Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Eve

     I didn't realize how difficult the commute home was going to be.  I have to travel into the city to get to the train that travels out.  The first train that came to my stop was so full that none of us could even get on.  And no one got off.
     We are slowly moving forward into the city.  At each stop we have to jostle and flex to let some out ... Almost as though they're being birthed onto the platform.  The car seems to be filled with early revelers and very few workers headed home.
     And now we're being told the train is to be re-routed.  Everyone needs to get off.
     I'm so looking forward to getting home that I feel like yelling, "But you don't understand.  I have to get home to my kids."  Except several people are trying to get home to their kids.  No need to make an entitled bullshit sort of statement.  So instead, I'm going to stand here with the chick in the flashing 2014 glasses, do my labor breathing to relax and focus on the babies.
     I wish you peace, joy and happiness in the new year.  I hope you are surrounded by friends and at least one lovely person to kiss at midnight.  Kiss them a couple times.

Monday, December 30, 2013


     Yes, little miss 20 something in the matching hat and gloves combo, I am going to sit next to you in my oversized winter coat.
     Yes, I am going to squeeze myself into the thin space that separates you and the older, slightly ripe smelling, guy with the  cell phone stuck to his ear.
     No, your sighing will not deter me from being pleased with myself at taking this seat.
     Yes, I do have a hacking chest cough, and yes, I am blowing my nose repeatedly with one of the two un-shredded tissues in my purse right now (I need to save the other one, just in case).
     Yes, there is a good chance you will now have contracted the plague.
     Yes, I am the stuff of well-put-together-20-something-year-olds nightmares.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Humorless Already?

     On the way home, I finally got a seat on the train.  As I sat, my winter coat spread an inch or two onto the seat next to me.  When a woman moved to sit next to me, she made a little flourish of having to scootch forward and shift my coat.  I quickly apologized and reined it in saying, "Oh, I'm sorry.  Is my big, fat coat in the way?  Well ... At least it's not my big, fat butt."  And then since I'm a wee bit tired and in pain, I sort of giggled hard for a second.
     She did not find this funny.  Not at all. At the next stop when a seat opposite us opened, she moved quickly, clutching her purse tight to her chest.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Good Morning

     After some wonderful time off spent with the three most fabulous children on the planet, I'm back out in the world.
     So far the treasures have been: a classical guitarist playing "Amazing Grace;" two much older ladies discussing technology issues, Facebook and upgrading their devices; and a couple flying-v's ...

Have a good day, people!

Wonder Why ...

     Do you ever wonder why you get sick when you do your best to follow all the hygiene rules?  Why you can't seem to shake that lung rattling cough that's keeping your children awake at night?

     I have the answer:

     Although he's resting comfortably now, moments ago he was wiping the snot from his nose all over his gloves.  And then those gloves are going to go out in the world and touch everything.

     Ho, Ho, Ho ..,

Friday, December 13, 2013


     My head is pounding like the four horsemen are racing to see who gets there first.  And on the train, it's hot and close. I'm lucky that I got a seat, and I'm lucky that my new mentor graciously suggested I could leave a bit early.
     Unfortunately, the gentleman next to me is on his phone call in a super loud voice.  His Spanish is so loud and so fast that I'm barely picking up any of it.  As I've mentioned in the past, I love listening to languages and participating where I can.  I think my head may pop open.
     Now he has pulled a Yoohoo from his bag, and in between each loud phrase, a long, slurpy sip.  Whatever business he is conducting, he clearly doesn't care if anyone around him understands or not.
     The train has now slowed to a crawl.  The conductor says there must be signal problems.  At this point, the extra time has been erased.  I'm contemplating pulling a pen out of my bag and shoving it into my brain.  Or his.
     I'm typing this in full view.  I don't care if he reads it over my shoulder or not.  Don't care.  Don't care.  Don't care.  Don't care.  Oh, his phone dropped the call!!!!
     Sigh ... Nope, they called back.
     Ok, time to change to the next train.  If the good Lord is willing and the crick don't rise, he won't be taking the next train.  Otherwise, it's night-night time with the ballpoint.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

In the elements

     This morning on the green line out to Longwood, I noticed this very kind man.

