front of a computer all day long people are drained of their motivation, their impulses. They become blank and witless things. He said it's quite common for a business man to flag him down, get in and sit down.. and then just sit there staring at him. And he sits there for a few seconds before saying "Where to, mate?". He said it's almost like they can't do anything without a prompt for input. I thought it was funny until i saw it happen the other day. Now i just think it's disturbing.



    [ Parent ]
    Not her fault it was raining. (2.75 / 12) (#250)
    by Phillip Asheo on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 12:47:55 PM EST

    Take a bit of responsibility. Buy a coat or something.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long

    Sounds like that movie with Bill Murray (1.50 / 6) (#252)
    by Phillip Asheo on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 12:58:59 PM EST

    Where he is a bank robber disguised as a clown. I seem to remember he had a bit of 'bus trouble' of a similar nature.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long

    Human nature, community (3.71 / 7) (#253)
    by Mr Fred Smoothie on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 01:29:04 PM EST

    You speak of capitalism's transition from "happy competition [to] blind, slavering greed", and the bus driver's "sadism". It seems to me that you've identified two spheres where morals have "deteriorated"; the personal and the corporate.

    I believe that the "capitalist excesses" and the daily personal selfishness we're seeing are really due to one thing: the dissolution of communities.

    When you think about it, there has never been any "moral" aspect to capitalism in theory. Capitalist philosophy states that we're all rational actors making choices in our own self interest and that the market's self-correcting mechanisms overall work to maximize the benefit across an optimal number of participants in the system. Capitalism is like nature: amoral (not immoral). It promotes and exploits competition, happy or otherwise.

    The problem w/ humans is we're not always rational, and the problem w/ capitalism is it assumes a relative equity in bargaining power.

    In previous times, people were connected enough to their communities and the people in them to mediate their own *immoral* behavior (not addressed by the system which sees the actions w/out a moral context). This was the source of this putative "happy competition" of which you speak. People were relunctant to ruthlessly crush their neighbor, not because of the rational response of the market to those actions, but precisely for the irrational -- their care for their neighbor or their fear of censure by others in the community (i.e., not "people won't do business w/ me", but "people won't talk to me on the street or come to my parties"). But now we are much less connected to our communities, and as a result, we're disinclined to mediate our own immoral behavior and it manifests as the macro- and micro-level social phenomena you've described.

    Two quick illustrations: a couple of years ago I got a ticket in a town I commuted to to work. I made an illegal left hand turn at a red light. Yes, it was against the law, but due to the vast # of other drivers who'd (illegally) entered this and adjacent intersections even though they couldn't make it through, the intersection was completely blocked *through several light cycles*. Realizing I the only one in a position to progress through the intersection, I went. Penalizing me for this seemed irrational. However, doing something just as illegal and without any rational justification in my *own* town, a cop let me off w/ a warning saying "well, you're a Borough resident, so...". It was the sense of community which completely made the difference.

    Re: Human nature, community (none / 0) (#274)
    by glenn1you0 on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:05:23 PM EST

    I've seen the effect of belonging to the community as well. When my wife and moved to a small south-east town ( the locals call it a city ), we found that we were stopped by the police about twice a month for speeding, improper stops, etc. Generally we were given a warning, perhaps an actual citation, but not always. This stopped we when had local license plates put on our vehicles. Further, when I bought a truck, neighbors who hadn't ever spoken to me, stopped to talk. One even gave me free tokens for the local car wash. In the end I put the logo of the local university on my truck, and it seems I can bend all manner of transportation laws. I guess its human nature to not accept outsiders ( that's why they call them outsiders, right? ), but the quicker you recognize it and at least superficially blend in, the better. When in Rome... I guess the bottom line is that community counts. But should it?

    [ Parent ]
    morals in capitalism (none / 0) (#301)
    by kubalaa on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:14:15 AM EST

    I think it's more accurate to say that capitalism leaves morals where they belong; in the hands of the people. It defines meta-rules, not rules. If people don't like the rules a company plays by, they can go somewhere else.

