Lazy Luddite Log

31.3.12

My Key? A Lanyard!

In my life of actively using Melbourne public transport I have experienced four different ticketing regimes with the latest starting this week. The monthly and weekly Metcards are gone so now I am getting familiar with MyKi.

And naturally I am whining over this forced change on my routines and habits. I am sure I did the same for the Metcard with its automated vending and validating machines. I may even have done it for the amusing scratch tickets. And with every change I adjusted. But for now I want to express my concerns with MyKi.

Forget even asking me to comment on the price. I have to pay whatever I am charged and that has always been the case. I can hope for price rises to slow (as I did here) but I am a captive audience to public transport and am interested in other criteria too.

Convenience and confidence is a big thing for me. Every time I remove my wallet from my pocket and remove a ticket from my wallet is a moment of thinking and judging and getting it right in a constantly shifting and changing environment of the milling crowd – well on work days anyway. I like to get it done swiftly and smoothly. I get fumbly sometimes and then I am suddenly bothering others getting stuck behind me as I try to fit a ticket into whatever interface allows me to escape the station.

A concern then for me with MyKi is that as far as I can tell I need to be flashing it about a whole lot more than I did with Metcard. What I once did for every journey it now seems I have to do for every leg of every journey in order to get those barriers opening at the end. This was a stressful notion to me. It is fine for the MyKi itself – the sturdy plastic smartcard will last and last. One advantage it has over all the older methods is its reduction of wastage – gone are the days of me throwing tickets away every day or week. But away from the environment and back to me!

I have discovered one thing that addresses my stress over my dexterous performance in handling a MyKi and it is another bit of plastic – a lanyard! I currently have one for work and I have inserted the MyKi into it. This makes things a whole lot smoother for me and safer for my wallet. Now all I have to do is actually remember to touch on and touch off all the bloody time – a small interruption to what is some of my best absent-minded thinking time of the day. I hope I can keep the lanyard beyond the end-date of my contract.

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24.3.12

Engineered Anecdote

I feel like another anecdote from my past that has never been described here (due to my more usual "subject-oriented" take on blogging). It is an amusing story involving friends Sean & Olivia. It also involves a car that went by the name of Sonja - she was a Hyundai Sonata you see.

The three of us were road-tripping and visiting friends in the Australian Capital Territory. We exhausted all we had wanted to do and had two days to spare for getting back to Melbourne. And so we had to debate which route to take getting home. The choice was between the short and boring way along the Hume and the interesting but long way via the coast. We all were keen on the scenic route except there was one contentious thing to consider - the state of Sonja.

Sonja was a good car but Sean had driven her to the limit of her suburban limitations. I think she was onto her third engine! Anyway there was something the matter with her and I was arguing for a speedy return to Melbourne on a major freeway. Sean was arguing for fun and adventure and new things. Olivia had the deciding vote. What did she do?

She felt I had the better arguments but she sided with Sean because experience was the only way he would discover that rash decisions produce mishaps. Both Sean and I are older than Olivia but nonetheless she felt that you can teach an old dog new wariness. And so off we went and set off towards the coastal town of Batemans Bay. We never made it.

As we were driving along surrounded by yellowing farmland the engine started emitting a cacophony of clunking. Clatter clatter clatter CLUNK! Something had shaken lose and punctured a hole in other parts of the engine as it exited the car. Vapour started decorating the windscreen and the car started slowing of its own accord. What was to be our fate?

Sonja managed to continue moving till we rolled into the township of Braidwood. Luckily this mishap occurred while we were in farmland rather than the hilly wooded territory that was between us and the coast. Even more luckily - surprisingly so - we came to rest alongside the local motor mechanic and agent for car insurance. Sean still had his luck it seemed but Sonja had driven her last.

We had to kill a few hours in the small township and it was there that I speculated on what sort of population is needed to support (say) two pubs (Braidwood had two pubs and a population of over a thousand). We walked round a few of the blocks of the town and had some food and made arrangements for a friend to come collect us back to stay another night in Canberra. We were happy once she arrived coz Braidwood was getting boring.

We stayed that one more night in Canberra then drove home in a car provided by insurance. I had gotten my way in the sense that we went home via the Hume. Sean however had gotten his way in that life had once more shown him that risks are rewarded. I think Olivia was just happy that we were homeward bound. And Sonja? Well she exists in our memory still - I was rather fond of the dark blue duco which had in it an accidental abstract hologram. That was a nice defect. A disintegrating engine is another thing entirely! Something I wish to keep my distance from despite our good fortune.

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