Monday, 4 February 2013

My Neighborhood

It won't appear in the national news or ever be mentioned on CNN, but we had a subway episode in DC last week....which kinda got everyone's attention.

Last Wednesday....during the commute home for folks....somewhere on the Green-Line, things went wrong.

It was evening rush.....and the eight-odd cars were completely filled....crammed full.  You had people facing each other, and no room to move.

The train came to a stop, believed to be an electrical problem.  Folks had patience, and probably figured fifteen to twenty minutes.  They were wrong.

Words on the intercom indicated that a 'rescue' train would be coming along.  Well....it didn't come along.

Words indicated via the intercom then indicated that something would happen.  Minutes went by.  Nothing.

At the one-hour point....some gal had passed out and folks were starting to get hot.  Temperature within the tunnel itself was around 90 degrees.  I'm guessing within the subway cars....it got closer to 100 degrees.

Folks started to break windows to get fresh air in.  At the two-hour point, folks started to jam open the doors and just start walking.

Now, bear in mind....there's this high-voltage rail on the side, which if it ever got "hot"....it'd fry you to a crisp.  Thank God....there was no power.

Most folks stayed in the car....mostly because the tunnel was completely dark, and you just didn't know about the threats.  Then, as you'd expect....folks started to throw-up.  Some folks started to pee in the corner because they just couldn't wait anymore.  Don't know what they aimed at in the dark, but it probably just hit the wall and fell onto the floor.  So the smell within each car went into toxic mode.

At some point near the third hour, some rescue folks finally came around and started to close doors and demand folks stay in the car while they activated the rail electrical system, and bring them all into a station.  With all that urine and throw-up smell....it probably wasn't the best of places.

With all the passed out folks.....rescue folks spent almost thirty minutes after it finally pulled into the station...dragging folks out and toting them off to the hospital or giving oxygen.

At this point....five days later....no one knows much of anything.  No explanation yet on how power just failed.  No one is explaining why emergency procedures just didn't work.  No offer of compensation.  Nothing.

Hostility?  I would imagine the 600-odd people on the eight cars....probably are angry, and just plain unwilling to travel by subway ever again.

The gut feeling by most folks is that the management of METRO....is at the same level of a regular gas station or pet shop.  Nothing special.  You hired based on some odd claims by folks that were never verified.  You can't fire anyone.

You simply take everyday risks....riding what should be a two-minute subway ride.

We Can Mange That For You

Somewhere in the vastness of the US government, there is an office which is working on a government regulation....that would prohibit US schools from selling 'bad snacks'.  You know the list.... potato chips, candy bars, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, etc.

How many pages?  One hundred and sixty-odd pages total.

Of course, it would suggest replacements along the way.  Granola would be OK.  Raisins would be OK. Bananas and apples would be OK.  Tea and water would be acceptable to drink.

You can imagine your local school getting this regulation, and at least ten people connected to the operation of the school sitting down and wasting an entire day reading the regulation.  Most will ask why the federal government needs to get into the management of this snack business. Some will ask if they can just overlook the regulation and pretend it doesn't exist.  A few will suggest that the Constitution doesn't give the power of snack-control over Americans.

A federal necessity?  No.  But since you hired thousands of extra folks with special backgrounds...they need to produce something.  So, they got into snacks.  In the office building of the people who wrote the regulation.....do they have bad snacks in the candy machines?  I'm guessing they forced everyone in the building to cooperate and got rid of the bad snacks....to show their courage on this.

This is what it will accomplish.  Buying via a snack machine or club at the schools will evaporate within two years after implementation.  The sales will be dismal and everyone will just laugh over the options.  Parents will start to discover that if you buy via Sam's Club or COSTCO.....you can get these snacks for discount and save the kid money.  So Mom ends up putting a candy bar, a bag of chips, and a Pepsi in the kids bag each day for school.  Mom is happy....saving money, and the kid is happy....they got their junk food.  Oh, and the government is happy because they got rid of the snack business at schools.

Four years from now....another bunch of characters appear, and suddenly the regulation is tossed.  Candy will reappear.  Chips will be a possibility.  And sodas will acceptable again.  It comes and it goes....kinda like the ocean tide.

Luckily, we don't have the government involved in dog food purchases, choice of oil for the car, or limiting us on beer options.  At least not yet.