Friday, January 27, 2006

this is your driver speaking

On Wednesday night I was sitting in the U4, a subway line I hardly ever use - not that I'm missing out on much - when there suddenly was an announcement by the driver who said the following (only it was in German, obviously) in the politest, most long-winded possible way:

Passengers in the first and last carriage will no doubt have noticed the rather cramped conditions. Now of course I don't know whether you are actually enjoying the close proximity of strangers but just in case you aren't, may I take the liberty to suggest that you occasionally consider boarding other carriages as well? Should this, however, have been a conscious effort on your part to counteract the cold temperatures outside then please feel free to ignore my suggestion and continue to use the first or last carriage only. Thank you for your kind attention, enjoy your onward journey and have a pleasant evening.

It was the very same guy who also reminds passengers not to leave behind their umbrellas on rainy days and who occasionally comes up with statistical trivia and all kinds of helpful/ironic suggestions like the one above. He's actually semi-famous and I remember reading an article about him in the paper years ago. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find it online. On the rare occasions that I do use the U4, he almost always entertains passengers with some gratuitous observation or other.
It might not be unusual in your town to have subway-drivers address you over the intercom with polite chit-chat but in Vienna all you ever hear from them is a mumbled Einsteigen bitte, Zug fährt ab (Please board, train is about to leave) which usually comes across as a half-hearted Eiiinsteigen, Zuugfdab in varying degrees of unintelligibility.

Speaking of public transport. As I was searching for the "open"-button next to the central door of the dirt-splashed bus this morning, I noticed that someone (the pervy driver himself?) had written a message in the dirt. Pretty women please get on at the front door. Hmmmm. Although I do think I could easily have won the on-board beauty pageant (think: old biddies and spotted teenagers, wobbly midriffs in plain view in spite of the cold) of the day I chose to disregard the notice.

Right after work tonight I'll hit the highway and head southwards for a weekend of winter sports (skiing, ice-skating) and letting-the-parents-spoil-me-rotten. Back on Monday

Lunch-break purchases: Have just returned from a visit to the Golden Arches with FCN. Well, they said in the paper that subzero temperatures call for additional calories to prevent ehm...your body temperature from sinking to an alarming level, I think it was. En passant she bought a pashmina and I a limited edition set from Clinique containing a mascara, a travel-size eye-make-up remover and a "lash building primer". What? I already bought a mascara last week? Well, that one was a) a different make and b) brown, not black. See?!


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