     As people got on an off, he smiled, moved out of the way and was a generally nice human.  And then I took a closer look.  Thin hat in hand, no coat (20 degrees out), tools in his pockets, paint or plaster splattered on his work pants, tired kind eyes.  It made me think about all the men and women outside working in this cold, working with their hands, working unnoticed.
     I thought about my baby brother, the roofer.  His hands so strong, his back so screwed up from a life of very, very hard work.  When we were kids, my brother was a drummer.  He used to write stories.  With those beautiful hands. 
     I wonder what this man wanted to be when he was little.  And I pray he's warm while he's working.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


     It's a trifecta this morning of the Flying V ... They're so close we could play 4 square together.  (I use that reference not knowing if this recess game is universally played now or even played at all anymore.  When I was little in Ohio, it was all the rage on the playground.)

Un ...

Deux ...

Trois ... (The snowman concurs.)

Have a good day out there people!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Long johns

     I dress warmly for the walk to the train, train to work, lunchtime foray and then homeward bound.  This time of year, that means long johns.  Unfortunately, taking that preparation overheats me on the train home.  I'm sitting here now wishing to strip them off.  But that then defeats the purpose of being warm on the walk home.  So instead, I'm stewing in my own drippings surrounded by humanity.  And we are packed in:

(Standing shot). 

Monday, December 9, 2013

First Snow

     It's very solemn this morning on the train.  As though the dusting of snow we got last night has made people realize that winter is finally here.  Even the trains are running slowly in solidarity.  Or perhaps the students are in their finals push, getting ready to depart for Christmas break ... Maybe that's why it's so quiet.
     Maybe this afternoon will bring more excitement.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Update ... Miracle achieved!

     So, if you've been keeping up as the story has unfolded, then you will know by now that the amazing, wonderful, fabulous has happened.  My dear friend Amy has reached her goal, in a little less than two days.  Thanks to the generosity of spirit and wallet ... friends, family and strangers made a miracle happen.  
     You did it. 
     You really did it.
     Thank you, thank you, thank you.

     I am new to this Facebook world, this blogging world.  I did not know that so much joy and happiness could be achieved so quickly.  If I had been in her shoes, I wouldn't have known this was even possible.  I wouldn't have had the strength to ask for the help.

     Thank you.  Amy says it brilliantly here in her most recent update:


Thursday, December 5, 2013


     As mature adults (theoretically), we're not supposed to say "life isn't fair."  If the words slip out, some hardened cynic nearby will pop up out of the bushes and Burgess Meredith style say, "of course not, kiddo .. Life sucks then you die."
     But life is neither fair or unfair.  This path we're all on twists and turns and leads and pushes us in directions that we never imagined when we were little.  Very few if us are exactly where we wanted or thought we'd be, but you try to find happiness, or at least some measure of comfort, and keep walking the path.
     This morning, a dear friend from a million years ago, made a painful announcement that she may lose her house without a miracle.  Her path has been twisting, job losses and a parental death, and although she's been attending to the payments, a tree root on the path has caused her to trip.  And now she stands to lose everything.
     Many, if not most of us, are in situations that could become eerily similar, if placed under the same circumstances.  We may want to believe that we're beyond living paycheck to paycheck, but do we have a sizeable savings set aside?  6-12 months of utility payments? Groceries? mortgage payments?  I know I'm not there.  This frightens me, and quite honestly, made me stay at a job that was physically taking a toll on me ... This fear of losing what we'd worked so hard to give the children one day.  
     So, I'm sitting on the train this morning and thinking about my dear friend ... A woman who has given selflessly over the years to friends, family, her special needs students, and I am praying for her miracle.

