Monday, January 11, 2010

Let's see if you can follow my train of thought

It's quite remarkable the amount of inspiration and ideas that I draw from my daily bus rides. Today in class we were talking about new technologies and what the future looks like. More specifically, we were ruminating on the idea of whether or not eBooks will eclipse the printed book, much like the mp3 has done to the CD. Somehow that general seed of 'current and future technologies in society' led me to this:

Today a woman had each hand gripped on either door handle and was aggressively shaking them before the bus had come to a full stop. I thought to myself - "does she know something that the rest of us don't? Is this baby gonna blow? Not much else would call for such fervent shaking when the bus is still in motion."

No, the bus was not on the verge of exploding - she was just ignorant to the steps required to exit the bus. It's not even one of the more confusing technologies to grasp, but so many people seem to be stumped by it. Why is this? If you're not familiar with the bus door-opening technique in Vancouver transit, it's quite simple (as listed step-by-step below).

Step 1 - Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop.
Step 2 - Look for the illuminated green light directly above the doors
Step 3 - Lightly push the door handles
Step 4 - Step off the bus

I don't know why this vexes me so?!?!! But every time I see someone white-knuckling the handles and shaking them like they're in an argument with the doors, I want to scratch out my eyeballs. It makes me think of the people who get angry or judge, but never take the time to understand; and stretching it a bit further (in relation to our technology discussion), it makes me think of the people who are in denial of the progress happening in the world and who are ignorant of the transitions being made in our everyday lives. There are people who abhor technology and live their lives in its periphery - coming into contact with it when necessary, but even then, not taking the time to understand it. I can't relate to these people, because I grew up with technology and I love what it does for my life. So I can't understand the people that aren't even interested in learning about it before they push it aside or criticize it. However, because I can't relate to their position, I try not to judge them too harshly. That's one of the problems though - we condemn what we don't understand. It's a classic problem that is manifested in a myriad of situations. Taking the time to understand before you judge is a critical step, but it seems like when that step requires too much effort we cop out.

People have been blogging a lot about New Years Resolutions, and I think I mentioned that I didn't really bother making any. Like I often do, I've changed my mind: I'm resolving to take more time to understand before I judge. My first step was reading this article posted to a class website about twitter, then opening my own account. But I guess what I'm really trying to say is, the people that reef on the bus doors represent everything that is wrong with the world.

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