They call it a Gulf Nanosecond, the measure of time between when the traffic light switches from red to green, and when the first person honks. In the Gulf, it is such a small interval that it is known as the atomic unit of time, of which divisions are not possible. What impressed me most was when a car twenty rows back will instigate the first honk the exact instant the light changed, possibly exceeding the speed that it took for the green waves to travel that distance.

Taxis have started picking up the pace in Pittsburgh, in competition with the introduction of various crowdsourcing transportation options. For the first time in the near-decade since I've lived here, I've seen almost one taxi per trip into the outside world. At certain times of the week, I've seen as many as four or five taxis in one trip.

The taxi drivers' frustration with no longer holding a monopoly on individual transport-for-hire seems to be causing a decreasing amount of tolerance for anything getting between the front of a cab and the fare's destination. However, Pittsburgh cabbies still have a long way to go before they can compete with the horn finger of an impatient teenager who really wants his karak chai.

#daily #q

23 March 2014 17:24

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