I rode the B line downtown today, and with all the students still away and most folks staying indoors to avoid the cold, it was a rather pleasant ride. I was able to sit and read my latest issue of The Improper Bostonian in peace and relative quiet.
That is, until we pulled into the Harvard Ave. station, and a guy got on with his portable stereo, sat down two rows behind me, and proceeded to turn it on and blast Madonna’s “Dress You Up” for all to hear. Turns out he had his radio tuned to 93.7, so we were also treated to a mix that included Journey’s “Lights” and Thompson Twins’ “Hold Me Now.” (When Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” came on, though, he flipped around to find a “better” station.)
At first, I was like, how rude! Doesn’t this guy have any common decency? I thought about asking him to turn off his radio, but I’m more passive aggressive, so other than shooting the guy a couple “Are you kidding me?” glances, I decided to blog about it way after the fact instead of saying something at the time. Also, I was kind of enjoying the music and no one else seemed to mind (or at least, no one else was complaining), so in the end I figured it wasn’t such a big deal. After all, someone who blasts their music on the T without regard for others clearly has no sense of it being the wrong thing to do, so saying something to him would have been pointless.
I know the T is public transportation, so I don’t expect it to be quiet. But I think bringing a stereo onto the train and playing it that loudly is a bit excessive. It often surprises me just how divergent my thoughts and behaviors are from those of others when it comes to public settings. My inbound ride today was just the latest example.
Alright, I get it. It’s called public transportation for a reason. I have to share the subway with other people, I have to be tolerant of their annoying behavior, and I have to be considerate and flexible even when other people aren’t. But it’s now a day and a half after my morning commute yesterday and I’m still annoyed.
It was Monday morning, the day after Thanksgiving weekend. No one wanted to go back to work. I sat on the T, in my regular seat, peacefully reading my magazine, minding my own business. The rest of the train, though it was crowded, was pretty quiet (all things considered). Then, at Warren St., some kids (two guys and three girls) got on and began to talk like the train was half-full. In obnoxious, profanity-laced dialogue spoken in a heavy accent that screamed “townie,” they discussed drug use and all the things they’d tried and wouldn’t ever try, how a “chick” can have sex with an older “dude” but a dude can’t have sex with an older chick because that’d be illegal, and other similar topics. Again, none of this in anything close to a “soft” or moderate volume. Plus, they were standing near the door, and not even moving when people would need to get off. Somewhere around Kenmore, someone broke wind and they spent five minutes talking — out loud, and in pretty gross fashion — about how bad it smelled and who among them was the one who did it. One kid even started to make farting noises and motions (i.e.: lifting up his leg). This was all going on right in front of me. And I was still sitting there, trying unsuccessfully to read my magazine. Counting the stops until I got to Park Street. Of course, they were on the train with me the entire way there.
I’m tempted to say these kids were lower-class, but that would mean they’d have to have some class, and clearly, they kids had none. And I know their ages because they each went around saying how old they were, and the oldest was 17. So I mentally threw up my hands, and in my best “Damn, do I feel old” inner voice asked, What’s wrong with these kids today? Don’t any of them have any respect or consideration for others around them? (And I know I’m not the only one who has had that reaction; Alicia wrote something simiar on Friday.) So yeah. Most days I like my commute on the T. But yesterday … I couldn’t get to work fast enough.
On the way home from work last night, I finally started reading Esquire‘s November issue, which — aside from being the Halle Berry as Sexiest Woman Alive issue — was the Endorsement issue. And it got me thinking about what I endorse. Here’s a very simple one: When the T goes express, particularly outbound. Sure, I like my commute, mostly because I get a lot of reading time in and I always get a seat in the morning (going home, not so much). But who doesn’t like a shorter T ride, right?