Two websites to consider (the first is my friend, the second is financial advice):



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

At the Door

     Every Monday through Friday, in the morning, she sits at the windows at my home base subway station selling the Boston Herald.  She's been doing this for many, many years.  And every morning we smile at each other and wish a happy weekend or a good day to each other.  I don't interrupt when others are purchasing or talking to her, just a head nod or a little wave.  We don't know each other's name, but we can be pleasant and offer comfort just the same.
     I don't say dickish things like, "try to stay warm" or "boy, it's raining today."  She's many decades older than me, making her living in front of those windows.  The elements coming in constantly.  I worry, as she could be my mother's age ... And when I go down that road, I spiral far too quickly out if my mind.  She calls me "my friend," and I cherish that.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Finest

     I hope your holiday weekend has been restful.  I took a little train trip out to explore/time the journey to my next branch.  I was rewarded with this:

Yes, his pants have Lucky the leprechaun from the Lucky Charms cereal and the phrase "magically delicious" all over them.  Magical, indeed.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tell Me a Story

     After singing in the car, my second favorite way to amuse the children when we're on a long drive is to play the "tell me a story" game.  I'll point at a pedestrian, construction site, car, etc., and ask them to tell me the story behind the scene.
     We start off with the usual or easy ones ... They're in a trip ... She's going to a meeting ... It's a new strip mall.  Once those are out of the way, they can imagine the hidden story better.  Like ... They're running from the law, taking as much as could fit in the station wagon ... She's a spy on her way to meet her contact ... It's an unsuspecting grocery store on the outside to mask the hell mouth underneath (that one's mine).
     It's more interesting to play on the subway.  So ...

Tell me a story ...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hat & Gloves

     It was 19 degrees when I left the house, with a wind chill of 5 degrees.  I am dressed completely appropriately for the weather - good coat, scarf, hat, gloves ... And I will admit, long johns.  I don't feel it necessary to be cold, if I don't have to be cold.  Many of my fellow passengers are dressed the same.  But some aren't.
     Rather than believe it's all due to vanity, those men & women that refuse to mess up their hair, it's probably financial.  For that reason, I'm quite sad.  I've seen mothers shuffling bundled children on and off the train this morning, but their own coats leave much to be desired.  It makes me want to take them aside and ask if they need help.  But how would I interpret that move if the shoe was on the other foot?  Better to find less overt and more appropriate moments in which to act. 
     I've always been a big proponent of wearing a hat & gloves ... Many people over the years at work have heard me go on and on.  Everyone assumes it's because of my children, my desire to nurture and mother the world.  Actually, if you deal with uncertainty as a child; from hunger, or housing, or transportation, or potential parental abandonment or death ... You tend to worry, to prepare just in case.  Keep those gloves or an extra hat in the car.  What if your car breaks down and you have to walk.  Keep several days worth of food (or more) in the house.  What if there's an emergency or your neighbor needs help. 
     When I was little, our family cars would often break down, leaving us stranded.  I can remember my mother deciding whether to take us with her when she ran an errand.  She would have to mentally decide ... bring us and have help carrying the groceries, or leave us and know we were safe.  So much goes through my head even now as the temperature drops.
     So please, for me, please ... Put a hat on.  Love ... Heather

Friday, November 22, 2013

Both Sides

     Lest ye think I am ignoring both sides of this issue:

     There are plenty of women out there that take up more than one seat, too.  (For some, it's not just about the purse.  But I digress.). I would have taken a forward facing photo, but I know with 100% certainty that this woman could kick my ass ... And not just because I'm still sick.  She could kick it all day, every day.  I've made it a point in my life to avoid outright conflict for several reasons, from my own desire to not go to jail, to not wanting to end up in the hospital.  My track record shows that I've been a good judge of my situation and any potential participants.  I'm going to keep my pristine record.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recent Pictures

The Flying V in all its glory.

Nosey Nellie

This is a Nosey Nellie:

     The whole ride, he vacillated between the smart phone on one side and the book on the other.  He made no attempt to be discreet about it either.
     When I was a little girl, my mother told me it was rude to read/watch over other peoples shoulders.  Keep your eyes front and forward.  To this day, if I catch my gaze wandering the guilt switch my mother implanted at birth triggers, and I immediately correct my error.  Front and forward.

