Monday, May 23, 2011

Please hold on. To my heart.

If you live in SF or NYC or some other city where a lot of people use Mass Transit, there are a certain number of sayings said in a certain way that are perpetually drilled into your brain from hearing them so many times.

The BART "The Doors. Are Closing. Please stand clear of the doors." voice is super-businesslike. Maybe even a little chilly? But somehow, paradoxically, also kind of warm.

BART: (It starts around :51):

Played in the movie by: Meryl Streep.

SF Muni has gone with a crazy male-female couple. She's all "Please hold on" and then he's all "Please exit through the rear doors." I like to imagine them in a zany romcom and she's pissed because he's stepping on her lines.


Played in the movie by: Kate Hudson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

But these Bay Areans have got nothing on the New York MTA. If you've ever ridden a subway in New York City, you know the "Stand clear of the closing doors please" guy.


That cadence! That rising and falling pitch! That slightly unhinged, happy-but-maybe-I'm-crazy-not-happy tone. It's got it all.

Played in the movie by: Lithgow, who else?

One frequently overlooked (and tragically so, I might add) voice is the SFO Airport Train Lady. She is cool and exotic, and doesn't just want you to hold on. She also wants you to set your luggage cart brakes to on.


She may work the SFO Airport, but her soul will always be in Paris. Bon soir, mon amour!

Played in the movie by: Audrey Tatou.

[UNRELATED PROGRAMMING NOTE: Yes, I know "The Bachelorette" returns tonight and against my better judgment, I will be recapping again this season. See you tomorrow for that.]


Jenna said...
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Jenna said...

I am pretty sure that the Muni lady and the airport lady are the same person. I assume this based on the fact that when I am on Muni and I hear "Please hold on," I reflexively say to myself "Please set luggage cart brakes to on."

Annie said...

What about Muni Lady's seemingly random pronunciation of "Valencia" on the 48? Sounds like "Vah-LENNNN-cha!!!" Is she Catalan? She makes the stop sounds so grand and regal, and also pleasantly exotic. I'm a huge fan. Helps ease the pain of being just moments away from BART...

Mickey said...

nearly cracked up last fall in Singapore when it started singing!!

found it on youtube

Mickey said...

you can hear (Singapore MRT) it better in this on

TK said...

Annie -

According to some, "Valencha" is the old-time San Francisco pronunciation of Valencia. There was a whole convo about it on Mission Mission a while back.

Mickey -

OMG LOVE IT. I bet that lil earworm is stuck in millions of Singaporean heads every day.

Jennifer said...

The Muni lady is also the same lady in the Atlanta airport trams. Every time she says, "please hold on," I mentally finish it with, "this train is moving." She sure gets around.

Tamagosan said...

I miss the days of just taking the bus and not having to hear someone talk to you about taking the bus. If the reason is to help the visually impaired, that's one thing, but so often the voice is off a block or two. I am able to hear the 24-Divis. voice from inside the house. Great.

The voice of the French national rail company (SNCF) is standardized throughout every single station in every tiny town and big city in France. I read an interview with the woman who basically had to talk in pieces, reciting place names, numbers, times, etc., so the SNCF could piece it up and be ready for any train going anywhere.

It's rather comforting (supposedly the most popular voice in France), and I guess since last year, they've been replacing her voice sometimes with the voice of Homer Simpson! Mind you, it's the French voice, but freaky nonetheless.

Here's an article (in French, sorry) about the woman, whose voice is apparently owned by the SNCF, who licenses it to airports in Brussels and Cairo. There's also a vid of French people being shocked at hearing Homer Simpson's voice doing the announcements, and a better audio of that here.

Matty said...

No joke, it took me at least 4 or 5 trips to SFO and riding that train before I realized what she was saying. I just always assumed that if you used a luggage cart (which I never do) then you would know what a "braktowon" was.