To be more specific, going express inbound — from Packards Corner to B.U. Central, for example — is good, especially when you’re on a crowded train. But consider the destination. I’m not really in that much of a rush to get to work. On the other hand, when you’re on an outbound train, and the driver comes on the PA to announce that you’ll be going express from Washington Street all the way out to Boston College — well, that’s just a great thing. It’s like the driver knows you’ve had a rough day and you’re eager for some peace and quiet, a good dinner, and some good TV. All the riff raff gets off the train (grumbling, usually) and it’s like the whole vehicle is all mine (or close to all mine). I can grab a seat, or stretch out on a couple seats. And then it’s like the driver has hit the warp speed button so he/she can get me home likkity-split, and we get to the end of the line in no time. So yeah, that’s what I endorse: an express ride home on the T.
For the past few weeks, due to construction, the outbound B-line has been stopping at Lake Street and not going all the way into the Boston College T stop. I’m surprised no one’s been hit by a car yet.
I recently started using vanilla-flavored toothpaste, and I really like the taste of it. Is that wrong, or is that the whole point: that if I like the taste, maybe I’ll brush more often.
I have nearly 325 friends on Facebook now. How did that happen?
Bruce Springsteen’s in the neighborhood this weekend dropping his kid off at BC. I wonder what the chances are that I’ll see Bruce at White Mountain Creamery.
I love John McCain’s choice of VP. Can someone just declare Barack Obama the winner now and spare us the next 65 or so days of campaigning?
For the first time in about eight years, I’m living on Comm Ave on Labor Day weekend. Oh, the horror. I guess summer’s officially over now.
Any chance Dustin Pedroia is going to be the AL MVP this year? I sure think so. (And just fyi: I’ve been saying this for weeks now. I’m not on the bandwagon — I’m leading it.)
The new 90210 starts on Tuesday night. Not sure I could be more excited.
Why can’t every weekend be three days long?
Just a quick kudo to the MBTA and their bus service. I was in my beloved Harvard Square tonight having dinner with Amy, and knew that getting home would involve some strategerie. Used to be that when I lived in Coolidge Corner I could just take the 66 bus and it would go right to Babcock St. Now that I live where no buses go, I needed a new plan. Anyway, long story short, the 86 bus went right to the corner of Comm Ave. and Chestnut Hill Ave., and after a quick two-stop B-line ride, I was home in no time. Seriously, the whole trip took less than a half hour — a fraction of what it would have taken if I had used the subway. So, nice job MBTA. That’s a pretty sweet way to get from home to Harvard Square and vice versa.
But if I can just throw in my two critical cents: Why does there have to be a bus stop on, like, every block? It’s worse than the B line used to be. It’s worse than the 66 bus. Can’t people walk like the people who take the train do? Especially considering all the traffic lights we have to stop at, there’s really no reason the bus has to stop sooooo often. Otherwise, I love taking the bus. Woo hoo!
This morning on the way into work, I got a nice surprise: When we pulled into Packard’s Corner, the conductor came on the PA to tell us we were going express to BU Central. I say this was a surprise because the train was barely half-full, and usually we only go express if the car is full. Well anyway, so a couple people do the requisite freaking out and scurry off the train. As we pulled into the next stop a few feet up, at Babcock Street, the conductor again came on the speaker to announce, “Change. This car will actually be making all local stops.” I sighed, but then had to laugh because of the folks who had gotten off just a stop earlier for no reason. It was a classic case of schadenfreude.
Not that I think this was an intentional practical joke or anything, but it sure seemed that way. Maybe some T drivers do have a sense of humor.
A small favor to ask of all the mothers, helpers, and others who may be wheeling around babies and other young’uns: If your child is crying — and not just crying but wailing — and you’re about to get on a crowded T during rush hour, please think twice. Don’t be like the woman who wheeled a crying baby onto the B line this morning and did nothing to quiet the kid down as we rode all the way down Comm Ave. Please, out of common courtesy to your fellow passengers, many of whom are still half-asleep or are trying to enjoy some last “quiet” time before they get to the office, have the decency to tend to your child — or better yet, wait until he/she has quieted down and then get on the train. Thanks.