Sunday, 5 May 2013

Out of the window

next to my desk, on the eighth floor of the building I work in, is a view of the bus station and if I look out and down I can see the stand for the bus home.  The bus home is now scheduled to run every ten minuets (it used to be hourly and then half hourly) and as they are generally bright red double deckers I can tell which of the buses would be mine.

Now you would think that with a bus every ten minuets it would make little difference which bus I caught.  Well you would be greatly mistaken, it is very important on a couple of fronts.  Firstly the buses it connects to, at one of the three main connection points, do not run every ten minutes, they are once an hour or half hourly so a miss is lost time. That is the other point time, my time and like most bus passengers I want to spend as little of it as possible waiting for a bus and as much of it as able, doing the things I want to do.

An obsession with time, and timing arrival at bus stops is like ivy on a building, just a little at first and then all encompassing.  I expect it will be a recurring theme in this blog.  Working out the last moment you can wait to leave to still catch the bus becomes a sort of game with how little time spent waiting as the score.  I don't have far to go but the down eight floors part can be most frustrating.  There is room for four lifts, at present there are only two operating as they are replacing the old with the new, one new and one old are available for use.  However, the call buttons are not yet linked so people call both in a hurry to have either arrive,this is counterproductive, the result being both lifts stop on almost every floor up and down with time consuming consequences.

Now the old lifts did need replacing they were idiosyncratic, lift two did not like being told when to close its doors and if you made the mistake of using the door close button it would either open and shut them several times in reproach before setting off or take twice as long to close than it should.  Lift four had some sort of falling out with floor four and the light display and voice announcing the location of that lift went directly from three to five remaining sullenly silent for the fourth floor.  The other two just appeared work shy as they rarely turned up at all.  They jiggled, grated, clanked and stuck, they did not inspire confidence.  However,  they were and are still better than walking the eight floors, I know as we have no choice but to walk every time we have a fire drill.

So the vagaries of the lift have to be form part of the calculation for when to go.  Then on the TV there started two advertising campaigns, one for a breakfast cereal and one for a credit card.  They both featured innovative ways of travel from work.  The cereal themed itself so good that people had to rush home as quickly as possible to eat more and the credit card was promoting the pass not swipe technology.  They featured watersides, roller coaster cars and designated traffic lanes and lastly but to me by no means least a zip line.

I envision a zip line being very useful to me, running from the office window by my desk, down to the bus stand.  Clip on and whee I would be at the bus in seconds.  See the bus pulling round and out the window off I would zip, not a moment wasted with nary a bus missed.  It could only be bettered by a Star Trek transporter, and I have had my fantasies about that too.

Sadly for the happy thought, the windows don't even open on my floor, and I doubt the building managers would agree to the installation, health and safety would no doubt have comment and the risk assessment process a nightmare of crimson tape but it is an amusing thought non the less and one which my mind turns to frequently as the lift stops on floors seven through one before reaching the ground..