    Capitalism in practice, then, is no more amoral than the society it's embedded in. Though one might note that it provides more opportunity for removing the application of morals at the personal level, where people tend to care, to an abstract societal level, where people don't give a shit. Sort of a tragedy of the commons for morals.

    [ Parent ]

    "We have met the enemy .... (3.21 / 14) (#264)
    by HypoLuxa on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:40:04 PM EST

    ... and they is us." -- Walt Kelly

    This article does do a good bit to illustrate one of the major failings of American society (I'm not well travelled enough to claim anything as grand as "Western" society). Unfortunately, it's you.

    You knew that it was raining. You knew the bus stops in different places for loading and unloading. You knew that the stop that you would have to wait at was exposed to the rain. You knew the exact procedure the bus driver would use to get people off the bus and get other people on. Yet knowing all of this, you did absolutely nothing except show up and ask for special treatment.

    You have made absolutely no allowance for anyone's needs other than your own. Knowing everything you did, you could have done a hundred things to change the situation. Get an umbrella, a plastic bag for your lappy, take a cab, wait out the storm, or some minor effort on your part. Instead you made absolutely no adjustement to your daily routine when it was clearly needed. And then when the harsh fact that other people aren't necessarily going to change their patterns (or disregard their rules) in order to meet your needs, you come here with moral indignation over the fact that you weren't catered to.

    You were shortsighted and selfish, that's the true problem here.

    --
    I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
    - Leonard Cohen

    He made a mistake (4.33 / 3) (#282)
    by xtremex on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 01:03:59 AM EST

    So, he made a mistake. Didnt HAVE an umbrella, or a bag for his laptop. So he asked the woman if he could get in. You sound like the bus driver. Like the Soup Nazi. Won't bend a rule for shit.

    [ Parent ]
    Dumbness, common sense........ (2.83 / 6) (#266)
    by stpna5 on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 02:59:19 PM EST

    It is probably a very minor little horror story in the litany of 'Tales from the Commute' but I'd bet you'll find the longer the daily travel distance and the larger the city the more horrible and extreme others' experiences will have been, at least according to their perception. If mass transit had not been virtually eliminated the past half-century in most American cities in favor of the automobile and the freeway system this experience would not be so different than that of most working folk. I would venture that those who can afford a laptop but also take mass transit to commute have to transit areas and groups where it would not be wise to advertise that you have a laptop in your possession. I'm not a self-help book gadfly but years ago Dr. Wayne Dyer identified the behavior of the driver as the "clerk is a jerk" syndrome. If you start traveling far beyond the distance of your local daily commute you will be amazed at the exponential increase in the level of idiocy, rudeness, mean, petty, vulgar, crass, incompetent people and such behavior in your life. They're called humans. A highly oversold species. You want to avoid that stuff, stay home.

    I can tell you aren't from the Bay Area (4.50 / 2) (#279)
    by pietra on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:39:00 PM EST

    Despite never being on time, composed of rickety and constantly crumbling infrastructure, and staffed by people generally even nastier than the woman cited here, MUNI is the mode of transportation o' choice in SF. Easily one-quarter of MUNI riders have laptops with them at any given time; if they live in SF, they can afford either a car (which they then cannot park anywhere) or a laptop after paying rent. BART's even more extreme in terms of the higher-income-bracket; it's expensive enough (particularly from the outlying areas) that most of its riders are middle-to-upper-middle-class. Plenty of relatively well-off people take public transportation in the Bay; in many cases, it is the only sane way to get around.

    [ Parent ]
    nope, you certainly can........ (none / 0) (#307)
    by stpna5 on Sat Mar 23, 2002 at 10:33:48 PM EST

    I'm not, nor do I live there; but I know the city enough to have ridden public transport there many times over many years. And, yes, I'm aware of the expense of living there. Lived in NYC and elsewhere before, myself. About all I mean is that in thirty other states I can tell you from personal experience that there are places from the Bronx to Biloxi where you ride public transport and in certain zones at certain hours EVERY DAY you are cautious about having anything of demonstrable value on your person that could be quickly removed and provide some ne'er do well mugger with a quick heist item. (Carrying a musical instrument case in these situations can be real charming.) I've also been on public transport in a few dangerous places overseas.(Serious crumbling infrastructure. However nobody seems that scary compared to inner city USA where I come from.)Travel safely.

