Twins on their father’s side in the underground

After half a year without telling you about my experiences in the public transport, I’m back with a matter of human rights — or almost.

There's no mirror.

There’s no mirror. [source]

Last month a Catalan blogger requested to the void — since none of his followers have a saying in the issue — that silent carriages on trains be installed. Although I see eye to eye with him, my idea wasn’t to give a choice between silent and noisy carriages, but force silence, either with a device that cancels sound waves or by legally implementing the decease of the source of the sound.

You might think that singing beggars annoy me, as well as the commoners who spend the money for their education on a mobile phone to share with everyone around their musical — if that can be called music — criterion — as I refuse to call it taste. True, but incomplete. What irritates me the most is people who proudly display their ignorance with a flourish in surreal conversations like the following:

girl 1 — They are twins on their father’s side — she asserted.
girl 2 — Do you mean that they have the same father and different mothers? — that’s some nonsense.
girl 3 — Wait a second. If they are twins, they must have the same mother — said the clever one.
girl 2 — I don’t get it, then — I wasn’t surprised.
girl 3 — I’ve got it! You mean they have the same mother and she was fertilised by two different men — and she wasn’t the clever one anymore.
girl 1 — Yes. That’s it — however, even if there had been a weird in vitro triangle, how would that make them twins on their father’s side exactly?

Let the heads start rolling.

Economy and ecology in the underground

After more than one year worried about the crisis and even more time worried about the environment, it’s surprising to see that obvious measures are not taken.

When you access the underground in Barcelona, you enter an electronic world full of screens, loudspeakers and light signs. This applies not only to the corridors, but also to the trains.

The trains are full of maps of the line with lights that tell which the next station is. This is useful, but not essential since the name of each station is written everywhere on its walls. A television in front of each group of sits is not needed either, not when everybody’s already got their own entertainment device. And if they don’t, they’ll read a book or think about their stuff for they’re able enough to keep themselves from boredom. And let’s not forget the arrows at both ends of the carriages pointing to the opening doors as if it wasn’t obvious which doors are opening.

A quite expensive sign to tell the time.

On the platforms, other televisions offer information questionably interesting and four — not one, not two, but four — light signs show the time to the next train, which can be repeatedly increased by thirty seconds to fit a delay.

Wouldn’t stopping the abuse of these devices save money and energy? However, they don’t overuse the public address system; although it’s funny how they use Charleston music to announce “Be careful! Pickpockets are all around you! Tiri tiriri, tiriri, tiriri!”

And so this is (still) Christmas

About nobody ever bothering creating a department or hiring someone to control the image of the underground of Barcelona or how the ones who should be doing this don’t care at all.

Everybody knows that most of the public transport companies are not too worried about linguistics. If you know some other language apart from yours, you sure have enjoyed reading the signs in buses and trains and discovering unnatural or wrong constructions even in your own language. In the underground of Barcelona, there are televisions on the platforms with the underground channel; a wonderful chance to desecrate our language in the awful subtitles of its news.

Break your neck to sing better.

But I don’t mean to be bad. Not everyone can be a philologist and people from the underground are cheap enough to not spend a cent hiring one. But there’s something unforgivable, something which doesn’t require a degree to realise that’s utterly and dreadfully wrong.

If my calendar is right, today it’s 26th of February. Then, how is it possible they are still advertising the Christmas Box in Universitat Square to sing Christmas carols on the underground television?

Now, what nonsense have you seen lately?

A place to stay

Some weeks ago, I told you about the savage animals ― in the most pejorative meaning of it ― that you can find in the underground. I wrote about what happens at the doors of the trains, but that was just one of the many annoying things those animals are capable to do.

I’m going to focus on one thing and its major troubles again: choosing a place in the train.

The classical annoying positioning is the one that the odious ladies at the doors choose. After all the bothering to be the first to get on the train, they step in, hold themselves on the doors hand-hold and stay there to be the first to get off. They stay there and stare stoically, impassive in front of a score of people who want to get on and whom they pushed to get on first.

Piece of advice 1: What you give is what you take. Push and get on, even if there’s enough space to pass between them. Make them notice that they are in the way.

