Why one shouldn’t hold subway doors

30 05 2011

A few days ago, I was sitting on the skytrain next to one of the doors.  The train was at Main Street/Science World station and the bell rang, indicating the doors were closing.  A few people were running for the doors, but probably saw/heard that the doors were closing so they tried to hold open the doors which would make the doors open again for them to squeeze in.  Unfortunately, they decided to use their reuseable bag to wedge through the door (I suppose because they were able to swing it in) and the bag did go through the door — all of the bag.  The doors closed on the handles of the bag and since the handles were too thin, they weren’t able to detect any objects in the way.

I watched as the skytrain started moving, the bag on the train, the handles on the platform.  The owner tried to pull on the bag, while someone who was standing at the doors tried to pry it open so they could at least get their bag back but the doors wouldn’t open far enough.  Eventually, they were pulling too hard on the handles and it broke off; the bag landed on the floor of the train and the owner was left probably standing there with two cloth handles in his/her hand, watching the train depart in disbelief.

Meanwhile, everyone on the train including me were fairly dumbfounded at what just happened, and then there was whole issue of what to do with the bag.  No one stepped over to pick it up or open it or anything, though in my head, I volunteered to stay with the bag at the next stop (which would be my stop) and wait for the owners to catch the next train so they could pick up the bag.  When the train pulled into Broadway and Commercial, a man also sitting nearby mumbled something and picked up the handleless bag.  As I followed him out the door and off the train, he stood a few feet away from the doors, presumably waiting for the next train and for the person holding two broken handles.

Saturday Morning Documentary: Paul Merton in China

16 07 2010
The funny Paul Merton

The funny Paul Merton

Who’s Paul Merton?  Well, for those of us North Americans, he is well-known in England as a comedian/occasional actor and his travels in China are unique and interesting, to say the least.  His goal was to explore China the unconventional way, avoiding the typical tourist attractions like the Great Wall to get a glimpse of the true heart of the country.  Merton’s charm and humor draw viewers in every episode and he serves as the perfect host for the series.  With only 4 episodes of his travels in China, he still manages to do quite a lot — from eating exotic and strange cuisine like a donkey’s penis in the first episode to buying a pair of fighting crickets that escape on the train to visiting a Shaolin temple complete with martial arts-practicing monks.

What makes this series unique is the people he meets along the way who are full of heart, full of stories that we never see in other travel shows.  The villagers in rural China who have lived that way are unsure of their children’s future as urban areas expand and cover their land is a sad an unfortunate situation — the traditional and the modern way in conflict.  Because it’s been a while since I’ve seen the series, I can’t fully recall all the things Paul does and all the people he meets but I can say that this is a fun, humorous series — like a B-sides disc to the more well-known album.  A definite favourite of mine to watch for the beautiful landscape and to take a look at the China people rarely, if ever, see.