    [ Parent ]
    Interesting (4.35 / 17) (#267)
    by JahToasted on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 03:04:38 PM EST

    I came late, so no one will read this post, but anyways...

    Alot of people are saying things like "sucks to be you. get over it. that's life in the city. etc." These people completely missed the point of the article. These people are the same as the bus driver. They just don't get it.

    A great many people are saying that this isn't new, which although cynical, is probably close to the truth. The problem with this point of view is that it legitimizes the idea that "rules are more important than people." This is the way its always been so what are you gonna do? Like the tech support guy a couple of weeks ago (I can't be bothered to look it up) who tried to tell his boss that there was a major bug in the system (it was some big ISP I think). He lost his job. What would have happened if the religious police in Saudi Arabia had of let out the girls from the burning school? The girls would have lived, but what would have happened to the police officers who disobeyed the orders? While there is a big difference in scale the question boils down to: do we choose to do what's best for ourself or do we help others? The answer to that question determines if you are an animal, just trying to survive, or a human being who is capable of trancending these base instincts. If you want to just say "I was only following orders" then you are an animal, nothing more. Humans will make the sacrifice to help another. We would let the guy on the bus when its raining. We would let the girls out of the burning school. Even knowing we may be executed later for doing it, we would save the children.

    Many choose the easier life of the animal. Just survive. That's easy. Being human is not easy. It requires sacrifice, and that is something that only the truly strong are capable of.

    As humans we need to enlighten the non-humans. Teach them that they not just a cog. Even if it means that we may have to drink hemlock for trying it.
    ______
    "I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison

    disturbing (4.00 / 5) (#271)
    by gregholmes on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 04:53:49 PM EST

    As humans we need to enlighten the non-humans. Teach them that they not just a cog. Even if it means that we may have to drink hemlock for trying it.

    I find it very disturbing when people classify other people as "non-human" or "sub-human" just because they don't behave the way that you want them to.

    The guy with the bus story may or may not be being straight with us, or himself. Somehow when stories like this are told, the teller was always sweet and reasonable, and blameless. Who knows? Maybe he came off as a demanding jerk, and she enjoyed putting him in his place.

    The point is, the details do matter. She didn't leave him in a burning building. She isn't "sub-human". What his story says to me is "don't live where you have to depend on the kindness of bus drivers" ;).



    [ Parent ]
    What seperates us from the animals (3.00 / 1) (#278)
    by Sethamin on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:31:09 PM EST

    The answer to that question determines if you are an animal, just trying to survive, or a human being who is capable of trancending these base instincts. If you want to just say "I was only following orders" then you are an animal, nothing more. Humans will make the sacrifice to help another. We would let the guy on the bus when its raining. We would let the girls out of the burning school. Even knowing we may be executed later for doing it, we would save the children.
    I hardly think this is what seperates us from the animals. Animals (generally) have a natural instinct to protect their own kind and especially their kin, even if it means sacrifice. If we follow your assertion to its logical conclusion, anything at all selfish is inhuman.

    In reality exactly the opposite is true - being cruel to each other for no purpose is a distinctly human behavior. Animals at least have some motive in mind. But some humans do it for the sheer glee of it. It is not the denial of kindness, but the capricious inflicting of pain which is truly "inhuman".

    The real irony is that is also what is most uniquely "human", too.

    A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
    [ Parent ]

    Ever see a cat play with a bird? (nt) (3.00 / 1) (#285)
    by pyramid termite on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 07:43:28 AM EST


    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    You're anthropomorphizing (4.00 / 1) (#286)
    by B'Trey on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 08:38:39 AM EST

    Cats have evolved to live by hunting. They've adapted behaviors which help them to improve their hunting skills. They aren't sadistic.

