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Monday, October 21, 2013

Faux BART Commuter: I Hate BART So Much, Let Me Back on It Right Now

Posted By on Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 9:19 AM

click to enlarge A BART commuter holds a bottle full of God knows what
  • A BART commuter holds a bottle full of God knows what

By Faux BART Commuter


As long as BART's on strike and nobody has anything to do (except maybe sit in bridge traffic in a stranger's car), I thought I'd try sending a message to everyone involved in the BART strike.

The BART workers all know me. I'm the guy who refuses to make eye contact because that might make me think of them as human beings. I don't know why they think a public that has consistently refused to treat them like people is going to take their side in a strike -- or anything, really. It doesn't seem like a well-thought-out plan.

But I want to assure you, I am impartial. I may have never met a member of BART's management team, but I promise that I don't really think they're people either. The idea that the BART board of directors is capable of basic human emotions like compassion or shame -- no one really believes that. It's too big a stretch.

Normally, I wouldn't waste time talking to either of you. I'd just get on a BART train, listening to my iPod, reading on my iPad, and texting on my iPhone, because only through a careful combination of all three can I absolutely avoid any human contact. It's so hard for me to believe that, living in the 21st Century, some people still use newspapers to avoid human contact. Do their doctors use leeches, too?

Actually, are there still leeches, anymore? It's hard to tell with climate change.

But that's not the point.

The point is that I'd get on board my train, stay plugged in and aloof in a way that indicates this is all beneath me, and spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour-and-a-half, depending on whether there are train delays, wondering in abject terror what the hell had been on this seat before me.

I'd cringe, I'd cry, and if somebody sat down next to me, I'd just pray to Richard Dawkins that they're not talkative, smelly, or fat. Not necessarily in that order.

I'd do this at least twice a day, and hate every minute of it. I'd curse Tom Radulovitch's name if I could pronounce it.

But now you've made all that impossible, haven't you?

You've taken away what little social interaction I have outside my social network, and forced me to either hitchhike with randoms or take a series of buses across the Bay which, somehow, are even less pleasant and more time consuming.

Words cannot express how much I hate you. Fortunately, I have a friend who's a graphic designer. He'll nail it by next week.

But while we're waiting, let me correct some illusions I think you may be laboring under.

First, some of you seem to be under the impression that you can "win" this thing in the court of public opinion. You're wrong. Nothing about BART can ever win in the court of public opinion. The court of public opinion already holds you in contempt.

Second, and I'm just curious about this, if BART management isn't on strike, how do they get to work? If it's the same way they did before the strike, that might be a big part of the problem.

Finally, am I correct in understanding that you guys are really being held up on whether reports should be filed in email? Seriously? Because that makes it sound like there's a lot of room for improvement. So much that, with the right app, my phone could run BART.

So here's a modest proposal: if you guys can't end this strike by this time next week, we replace all of you -- workers and management and Board of Directors -- with an iPhone. We can have a referendum on the color. A twenty-something programmer living out of his car in Palo Alto can program it.

Which is probably exactly what's going to happen to me, at my job, in a few years. But I'm sure everyone will have my back then, right?

And when, inevitably, the trains don't show up because Apple's changed its terms of service and then trains explode because it turns out that maintaining them is complicated, at least it'll be obvious who to blame.

Deep down that's all we really want.

Benjamin Wachs is a literary chameleon

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