Saturday, February 21, 2009

Elevator Out of Service

There are three subway stations that are consecutive stops. We will call them X, Y, and Z. As the train pulled into Stop X, a pretty unintelligible announcement came on overhead stating that the elevator at Station Y was broken. So anyone needing to use and elevator should get out at Station X or Station Z instead.

This was a bit baffling. Generally, people who need to use an elevator have a disability or some reason that makes walking longer distances difficult. Once they get to street level at Station X or Station Z, how are they supposed to get back to Station Y? I highly doubt the transit system is going to provide them with a shuttle. A taxi? I do not think the logic behind this one was only lost on me. Several people had confused looks on their faces after that announcement was made. Just another day on public transit.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Musical Chairs

An early 20's couple got on the bus near the park. She was a hipster with small, angular, wide framed glasses. He was tall, big boned, dressed sloppily and wearing huge lens geek chic glasses. They were a match made in heaven.

She looks surprised, waves to people she knows, and guides him down the aisle to where they were seated. Two hipster girls with trendy messenger bags who may have been a couple or perhaps were just good friends.

"How are you? I just got off work." "It wasn't so bad." Their conversation fills the rather crowded bus.

"Haven't I met you before?" The brunette hipster girl is scoping out the boyfriend.

"Maybe at a party. Or maybe on Facebook. I'm David." He extends his right arm barely covered by his too short tweed blazer.

The bus stops. It is a major transfer point and a number of people run for the doors in hopes of catching a transit vehicle idling in an adjacent stop.

The two seats in front of the hipster girls have opened up. David starts towards the seats, trying to pull his girlfriend towards them so that they can sit down. He reaches the seats at the same time as a very large, slightly unkempt woman who has entered the front door of the bus. She carries a large shopping bag and her eyes have the look of someone who is not quite all there.

A stand-off ensues. They glace at the aisle seat, then glare at each other, and finally warily lunge towards it. He gets off a little faster than she does and moves into the seat by the window, gesturing for his girlfriend to take the aisle seat. His girlfriend, however, is a bit distracted, and all of the sudden the large woman plops herself down in the aisle seat.

David stares at her incredulously. So do his new friends, the hipster girls seated behind. The bus is watching attentively as the woman plants her feet on the ground and stares straight ahead. His girlfriend stands sheepishly in the aisle and finally says, "well, then, I guess I'll go sit in the back!" Now David begins to exchange angry words with the woman. She does not budge and finally he shoves by her and stomps towards the back of the bus.

By this time the bus has reached the next stop. All of a sudden the woman gets up and slowly lumbers off the bus. The seats are now empty less than a minute after the incident. Shocked, the hipster girls turn to tell David the seat is now empty. He cannot hear them and they, and several other patrons, dissolve into laughter.

And the bus moves slowly into the night.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day Dawns

I feel hopeful today, as cheesy as it may sound. We definitely face massive challenges as a nation in the coming years, but it is nice to have a fresh start. I just hope that the energy and hope of today's inauguration can be sustained.

One of the first challenges the new administration is going to face is reforming health care. The longer I work within this system, the more and more obvious it become that the ship is sinking rapidly. We are beyond slow leak and approaching catastrophe, especially with the economy in the toilet. What to do? I have read, pondered, and worked on questions relating to health policy for some time now. This piece by Atul Gawande offers a rational solution: build on what we have. It's worth a read as we move forward in the coming months.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Student Debt

Student loan debt is soaring. In medicine high debt load is increasingly one factor that drives medical student's choice of specialty. Could human capital contracts be a plausible solution or the next form of indentured servitude?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


A boat washed up on the city beach recently. It was a sail boat with a mast and the license info was rubbed off the back. Someone had put graffiti on it that read "Bad Vibes Bob." The possibilities for how this boat got there are endless. Could it have been the site of some bad juju, or simply drifted away from its dock? We'll never know.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fat Cars

These cars are awesome. And they make you think a bit about America.

Artist Makes Fat Cars

Happy New Year everyone. I resolve to be a better blogger this year. We'll see how it lasts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Horrible Blogger

Yes, I have been a horrible blogger these days. No entries in November? Wow. For those of you who knew me in my past life as a medical blogger, you can vouch that I was very diligent about updating things.

Anyway, life and work have been a bit crazy as always. But I just had a wonderful vacation in Hawaii that helped me to re-charge my batteries. I will try to post some pictures once I get them on this computer.

Over the weekend we attended an open house holiday party that featured a lady making balloon animals. It has always been a secret desire of mine to learn to make a balloon giraffe. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that she was not just making animals and swords for the kids, but was offering teaching for adults. We learned to make turtles, which are much harder than they look. And, of course, the giraffe, which is actually an easier animal to start with. It was great fun.

We left the party in absolutely pouring rain and went to wait for the bus. When it finally arrived it was being driven by a rather surly looking driver. I can't imagine driving a huge vehicle on narrow streets in the cold rain is much fun. But when we got on the bus carrying the animals I saw him break into a smile, just for a second. There's nothing like balloon animals to brighten up even the rainiest of days.