Next positioning is the I’ll-stay-in-the-doors-space-if-I-can’t-take-a-seat one. The people who do this commit two crimes against common sense. The first crime is not realising that there are two square meters to stand between the seats and let the other people in even if the seats are all taken. The second crime is trying to reach a seat when somebody stands up before the others by elbowing their way through people.

Piece of advice 2: Pushing is always the solution for it is more subtle and legal than smashing faces in. Moreover, you can use the push to reach the more comfortable free space between the seats. This has an advantage: you can reach a free seat before than those odious people, even if you don’t need to sit. It just feels so good!

The last annoying thing is the inopportune walk. I understand that you are at one end of the platform in the origin station and want to be at the other end at the destiny platform, but don’t make things harder when there’s a crow in the train holding to the ceiling with one finger not to fall on a baby carriage.

Piece of advice 3: If there are few people in the train, let them do. If there’s a crowd in there, stay still. If they are to go through, at least they should need to ask for permission and don’t feel like Moses in the Red Sea.

Note: If you know how to do that hit on the hips that make them useless for a while, please, do me a favour in the crowds. Nobody will know that you did it anyway.

Ladies at the underground doors

Underground sign in Japan.

People who use the underground are, by definition, rude savages. It’s hard to survive down there if you’re not one of them, mainly because they awake your instincts and you end up imprisoned.

Let’s focus on a tiny spot: the doors. They are few more than one meter wide and act for few seconds in each stop, but there happens so many capital actions between them. But I’ll stuck to classics.

Firstly, there are those ladies (90 % of them are ladies, let’s be honest) who group where they think the door is going to stop. You see everybody relaxed along the platform and the ladies look at them scornfully, like they tried to pickpocket them. Moreover, they look out of the corner of their eyes, trying to hide, which make it even more obvious if possible. The worst is that when the door doesn’t stop where they are, they join to tackle whoever is in front of it.

Inconvenient 1: Push them when the train arrives is illegal. But you can always guess the place better than them and give them a juvenile delinquent look so they don’t dare to tackle you. It’s not much, but it makes you feel better.

Later, when the doors open, the same ladies form a human barrier and move forward firmly. They slow down the people flow and stop the train for some seconds. The problem is that there are ladies in every stop, so at the end of the line they cost us some minutes.

Inconvenient 2: Tripping them so they fall down and break their teeth or punching them is illegal as well. But staying still at the door, keeping them from getting on the train before the last passenger gets off and see them suffering because they are not strong enough to push you is priceless.

At the end, when they arrive to their stop — or half a minute before —, they press the opening button like there was no tomorrow, even if the train is still running and there’s no green light. The hateful thing about this is that they get bored with it just when they have to do it and then look around, outraged-faced, and you push it gently and correctly and the doors open. They thank you by tackling again, but from inside to outside.

Inconvenient 3: Shouting at them that they are stupid and trying to teach them the right way to do it is as useless as them and they can even make you look rude.

Note: Hold them so they get trapped between the doors and burst when they collide with the tunnel wall is also illegal.

Renfe 5 of ¿5? – Viggo said it

The most relaxed showers all mornings are back.


That’s it, ladies and gentlemen, Renfe is back to delight us with a new chapter. And they couldn’t have done it better, for they announce it themselves.

The circulation of trains in Sant Andreu Arenal station was held up for six months in lines R3, R4 and R7. They said it was to improve the service and, moreover, it wouldn’t affect the user because there was connection with the underground. Renfe itself bothered to put up some posters to explain it.

But it did affect the user. It’s not the same to stay on the train for two stops than taking the underground to change trains. You don’t need to be sharp to see it.

This month the circulation is back to normal in the three lines and there are some funny posters announcing it. I have only seen two different ones, I don’t know if there are more. I would like to highlight the sentences they use:

Vuelven los desayunos con periódico, zumo y tostadas” (Breakfasts with newspaper, juice and toasts are back)

Vuelven las duchas más relajadas todas las mañanas” (The most relaxed showers all mornings are back)

And the heading: “Recupera tu tiempo” (Get your time back)

What time? We thought that the marvelous alternative route was a good solution. As Viggo Mortensen would say: Renfe is back con dos cojones.