Operated by John-Riley Harper. Dedicated to archiving photography from Utah's underground scenes, as well as other personal projects.

A Lesson in Prioritizing and Reportage
I sat down on the frontrunner five minutes after I was scheduled to sit down. The marquee had said it was delayed: UPRW work. I put my bike in the the bike rack and started to overhear a conversation from a person two seats away (nobody in between.)

He relayed "This is the third time I've sat on the bike car this week. We are going to need to get another bike car because this one is almost full. Uh-HUH. It only has two slots available." He commented that almost all the bikes had locks attached. He confirmed questions (which I obviously could not hear) with an "uh-HUH," a highly accented second syllable--almost like a flattened hiccup. Very interesting indeed. Who was this person?*

I thought at first he was employed with UTA, a high-up decision maker out gathering data, finding problems, prioritizing them, and relaying them back to decision makers. Maybe he was part of this UPRW maintenance team, whatever that is. It was immediately obvious that he had an extremely matter-of-fact, highly observational mind.

I, of course, was also furiously attempting to transcribe what I could hear. He switched to making comments on the wifi, telling them how many times it had gone down. "Okay.  Alright.  It was since last week. . . so it's refusing my connection. That tells me that it has lost whatever a router or whatever it is, it's lost a connection with ... on this car.  Okay.  every so often you'll pass a little building. In each of those little buildings I'd put a little cell tower, a Wi-Fi tower to make it so that the train could communicate along itself.  The low bid . . . I don't know who that bidder is, but take . . Uh-HUH. My Wifi just dropped... so much off my phone. Now it's dropped off my iPad."

He sounds like an intelligent person, prioritizing the right things. Then he said, "All I can do is to call and complain, so that's what I'm doing.  I'll let you get onto the next person." This man wasn't a decision-maker after all! He was just an ordinary guy.

The person on the other line asked him some more questions; they talked a bit more. He was someone who advocates, much differently than someone who simply calls in to bitch. He keeps good records, has a clear mind, and this effectively helps to keep advertisers honest. He's a very interesting person for society to have. He ended his conversation by making this apparent, "Start working on these cars, get the internet working, or stop advertising that Wifi is on the train.  Okay.  Well, time for me to get off.  Thank you.  Bye bye."

My own mental strategy is to never really believe advertisers in the first place. I have pretty much given up on getting good wifi on the frontrunner and use the time to write, draw, or read PDFs. I usually think to myself, "That would be really hard to get wifi working; they're doing their best; hopefully it'll get better slowly." But I like this guy's approach. If you advertise that the Frontrunner can hold bikes, it better be able to hold bikes.

*I asked him if he worked with networking as he left, and he said yes, that he used to run an ISP in American Fork before something had shut it down. Something was sad in his voice as he said it, as if something wretched had happened with the ISP and I was bringing up an old ghost. I think UTA should hire him.


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