If They Aren’t Yankin’ Yer Crank They’re Pulling Your Cord


My girlfriend recently suggested to me that I seem to spend a fair amount of time watching peoples’ behaviors to the point that I’m going to drive myself to the looney bin (*sigh* politically correct disclaimer: please accept that phrase as it was intended.. and not as a remark against those of you out there who must live in such a place).

My research laboratory.

But what else is there to do when much of your day is spent idling around, watching the world go by around you.  I take the bus to and from work, thusly spending a fair amount of my remaining life at bus stops or riding on them… and my work requires me to stand and watch people for eight hours at a time.  Yeah… I know.  I need a life.

Getting off in Las Vegas.

While I could write volumes on the colorful people who (quite literally) inhabit bus stops here in Vegas, this post is about those who actually ride the metal behemoths.  More specifically, let’s talk about those who wish to get off the bus.  Here in Vegas when you want to get off (the bus, that is) you pull the cord or push a button that signals the driver to stop at the next stop.  The action triggers (usually) an audible *dink* or electronic *ding* (if you rode vintage 1950’s buses in Chicago in the 1960’s pulling the cord created a somewhat muffled *clunk*).   After the *clink* a nifty lighted ticker-tape style text display sign at the front inside of the bus near the driver displays a message to all that someone wants to get off at the next stop, and you might get a recorded voice over the public address system (in between stops this display and recorded voice announces the next stop by street name; pretty cool actually).

So I’ve gotten sucked into observing the cord pulling habits of homo-sapiens traveling in a large metal box with wheels.  My own such habits are, of course, quite logically anticipated and make perfect sense, hence need no evaluation… and are the basis for my judgement of others.   Typically when I wish to depart at the next bus stop the goal is to refrain in pulling the cord (or pressing the button) as that is extra work.  I take into consideration if the next stop is one of those popular stops that typically loads/unloads a number of persons all the time regardless of time of day… or if the stop might be one of those intermittantly popular stops that sometimes can be passed by if no one wishes to get off there and no one is waiting to board.  Obviously if the latter, then I’d be forced to pull the cord, thus expending unavoidable energy and effort.

Those on board that I am evaluating run the gamut of… cord pullers for any reason for their stop even if their stop is a popular stop (self-centered), to those who ignore the cord pulling for the same stop by other riders and still pull the cord (non-trusting; require affirmation).  Now, sometimes it is possible to be riding on a bus full of both types.  In one situation I counted up to 5 cord pullings for the same next stop… yet I must presume that there was likely a mix of self-centered cord pullers and non-trusting cord pullers, given the way their body language may have included neck-craning (looking anxiously over the seats or down the aisle for their stop so as not to miss it).  Neck-craners tend to be self-centered (I-don’t-want-to-miss-my-stop-at-all-costs people).  Those folks also don’t care if there are 20 people waiting at the next stop to board (which you can easily see from half a block away).. knowing full well the bus will stop there anyway, neck-craners will still pull the cord.

Sometimes I just wanna slap them all silly.

Stayed tuned for my future post, Fare Foreplay.  It’s about people who are never ready with their money to feed into the farebox.

Pull that cord there, please.  This is my stop.

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4 thoughts on “If They Aren’t Yankin’ Yer Crank They’re Pulling Your Cord

  1. “My own such habits are, of course, quite logically anticipated and make perfect sense, hence need no evaluation… and are the basis for my judgement of others.”

    Such is always the case, eh?

    Spot on about cord pullers. Don’t forget the gunners, pulling it just as the doors close on the previous stop. Then there’s the monkey-wrench throwers- I almost went flying to the front of the bus as one rider pulled it at the last second. This was a stop at the bottom of the hill and the driver had to slam on the brakes mid-acceleration.

    Like you, I like to give someone else the opportunity to pull the cord before I join the game.

  2. OMG, Doug, I LOVE this post. You should’ve written for the ‘Seinfeld” TV show. This totally sounds like a rant that George Castanza would do! (And I mean that as a compliment, BTW.)

    Plus, I completely agree with you. I’d want to slap these cord-pulling morons silly, too. What the hell? They can teach lab rats how to pull a cord to get a pellet of food on demand! What is so hard about pulling a cord to tell the driver you want to get off the bus? I grew up in Oakland and Portland (divorced parents, so I went back and forth) and both cities had bustling bus systems that I started riding at a very young age. And I remember thinking BACK THEN “Why is that lady yelling at the bus driver about not stopping, WHEN SHE DIDN’T PULL THE CORD?” Don’t even get me started.

    Thanks for the commiseration.

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