Monday, November 18, 2013


     I overheard a conversation on the way home that I found both interesting and sad.  This college-aged looking couple, male and female, we're discussing their lives, stress and a mutual friend.  During the discussion, the female mentioned that the mutual friend seemed depressed all the time.  She had talked to this person about trying to find happier things to focus on.  Then she mentioned that she didn't want to use the word "depressed" for fear that the friend would both feel stigmatized by the word, and actually become really depressed.  As though her voicing the word would give the notion power.  I was amazed by this thought process.
     Then the male mentioned that his cousin was sounding depressed during a recent phone call.  He said he wasn't really sure even though the cousin had told him he didn't want to live anymore.  The female sort of gasped, and the male told her it was probably a ploy by the cousin for attention.  And with that, they continued on another topic, as I got off the train.
     The whole conversation made me sad.  Mental health issues are prevalent and shouldn't be trifled with or poo-poo'd away.  Very rarely will someone come right out and ask for help, as in the above example.  I had sadness for the cousin who needs help, for the male who may lose someone he cares for, and for the female who felt as though she shouldn't or couldn't voice her concerns.

Friday, November 15, 2013


     There was almost a middle aged woman throw down on my morning train.  Picture this:
     Snooty woman, all matching black ensemble with a hat that's got fur around the edge.  She's seated.  Another woman gets on, dressed regularly with a large bag that says "St. Marten, the friendly island." She's got really long hair, down almost to the small of her back.  She stands in front of snooty, and her hair (as I've mentioned before with my own hair) flys out towards Snooty.  Snooty pushes it aside and says something like "your hair."  St. Marten takes this as a compliment, smiles and thinks they're about to engage in a pleasant conversation.

     Snooty: your hair. It's in my face. 
     St. M.: what ... Oh, uh sorry.
     Snooty: be careful.
     St. M.: excuse me?
     Snooty: I'm allergic.  I'm sure we don't want me to start sneezing on here.
     St. M.: whatever.
     Snooty: I said, I'm allergic.

     St. Marten turns away. The train comes to Snooty's stop. St. Marten refuses to step to the side to allow her to get off.  This causes Snooty to have to inconvenience herself with an additional step.  As he leaves, St. Marten takes her seat and smiles.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fart Cloud

     This morning the train air hung heavy with some pretty intense farts.  Someone on the train was either having some internal dilemas or did not give two fucks about the people around them.  It was so strong, that when I got off the train, it was like it followed you.  An amoeba fart ... One long fart tendril wrapping around you.
     When I got to work, I could still smell it, like it had worked up into my poor battered sinuses and was going to hang out, like some kind of fart parasite.  A long stinky day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Part Zwei

     The trip home was particularly challenging.  I just missed the red line ... as in, trying-to-fish-my- pass-out-of-my-purse-as-the-train-pulls-away-from-the-platform just missed it.  Then the green line, that I mercifully only have to take one stop, was so packed with warm humanity that I thought I was going to vomit.  I had to do my fake Lamaze breathing to try and still my tummy. (I call it Hamaze - Heather + Lamaze - created during the first pregnancy when we couldn't go to a class because of our retail schedules and no car.)
     Then when I got on the blue line, I just scored a seat when the warm humanity followed me on board.  The train was so hot, add to it the people jammed up against each other, my warm coat, the train rocking up and down, no air flow ... do you see where I'm going with this.  I could feel the nausea well up, so I closed my eyes to calm myself.  When I opened them, who was jammed up together in front of me?  My German family.  The father was carrying the little girl, her possible twin brother was at his knees, the older son was behind him holding onto his mother who I could hear but not see.  Thankfully, the man seated beside me jumped up and offered it to the father, but his little girl wouldn't sit, so I motioned for the little boy to sit instead.  I offered my seat, but still she wouldn't budge from his hip, so the father remained standing.
     And then I thought, please God, don't let me throw up on these children.  The train jostled and lurched, feeling as though it was getting still warmer.  The little boy was eating a granola bar.  When he finished, he tugged on his father and tried to hand him the wrapper.  His father just laughed, desperately trying to hold onto the daughter with one hand (plus coat and book bag) and the rail with the other.  I laughed then gently took the wrapper from his hand, folded it and put it in my purse.  I said, "no matter how old they are, they're all the same."  The father said, "I take it, you speak from experience."  Oh yes, yes I do.
     All the while, my internal monologue was still playing ... pleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGodplease GodpleaseGodpleaseGod ... not on the children.  On the snotty chick next to me who thought I didn't offer up my seat and wanted to make a "show" of offering up her own to the father.  Ok, I can throw up on her.  No, no, of course I don't want to throw up on anyone.  Thankfully, we got to Maverick station which usually clears out a large portion of the train and my German family got off, too.  Now I could breathe a little easier.  But I still thought about puking on the chick next to me.


