I commute daily from my little Boston hood of Jamaica Plain into the city via the T. (For non-Boston residents the T = subway.) Specifically, I ride the Orange Line in all it’s rickety and spine-tingling glory. Out of the four and a half MBTA lines, (I say half because one of the lines is actually a bus, not a train), I’ve actually found the orange line to be the most consistent, which isn’t saying much.
The orange line is old and neglected. If you look at vintage photos of Boston from the early 70’s you will see the very same rusted-out train cars still deafeningly screeching towards Forest Hills. (Supposedly new cars are coming in 2018.)
As much as I complain about my commute–it still beats driving. I suppose it’s just trading one set of annoyances for another, e.g. being subjected to some teenager’s liberal use of Axe body spray vs. sitting in gridlock on I-95 for two hours. While I sometimes wax nostalgic for being able to enjoy an egg nog latte with the seat warmers on and the soft calming timbre of NPR sans Axe body spray… I still prefer the just slightly more consistent (and significantly cheaper) train ride. I have co-wokers that pay up to $400 a month just to park their car. $400!
Just as the train was pulling away, the woman (who at this point was icily staring at me through the door windows), slowly raised her hand and gave me the finger.
Boston’s reputation for possessing a rude disposition is not an unfair prejudice. There is a reason for this and I completely get it. After riding the T on a daily basis for over five years it’s impossible to not develop a coping mechanism to deal with things like poop, man with hands down pants and severe delays due to “a medical emergency”. (Code for someone throwing themselves in front of a train.) Basic human survival depends on developing such coping mechanisms, that is to say, creating a hard outer shell to protect one’s sanity.
A few weeks ago, while trying to board the orange line at the Chinatown T stop, an older woman refused to allow me onto the train. It was the evening commute so making room on the train is just part of the deal. I politely asked, “Could you please move in just a little, there’s plenty of space,” and she yelled back, “No! I have food!” I asked a second time and again she reminded me that her food needed the available space. The doors closed and there I stood on the platform. Just as the train was pulling away, the woman (who at this point was icily staring at me through the door windows), slowly raised her hand and gave me the finger.
Shit like this happens regularly thus explaining why Boston dwellers have a much different PR skill set as say, someone living in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin.
Winter is upon us which can only mean one thing… an even more heightened sense of intolerance, shoving, food space needs, delays and dramatic increase in “medical emergencies”. We haven’t even had a snow storm and the Orange Line delays are already increasing in frequency at an alarming rate. Rather than getting myself all in a tizzy, I decided to make this fun bingo card for all of my fellow T goers.
So here it is… enjoy! Hit me up with anything I may have forgotten… I am sure there is plenty to add.