Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Of Subway Cars and Tupperware

There are two ways to store your Tupperware (by which I of course mean Zellers-brand plastic containers and old margarine tubs): 

  1. Separate the bowls and lids, and stack them in such a way that maximizes the space available, so that you have as little air as possible taking up room in your Tupperware drawer;
  2. Keep the lids on and stack them one on top of the other.
The first way seems like the smart way, which is why most people choose it.  "I'm being efficient with space!  Look how much stuff I can fit in here when I use my mad Tetris skills!" and that's all fine and dandy, until you actually need to put away the leftover pasta and then you're all, "Where is the effing lid?  Why can't I find the effing lid?  STOP TELLING ME TO CALM DOWN"

I choose the second option because I don't need to be able to fit millions of plastic containers into one spot; I just need about 10 of them, and I need to not have to sift through 18 lids trying to figure out which one fits.  

Riding the Rocket, the new subway that the TTC built last year, I often think of Tupperware.  It seems that in their designing of the cars, they thought a whole lot about how they could make as much space available as possible - indeed they apparently increased capacity by 8-10% - but they didn't think about, oh, how these bodies would stay upright on a moving vehicle with nothing to hold onto.  Yes, there's more space, but is it usable?  I like to imagine they had a little Rocket on a boardroom table, chugging along like a model train, and they glued miniature blue and pink people inside and congratulated themselves on how many glued-down miniature people could fit into their brilliant invention.  I wonder if those people had ever ridden on a subway before?  And if they had - did they do it at rush hour? 

Check out this photo, which I borrowed from this article about the new trains:

Imagine this train totally packed at rush hour.  There are those horribly-useless rings to hold onto on much of the middle-part of the train's ceiling (these are the worst because they are so uncomfortable to use, short people can't reach them, and they MOVE so they don't exactly keep you stable), but then there are sections, like the one above, where there are huge areas in the middle with NOTHING to hold onto.  You know what people do?  If they're tall enough, they clasp their hand against the flat ceiling, hoping to stay steady enough not to fall into the little old lady standing next to them. 

And it makes me mad.

Apparently they're trying to fix this problem, by adding bars and straps to the air conditioning units (see below), but I have yet to ride a subway car which has this addition. Grrr, TTC. Grrr.

We are people. We are not units of space. We need poles to hang onto; not the ability to walk the entire length of a train while it's moving. WHO DOES THAT ANYWAY? Next time spend some more time getting to know the thing you're trying to improve. And always, always do it at rush hour.

Food Lion commercial - 2013