    [ Parent ]
    let's try one species.. (4.00 / 1) (#291)
    by infinitera on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 12:31:21 PM EST

    otherwise the analogy fails. Most in the animal kingdom aid their own kind.

    [ Parent ]
    sword cuts both ways (none / 0) (#300)
    by kubalaa on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:09:27 AM EST

    The same freedom which gives us the ability to be truly generous also gives us the ability to be truly spiteful. Can't have one without the other. That's the meaning of free will.

    [ Parent ]
    Flee! Flee, I say! (3.50 / 2) (#281)
    by pietra on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 12:25:38 AM EST

    See, unlike a great many other respondants here, I don't think that either a) you're hypersensitive and need to get a grip, or b) society as we know it is crumbling around us into itty bitty pieces. I think you need to leave the Bay Area, preferably for someplace smaller and less crowded. I did, and it's done wonders for my mental health. In fact, I just got back from Berkeley, a hellish drive involving all kinds of weather looniness and general insanity, and have reaffirmed just how much nicer Moscow, ID is. It's a pretty simple equation: more people compressed into a small space equals more stress and fewer resources of all kinds to go around. Therefore, people have to clamber all over other people just to survive, much less to get ahead, and end up bitter, nasty, and self-centered. Fewer people in a larger space means less stress, and people who are all more likely to help each other out, simply because your survival doesn't mean someone else's demise (extrapolated to housing, in particular). A particularly relevant study called Ratopolis was done many years ago (alas, I am too tired from my crazed mad rush away from Berkeley to find a link). It's not that humanity is crumbling; it's that humanity crumbles in certain population densities. Yes, this fact sucks; no, it isn't anything new.

    (However, if you actually have a job in the tech industry in SF, by all means, try to hang onto it; I have far too many unemployed and desperate friends there to not know how valuable such a thing can be.)

    goverment run (3.66 / 3) (#292)
    by asv108 on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 04:31:52 PM EST

    This is exactly the reason why I have a car no matter where I move to, even if it is too expensive. I hate being dependent on others for transportation, especially in the US where our public transit system is so backwards compared to Europe, obviously with a few exceptions. The reason why that lady was so rude is because she is probably an incompetent public employee who was hired because her 3rd cousin works in some administrative office for the city. I doubt you would receive such treatment if you were trying to hop on a greyhound bus or another private service.

    I had a similar foray today at the post office where the wait was probably around 25 minutes with 3 employees working at the desks. Instead of paging for more desk personnel, 2 of the 3 desk people went on a smoke break where there were probably 5 other postal workers lurking. There is no chance in hell this would happen if the postal service was privatized because those employees would be fired in a minute. I would rather pay $.50 extra for postage and have good service instead of dealing with the inefficiency of a government run office.

    Stereotyping ? (2.00 / 2) (#304)
    by CaptainZapp on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:44:15 AM EST

    Oh, so every government run service sucks, is overpriced, understuffed, inefficient and is more polluting to the environment? The private sector could do this all much better, more cost effective and stinks less? And you have the nerve to use European public transportation as evidence?

    Well, here's a tip where you can determine the efficiency of the private sector really fucking up a system and it's in Europe too. Try whatever remains from British Rail. Smashing a working system into umpteen companies and a bankrupt infrastructure operator (RailTrack) by Ms. Thatcher sure as hell wasn't the glory day of British rail road history. Try it; the system is not only grossly overprized, unpunctual, incompatible between operators, but for the money you get probably the oldest, filthyest and most disgusting train material anywhere (maybe safe for a few lines in Bangladesh). Granted, it's a bit dependant on the route and the operator, but what remains of the English train system is a laugh.

    Staying with our English friends there is an even more telling story. You know, about privatization of the water system. That prices where racked up by factors is probably normal. Hey after all, they have to think of their investors. Now you see, investors are even happier, when a company doesn't invest in infrastructure renewal and uses the money saved to line up the pockets of their investors and directors (profits). The consequence was - of course - that the old pipes rotted away and leaked more and more water. Then some genious came up with a plan to fine water companies, that lose more then soandso% due to rotten pipes. And here's the real private sector response: Since actually renewing the infrastructure costs money, they rather reduced the water pressure. Bingo: Less pressure less loss. The ones that didn't consider this to be amusing are the firebrigades throughout the country, while they see houses burning away, because they can't get enough pressure on the hydrants.

