Monday, December 10, 2007


Friday afternoon. 4:30. I stumbled out of Excel class, my brain reduced to a dry husk rattling around in the bottom of my skull. Thank god for weekends and the rehydrating powers of good wine. Yep....

After lots of hard work on the wine, I managed reboot the cerebrum and was finally able to recapture the correspondence I had stored in my head.


Dear Bus Division of the STM*,

Thursday I waited 45 minutes for a bus that should pass every six minutes or less. And when the bus finally did come, it was so packed it didn't stop. I know you'll tell me that it's all the fault of snow removal, but that doesn't fly because a) the storm was Monday and b) René-Lévesque Blvd. was already cleared of snow.

So, rather than wait another 40 minutes and risk death from exposure - cause dudes, it was frigid on Thursday, I figured I'd take the subway and get closer to home and take another bus from there. Did that work? Well, the subway did, but we waited another 20+ minutes for a bus. Three busses arrived and just stayed there, dark and dead. Out of service. THREE. FUCKIN'. BUSSES!!!!

Were bus drivers on pseudo strike? 'Cause we do know they're gearing up for yet another strike. Again. I mean what's a year in Montreal without at least one transit strike? When it's not the drivers it's the mechanics, or the cleaning staff or guy who washes checks to see how worn out the tires are. Fix the damn problem already!

We are getting no service to speak of from you people and yet you have the gall to increase fares again in January! We're getting no service and yet you try to convince us that public transport is the way to go. The ecological way. Well, you're right on that point anyway, busses that aren't running can't pollute.

All bussed outedly,



Dear People in Excel Class,

Several of you should not be doing advanced excel. The fact that you've made totals in an Excel spreadsheet does not qualify as being advanced. You need to be in a beginners or at the very most intermediate class. Because you have no idea what it is you're doing and you're slowing down those of us who have at least a vague notion what's going on. You are irritating me to no end. I dislike being irrtated by idiots who simply want to be able to say they did advanced Excel, though they'll hardly be able to use what they learned because they don't have any of the intermediate notions.

You have just wasted a helluva lot of money by coming here.

Just sayin'



Dear Subway Division of the STM,

Art in the subway is a cool idea I think. But there is such a thing as taking it too far.

Friday morning I wandered into surreality with you guys. The subway car was papered with deep blue faux wood panelling. The ceiling of the car was black. The only thing missing was orange shag carpet (Jocelyn has something on her basement stairs you might be able to borrow) for the perfect 70s basement look.

The windows of the car had pictures stuck to them of the waterfall-with-several-legs-sticking-out variety.

I would venture to say that the idea of pale coloured walls and ceilings in a subway car makes eminent sense to me now, because entering a dark cave at 7:30 in the morning is pretty much highly overrated as experiences go. Can you spell depressing?

What really pushed the experience over the top was the soundtrack. 'Cause, yep there was a soundtrack. At irregular intervals the speakers belched inane conversations or monologues - probably stuff overheard and recorded in the subways. But ya know? Sound quality on subway speakers? Not so good. So we were having conversations about how to best paint a room screeched down at us at a deafening volume.

It was surreal. Which I suppose was the point. But surreal performance art at 7:30 in the morning in the subway? Not so much thanks.

And I'm guessing, from the eye rolling and the "can't they shut that thing up"s I overheard, that I wasn't the only one feeling aggressive when I left that car. It's only a matter of time before someone goes postal in that car.

What were you thinking? How 'bout next time you plant a couple of statues near the turnstiles or something?

* Société de Transport de Montréal, our transit commission


furiousBall said...

see here's another prime example of why we should all carry flame throwers - you could melt the snow or the buses and those pesky non-advanced student too.

Dave said...

Jazz... I REALLY HOPE your day goes much better tomorrow! I must admit though that your rough day gave me something to laugh about and so I thank you! Take care Jazz! :-)

Rachel said...

Ah, public transit....

In my opinion, Montreal has the best subway system of all the cities I've been to. Its (relatively) clean, simple to understand, and it is imbuded with culture (art, design, color, symbols, etc...) Obviously that particualar train went overboard....

New york subways are a lot like the city itself: complicated, congested, a bit smelly at times, and with a wide disparity of wealth distributed. There's hardly any artistry in the stations, or even design, though the more touristy stops have more color. But there are a lot of musicians everywhere. Art is mostly advertising.

Boston has the simplest system, but it is also very smelly, and the most littered, and is surprisingly devoid of much culture for a town that prides itself on the arts. Like new york, all art displays are advertising.

Washington d.c. has a subway that is most like montreal's: simple to understand and realatively clean. The trains are a bit old, though, and the stations completly utilitarian, with hardly any art or advertising.

Yeah, america is very commercialized and unimaginative...

Ian Lidster said...

I agree with Rachel about Montreal's nifty subway train, but I still like London's Underground best due to tradition.

As for buses. Fie on them. I detest them all and all bus services.

Jazz said...

Furiousball - You are a brilliant man you are.

Dave - If I made you chuckle it's all good

Rachel - It is a good subway system, but living here, I'd say there should be way more subway lines... And yeah, the performance art? Way overboard.

Ian - Actually I have the choice between spening my transit time overground in a bus or underground in the subway, takes about the same time, I much prefer overground. The tunnels make me feel like some kind of mole.

Jocelyn said...

Woo-hoo for the shout out for my shag!

Okay, that didn't come out right.

But I'm left wondering if you couldn't create an Excel spreadsheet for the bus drivers?

pissed off patricia said...

Bless your heart, you need to fly down to Florida for a few days. No snow and the temps are in the 80's. However I must warn you there are enough stupid people down here to make you want to yank your hair out at the roots.

Big Brother said...

If it had been in the subway on a Monday, I'd say to much vino... but it was probably an art work that the STM paid big money for... after all they have to justify the fare increase somehow.

Dorky Dad said...

You've been taking Excel? Here, let me give you the crash course: just pound the keyboard when you can't figure it out, then call my wife. She'll tell you exactly what you need to do. That's how I use Excel.

Also, my wife went through the exact same bus issue recently. Almost froze her feet off.

geewits said...

You're way too ornery to be a mass transit user! On the other hand, it just makes you the perfect city girl.

Jazz said...

Joce - Yeah, that really came out wrong. And I would never sink so low as to help the bus drivers. They make my life miserable thus they must be ignored.

POP - For some reason I don't have much trouble ignoring stupidity when it's warm. Maybe I could go be your illegal alien housekeeper?

BB - So that's the reason they're increasing the fares, the annoying as all hell "art".

DD - Unfortunately I don't have your wife on hand when I need her, unlike you. And yeah, I felt for her, I read that post.

Geewits - Yep, I am indeed a city girl. An ornery city girl, the only fun kind.