Tag Archives: the T

This Should Tell You Something About My City

I was going down to the platform at Back Bay Station today when a train came in. I couldn’t see anything that indicated whether it was inbound or outbound, and since I don’t take the Orange Line often and have only been in that station a few times, I had to stand there thinking about whether or not I was supposed to get on the train. As I finally realized that it wasn’t the train I was waiting for, someone else came down the stairs and literally shoved me out of the way to get on.

The thing is, I’m not offended at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to do something like that.

Valentine’s Day in Boston. Feel the love.

An Open Letter

Dear T Riders of Boston,

Here are some rules of etiquette for you:

-Do not set gigantic bags on the floor right by the door, causing people to trip over it and each other (literally), especially during rush hour.

-Do not stand in front of an empty seat. And don’t give me a dirty look when I say, “Excuse me,” and move to sit in it. You can give up your right to sit, and I respect that, but don’t infringe upon my right to take the seat you didn’t want.

-Do not block an empty seat in any other way. If you’re on one of the older green line trains, do not sit in the aisle seat and refuse to move over when you see me standing near you. Do not sit in the aisle seat and put your stuff on the empty seat next to you. If you’re in any seat on any line, don’t take up two seats, either with your body or your stuff.

-For the love of God, do not put your feet on an empty seat.

-Don’t be a college student. Not only do you annoy me with your loud chatter and inane conversation, but you make me realize a.) that I must have sounded exactly like that a couple of years ago, and b.) that I’m officially OLD if I’m at the point where college students annoy me.

That is all.


P.S. Well, not quite. I should mentiont that not all of you suck. Some of you are quite friendly, and some of you actually have interesting conversations that I like to listen in on. Like the guy I once sat next to and the woman he knew who walked over and started talking to him, whereupon I discovered that they were both actors in musicals. I’ve since seen the woman a few more times on the T (apparently, we have the same schedule), and one time she was mouthing the words on the sheet music she was looking at.

P.P.S. Oh, yeah, and if you’re a T driver, could you try not to slam the door on me (literally , close the doors with me stuck in between them) like you did last Monday? Thanks.

How Do You Know When You Spend Too Much Time on the T?

You start recognizing people you saw on previous T rides.

Kind of a funny story behind this one. A few weeks ago, there was a guy hitting on a girl on the B Line. They were both probably in their late twenties. He was making conversation with her, asking her questions, etc. After he asked her where she lived, he asked whom she lived with. She said, “My husband.” (Ha!) He said he noticed she was wearing a ring, but since it didn’t have a diamond, he figured she wasn’t married. She said, “I’m not a diamond girl,” and they continued making awkward conversation until she got off. Then he started hitting on some BU students.

Well, today I saw her again. Not A Diamond Girl was sitting across from me on the Red Line this morning. Same green coat, same diamond-less ring. She got off at the same stop as me. But the funniest thing? As she got off, another guy started hitting on her.

Apparently guys on the T find her irresistible, so if she really is married, she might want to consider becoming a diamond girl.

Sports, TV, The T….The Usual Suspects

So! It’s a great weekend for sports. The Sox begin the ALCS against Cleveland on Friday. My BC Eagles, who are ranked 4th in the country (!!!!! I know!!!! BC!!! We might actually make it to the BSC this year!!!! No, really!!!! Okay, enough with the obnoxious multiple exclamation points. (!)) are playing Notre Dame, and even though the Irish are 1-5 and beating them won’t be like my freshman year when we ruined their season, anyone who knows BC football knows how important the ND game always is to the BC community. Next year, when the game’s here, I am so buying tickets.

* * *
I’ve seen three new shows this season and weirdly, all three (Chuck, Pushing Daisies, and Gossip Girl) have characters named Chuck.

Chuck is cute. That’s a weird word to use about a spy show, but that’s what it is. It’s cute. The creator is Josh Schwartz, who also did The O.C., and it’s kind of got the same nerd humor going on. It seems like once they develop the characters more and figure out where the plot is going, it will get even better. And I kind of hope that Bryce, the old roommate who sent Chuck the email that caused the images to be downloaded into his brain, isn’t really dead. I’m almost more interested in him than anyone else. Oh, yeah, and I love that Chuck completely unironically calls his sister’s boyfriend Captain Awesome. You know how on The Office Creed doesn’t get much screen time but he makes the most of what he has? That’s what Captain Awesome is to this show.

Josh Schwartz’s other show is Gossip Girl, and that’s…not quite as good. I’ve never read the books they’re based on, so I can’t comment on that, but as a teen drama, it’s more One Tree Hill than The O.C. There’s almost no humor and even less heart. The O.C. took place in a beautiful town full of rich people, but it focused on the outsiders. While Gossip Girl is also about rich, beautiful people (but in New York City instead of Orange County), it asks you to care about the insiders. And in the two episodes I saw, these high schoolers, who sleep with their friends’ significant others and have no trouble ordering martinis in bars, were pretty hard to sympathize with.

Then there’s Pushing Daisies, which is…unlike any show I’ve ever seen. After I saw the pilot, I thought it would have made a great movie, but I wasn’t sure how it would work as an ongoing show. But the second episode was pretty good, too. The problem, I think, is going to be keeping up the whimsy for a long period of time. The light, whimisical tone is best in small doses, so while I’m enjoying the show, I…almost hope it gets cancelled. At least then it will get to remain fresh and original forever instead of going stale.

