May 22, 2006

Metro Voice

A while back I read an article in the Washington Post about Metro replacing the voice on the subway. My first thought was, "What what what?! What's wrong with the old voice? I adore the old voice!"

Of course, those types of thoughts have little to no effect on anything out there in the big wide world. They enter my head, roll around a bit, and then *poof* they are gone. Gone until I was reminded when riding the subway and hearing the new voice for the first time.

The old voice was soft and gentle, kind while firm and informative, "Doors closing. Please stand clear of the doors."

The new voice is harsh and clipped, saying "Step BACK. Doors closing!" When the doors open, she again barks "Step BACK!" followed by a lengthy discourse about "customers" moving to the center of the car as they board. I'd quote more of what she says but I can't remember it. I've banished it from my mind. The new voice talks way too much. She's more akin to a drill sergeant or that evil playground monitor back in fifth grade, shouting orders and demanding immediate compliance on penalty of "dropping and giving him 20."

Metro riders are now taunted by words that aren't really words (Escalump?! Conseaterate!? Save me!) and pummeled by a voice not easily mindblotted.

I'm pretty sure every mother develops the mindblotting skill: an ability to block out all but truly pertinent communications despite surrounding chaos. Since I'm obviously out of practice, I may resort to wearing these.

Sleek. Black. Practical.
Plus the tourists might leave me alone.
Perhaps this new voice isn't such a bad thing after all.

.

6 comments:

Gina said...

Yes, I think the tourists would leave you alone with those on!

But hey, I like tourists!

We had two separate cars in one day asking us for directions to Disneyland not too long ago. Unfortunately for them, they were nowhere near where they needed to be.

scout said...

We've gone in another, louder direction re: sounds of another era by recently adding a 1970s-vintage rotary phone to our lineup. It's remarkable how pleasurable it is hearing that jangly brrrriiiinnng! once again.

As to getting seats on busses and scaring the tourists, I've been instructed to bring a scarf to an upcoming appointment during which I'll be outfitted with brain electrodes for 24 hours of at-home EEG monitoring. Not only do I not own a scarf but I think it may be more fun to throw caution and electrodes to the wind and provoke the naked fear of strangers for a couple of afternoon commutes.

the only daughter said...

People are always asking me directions. Once, it wasn't until they drove off, that I realized I'd mis-directed them. Why can't I learn to say, "I'm sorry, I don't know"?

Elizabeth said...

No one listened to the old voice and people got their arms cut off. Or they got their feet caught in the gap. When I was in London, the voice in the Tube boomed, "MIND THE GAP!" I love that! They're so polite in England. They MIND things.

Do you know why you never got your eye poked out? Because your mother said with a clipped voice, "If you do that again you will poke out your eye!" And so? No poked eyes. Thus the change. A mom runs Metro now.

I think the voice says move to the center so people can get the hell in. And no leaning on the doors. And no peeing in the aisle. And no exposing your titties. I now this because I was recently on the DC Metro from Dupont Circle to wherethehellever.

C'mon...I bet you secretly love tourists.

Bent Fabric said...

I'll have to pay attention to the voice next time I'm on the Metro.

Steph said...

Gee, and I remember when they FIRST started using "the voice" that people raised an uproar because it said "Doors closing" in a seemingly too-rude fashion!