Posts Tagged ‘the T’
Being a savvy urban mover, one of my favorite games is to keep an eye out for people on the inbound B line who look like they’re not paying close attention once the train gets to Park Street. When the train finally stops, I rush out onto the platform and I turn around to look at these absent-minded folks, sitting there, minding their own business in a completely empty, unmoving train. The window is like a big TV. Then either the driver will yell over the PA system that the train has been taken out of service, or a conscientious fellow passenger will remind them of such. Either way, these folks all shoot up out of their seats with the same sheepish and confused look. That I’m not that conscientious passenger used to bother me, but now it doesn’t. It’s a fun game.
I was at the Government Center T station this afternoon, on my way to the grocery store. It being January 2, I had to buy a new monthly pass. So I walk in, put my large regular from Dunkies on top of the fare machine, and I begin my purchase. I’ve done this dozens of times, so who knows where my head was at today, but I go through all the motions of selecting the pass I want, until I realize, with a look of horror on my face reflected in the smooth glass of the machine’s touch screen, that I had bought a Charlie Ticket, instead of putting a January pass on my Charlie Card.
For those of you from out of town, the difference between a ticket and a card is the difference between a laserjet printer and a linotype machine. It’s the difference between just walking onto the T, and standing there at the fare box for 15 seconds like a slack-jawed idiot. Paying for the T with a ticket is less than half a step up from paying with money, and regular readers of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun know what I think of people who pay with money.
Oh, and I left my coffee on top of the fare machine, so I had to run up half the down escalator to go back and retrieve it, and then my pass didn’t work a second time at Government Center, so I had to walk to Park Street to get on the T. Punch me in the face.
This post is dedicated to my new mortal nemesis. You’ve met this person before. He probably bumped into you this morning. Or you probably heard her loudly exclaim her surprise and start giggling to her pal every time she was met that rare and wondrous, several-thousand-times-in-a-lifetime event: the train going forward. That’s right. I’m referring to the Person Who Is Always Taken By Surprise When the Train Starts or Stops Moving.
I don’t know what made this particular villain the way he is. Think about how rare it is that on any given train, there’s a grown adult who is riding the subway for the first time ever. That’s the only excuse for stumbling every single time the train overcomes its inertia and locomotes forward, right? And you’ve got to think that even if this non-child, who somehow managed to get his pants on, who ostensibly was able to tie her shoes, who was able pass through the threshold of the electronic turnstile, was in fact riding the subway for the first time, he would be able to infer that A) there are poles and straps all over this moving metal box for some reason, B) everyone around me is holding a pole or a strap for some reason, and finally C) the last time this machine went from stopped to not-so-stopped, I went hurtling backwards for some reason. I’m not even saying that every subway rider should have a basic grasp of Newtonian physics. Just the most cursory understanding of the logic behind cause and effect.
And yet a day doesn’t go by where you don’t encounter the Person Who Is Always Taken By Surprise When the Train Starts or Stops Moving. I had one today. She and her boyfriend were standing in front of me, and at every stop from Kenmore to Park Street, this girl reacted like an innocent newborn first encountering the glory of the bright morning sun. And by that, I mean she was knocked off her feet like she just got checked by Scott Stevens.
Now, precious readers, I understand that in our daily lives, we’re all forced to suffer fools at every turn. And normally, I’m happy to shake my head at some poor, ignorant getting tossed around the train like a plastic bag in the wind. But in a crowded train, where everyone else can muster the physical and mental faculties to steady themselves when an event as routine as a train moving occurs, it’s a certified nuisance when one person is standing on one foot with their hands in their pockets and then bounces around in their own game of man-sized Plinko. Is it too much to ask for people to plant their feet? Or grab the pole? Or, heavens forfend, both?
And if you’re going to flop around the car like a marionette being operated by an angry chimp, could you do the universe a favor and sling your oversized Sherpa bag over your shoulder instead of letting it dangle off your elbow and smash everyone in a five-foot radius? Ugh. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: we’re living in a society, people!