* * *
The T has apparently decided to play music in the stations. This afternoon I heard music in South Station. I don’t think I like this. What if I want to listen to my iPod instead? Or enjoy the relative quiet of a mostly empty T station, if I’m there at an off hour? And seriously, considering how slow the T is and what assholes most of the T drivers are, and considering that last Friday they suspended service during rush hour due to an extremely small trash fire in the Park Street station that was out before the dozens of fire trucks showed up…they decide to improve things with music?

For Once, I’m Glad I Take the T

Oh my God. The rest of the country must be laughing their asses off at us.

I was at work all day, though, and honestly, I was pretty oblivious to the whole thing. I found out about it around 4:00 because my mom called me, before they knew that all this was caused by a frickin cartoon.

But apparently traffic was a nightmare, even more so than usual. I think they did briefly shut down part of the Red Line, but that didn’t affect me.

A couple of weeks ago, it was a Friday and I wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to go home at the end of the day. I left work at 5:15. At quarter of six I finally got on a train. Why? Because eight trains went by before there was a B Line train. Eight.

“You should complain to the MBTA,” said my mom when I told her about it.

“Uh, that’s like complaining to Bush that you don’t like the war,” said my dad, correctly.

But today, my commute was entirely issue-free, unless you count me not getting a seat for a long time. For once, the T came through for me.

The “I” in “iPod”

I love my iPod. I’ve had it for a little over a year, and it’s been a year of sweet bliss. Gone are the days of Discmans (Discmen?) that were awkward to hold, always needed new batteries, and were only good for one 80-minute CD. Now I hold 3,856 songs in the palm of my hand. I’ve got my ’80s playlist, my country playlist, my random rock playlist, my love songs playlist, my work playlist from when I was a lifeguard and had to make mix CDs that were both fun and appropriate to play at a family establishment. And I’ve got plenty of random shit like the Swedish Chef’s song, Lorelai’s painting song from Gilmore Girls that she sang when she was trying to convince Luke to paint the diner (“Grab your brush and grab your rollers, all you kids and all you…bowlers, we’re going painting today!”), and a voicemail my sister left me on my college phone when she was talking in a weird voice and telling me she was Regina Filangi (Phoebe’s standard fake name on Friends).

But as convenient and wonderful as my iPod is, and as great as it is for making time at the gym fly by, sometimes I wonder if the “I” doesn’t stand for “isolated.” There’s a Seinfeld episode where Elaine pretends to be deaf so that she doesn’t have to talk to a cab driver, but if that episode had been filmed ten years later, she could have just used an iPod as an excuse to be antisocial. Sometimes I think that people use this little white box so they can stay in their own little worlds and not talk to anyone. At BC, people were constantly walking around campus listening to their iPods, and so do half the people on the T.

Occasionally, I am one of those T-riders, but most of the time I opt to keep the iPod off, seeing as the noise of the train screeching around the tracks is so loud that it forces me to turn the volume up to a level that will leave me with hearing aids by the time I’m forty. The other day, though, I was listening to my music on the T. It was raining, and I was listening to the songs that will go on my yet-to-be-made “Rainy Day” playlist: Dar Williams’ “The Beauty of the Rain,” Billie Myers’ “Kiss the Rain,” James Blunt’s “Tears and Rain,” Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “November Rain,” etc. Standing right by me were two college-aged girls who were talking to each other. Because I was listening to my music, I only heard snippets of conversation. They were talking about grad programs in theology. I figured they were classmates, dorm mates, casual friends. But then, one of them got ready to get off the T, and she extended her hand to the other girl.

“I’m Allison,” she said.

“I’m Lauren,” said the other girl.

“Nice to meet you,” said Allison before she got off the train.

And I stood there, amazed. I hadn’t heard the whole thing, but from what I could tell, the two of them had had a very long, interesting conversation that had fooled me into thinking they knew each other when in fact they had just met. They were talking about the pros and cons of divinity school and how it was different if you weren’t going to get ordained and about the experience Lauren’s boyfriend had had with it. I wished I’d been able to hear all of it.

It reminded me of one time this summer, when I was waiting for the Blue Line at the Revere Beach stop. It was raining that day, too, actually, and while I didn’t have my iPod with me that day, I was reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Out of nowhere, this woman came up and started talking to me about how cold she was. “I’ve got a bottle of Captain’s in my purse,” she said. “If I had a chaser, I’d drink it. It’d warm me right up.”

I looked up. She was a bit overweight, and her front teeth were decaying. Her hair was dyed kind of brownish-reddish with a clip holding it in a ponytail. She told me later she was forty-eight, but I would have guessed she was about ten years older.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, noticing that I was reading. “I don’t want to interrupt your reading.”

“I don’t mind,” I said, closing my book.

And I talked to her until the T came to her stop. She never told me her name, but I learned all kinds of other things about her. The night before, she’d been drinking at her friend’s house and had woken up with a hangover that had made her late for her job at the jewelry store. She liked Anne Rice novels, and was currently reading The Witching Hour. She didn’t like horror films, she said, especially the ones with Freddie Kruger because her ex-husband’s name was Freddie. Since the divorce, she’d had a couple of live-in relationships, but no kids. She’d been with her current boyfriend for 11 years, but he’d recently gotten his own apartment because he said he needed his space. “I don’t care, as long as he’s not fucking around,” she said. But despite her man troubles, she considered herself a romantic at heart. Along with Anne Rice, her bookshelf was full of Harlequin romances, particularly historical ones.

She was such an interesting woman, but if I’d been listening to my iPod, I would have missed out on getting to know her.

I don’t know if Allison and Lauren will ever see each other again, but I bet they’re glad they decided to listen to each other instead of their music that day.