    To sum it up with a positive note: At the place where I live, the tap water is marvelous. It's Evian quality (or actually better, from checmical analysis) available 365/7/24 cool straight from the tap. This product is soled by the evil, wicked government for ~1.46 Euro per 1000 litres. Yep, I'm sure a private company could do better then that, right, I better talk to the mayor.

    What really pisses me off is comments like yours, the evil-inefficient-overpriced-government bullshit. Especially where monopolies exist (and this is often the default for heavily infrastructure related utilities) I rather trust my city council or (ghasp) even the federal government (as in the railway system) then my cable TV operater, Virgin Trains or AT&T. Thank you very much.

    [ Parent ]

    It's Just MUNI... (none / 0) (#297)
    by tudlio on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 07:46:11 PM EST

    ...I'm convinced that prospective MUNI drivers have to get the little old ladies spinning like a top around the center pole before they're allowed on the streets.




    insert self-deprecatory humor here
    Jerks playing according to the rules (4.50 / 2) (#298)
    by mami on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 09:45:27 PM EST

    He called it the "SNAFU principle"; Doing something wrong, but doing it perfectly within the scope of the "rules" so as to be justified.

    I read your story as representing a point about the above theme. After listening to the Campaign Finance Reform discussions in the House and looking forward to the discussions in the Senate and after listening to the statements in the discussions about the nomination (or the resistance to the nomination) of Judge Pickering to the Federal Appeals Court, I came to the conclusion that the behaviour, you mentioned in the above quote, is a behaviour the U.S. constitution allows to flourish and actively supports.

    We have always had clauses in our laws that attempt to enforce the "spirit" over the "letter". In the last few years, however, I have begun to realize that this concept of the Justifiably Wrong has become gospel to the last remnants of our once grand western civilization.

    The attempts in the laws to enforce the "spirit" over the "letter" are very "outdated" and "meager" attempts. The laws talk a lot about individual rights, they don't talk about individual moral responsibilities. The laws pretty much define what the society is going to be. The laws basically say, you have the freedom to be a jerk, as long as you play the jerk role according to the rules. So, don't expect that this has no influence on the "bus driving community".

    Anyway, are you sure, you were not a bit too depressed the day you wrote the story ? Think about the "Gone with the wind" line: "Tomorrow is another day", (most probably with a bit of sun and a real cute female bus driver, who says "honey, come on board" with a breathtaking smile). The consitution wasn't able to prevent miracles to happen from time to time...

    Comparisons (4.50 / 2) (#306)
    by fishicken on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 04:58:44 AM EST

    Nice one.

    Great ethical implications; do we permit social engineering to reduce deviant (amoral) behaviour?

    Should we let Senator Redneck Tunnelvision and his deviant politico-religious cohorts who secretly videotape babies and masturbate wearing diapers decide what we can and can't do and say?

    Or do we let capitalism, often mistaken for natural selection, weed out the fist makers?

    Let me put it another way.

    You're yuppie scum destroying the third world.

    She's trailer trash destroying the third world.

    You're better than her.

    She's better than you.

    (I'm better than both of you. :-)

    It's about power. She could shit on you, and she did. Bet she got the thrill of her life.

    You, accustomed to the rights of a moral society, in which you are untouchable behind your smart dress, shiny forehead and leather shoes, you had your bubble burst.

    Truth seems to be, we're all made of the same stuff, but we're all very different.

    What goes around comes around.

    Take two cliches and call me in the morning.

    We are all made of the same decaying organic material. There is truth in that. In fact, the answer lies within.

    Common Sense, Common Decency ... very UNcommon traits. | 309 comments (255 topical, 54 editorial, 0 hidden)
    Display: Sort:

    kuro5hin.org

    [XML]
    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
    See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
    Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
    Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
    My heart's the long stairs.

    Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!