2016: A Bus Odyssey.

“You’re odd-I-see, true to your name!”

-the goddess Ino to Odysseus, from The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

The construction went on for a surprisingly short time: less than two months. I assumed it was one of the local companies that had torn up and closed off a section of the sidewalk, blocking off pedestrian access because that is what’s happening all over town. And there was already a perfectly good bus stop there—and by “perfectly good bus stop” I mean a metal sign stuck to a pole. But then when the construction was done there was this…thing.

odyssey1

Source: Essays & Articles of Cinema https://filmessaysandarticles.wordpress.com

Okay, it wasn’t exactly like that, but it was a monolith next to a bus shelter where there had never been one before. Because of the construction I’d been catching the bus at a different stop so its appearance was a bit of a surprise.

odyssey2Hesitantly I touched it.

odyssey3Nothing happened.

What is it? What is it supposed to do? Based on a single picture I found on the Nashville MTA website it looks like it will eventually have a large route map, but the information is scant and for now it’s just this big blank thing standing on the street next to the bus shelter. It’s probably something to do with the project to install 100 new bus shelters, but what are the proposed “amenities” and how does the signal work? I contacted the MTA and got this answer:

When the button is pressed a small light flashes atop the bus shelter.  It is best used when the bus can be seen in the distance.

Which is fine, except in those places where the hills or turns or construction that’s torn up the sidewalk make it so the bus can’t be seen in the distance.

odyssey4

Source: Essays & Articles of Cinema https://filmessaysandarticles.wordpress.com

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6 Comments

  1. Gina W

    Oh man, a red button that you push and it seemingly does nothing. What if it’s the History Eraser Button! “Push it! The beautiful, shiny button.. the jolly, candy-like button”… hee-hee.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I think it’s like the “Press button to cross street” button. It doesn’t really do anything but it gives you something to do while you’re waiting.
      That reminds me of one time when I was very young and my mother had taken me grocery shopping. She left me in the cart in front of the meat counter while she went to look for something. There was a big red button and a sign that said “Press for assistance”. I couldn’t read it then so I just pressed the button to see what would happen.
      A guy came out and looked around then went back. I don’t know if it occurred to him that the kid sitting there in the cart was the one who pressed the button.

      Reply
  2. Kristine @MumRevised

    Tardis. Please let it signal a Tardis. Crossing fingers for you.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      A ride in a TARDIS would be fantastic. The problem would be deciding where to go. I understand why the Doctor stole a broken-down TARDIS from the repair shop. If I could go anywhere in the universe I’d let chance decide too.

      Reply
  3. Ann Koplow

    It reminds me of the Stephen Wright joke, where he found a light switch that didn’t seem to do anything and he kept switching it on and off, trying to figure it out, until he got a letter from a woman in Sweden that said, “Stop doing that.”

    That button will do something eventually, Chris. In the meantime, thanks for signaling us. I’m glad I stopped here today.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is one of my favorite jokes by one of our favorite comedians.
      I may have to provide an update when the button finally does something.

      Reply

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