     I'm not feeling well.  Not at all.  But I'm going to work.  Now before you yell at me, hear me out. 
     I've always had a problem with staying home when sick.  Not for other people, just for me.  I do have a couple absolutes: fever and vomiting.  Unless either or happened hours before and I feel a little better ... Then I go.
     Some of my reticence comes from my mom.  She never stayed home sick.  Of course, she was a single mom raising us on an hourly wage with no health insurance.  If she didn't go, there was a good chance we wouldn't eat.  Long since salaried, I still feel like even though I get sick time, I should rarely use it.  Or I should save it in case I get really sick.  
     I had a boss who would chide me from time to time, but she was a poor example herself, and I worried she would see it as a sign of weakness if I stayed home.  And if you were weak, you were out.  From time to time, I've gone because I worried that it wasn't fair to my team ... Not that they couldn't handle the work without me, but that I should be there for them.
     So, I'm trudging my way in and hoping that I don't get to much grief over it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

German Family

     There's this cute German family that is often on the train on my commute in: mother, father and three kids.  All the children look to be under 7, and the two youngest may be twins.  How do I know they're German?  They speak what sounds like German to each other throughout the trip.  So, they could be really hammering home education or it could be Austrian ... I call them my German family.
     I see them once or twice a week, and most of the time, they're just calmly getting the kids on and off the train, each with their own tiny backpack.  Mom hands out little ziplock baggies with breakfast treats.  One morning it was pancakes.  Sometimes, they all get off at the same stop, sometimes dad takes the eldest one direction and mom the younger two another.
     The first day I really noticed them, the eldest got his backpack strap stuck in the bench at the subway stop.  His mother was furiously trying to pull it out, as the father stood holding the subway door open and keeping the two younger ones inside the car.  Finally, she pulled out a small knife from the pocket of her coat, cut the strap free, and they both ran aboard.
     A couple of weeks ago, either mom was sick or away and dad had to wrangle all three.  I did not envy him ... Three small kids, subway changes, three backpacks, hats, coats, etc. He did it though, like a million single mothers and fathers do every day.  There weren't any little baggies that day, though.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Food for Thought

     Here's an interesting article that a friend of mine brought to my attention and should spark some conversation.  How far does our right to privacy extend?  Or is this guy just full of crap?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thank You, Mr. Bike Rider

     On the way out of work, I have to cross the street to get to my t-stop.  There's a pedestrian crosswalk, and most of the time, the cars stop patiently while I scramble across.  I'm not one of those slow walkers ... the kind that you want to ease up on; I move quickly, and I say thank you.  Mama raised me right.
     Tonight, I stepped up to the crosswalk and three cars zoomed past me.  As they passed, I stepped off the curb and saw several bicycles coming.  I paused for them, and the lead cyclist, cigar in mouth, jaunty cap and hipster look, came to a complete stop, while the others passed me.  I was so impressed that he stopped, I stopped to say thank you.  And by stopping, I didn't get pancaked by the bus that sped through the crosswalk.
     So thank you again, Mr. Bike Rider for obeying the traffic rules.  Be safe getting home.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pictures & A Sleeper

     The guy next to me on the way home was very, very tired.  As the ride progressed, he was leaning further and further forward.  Thankfully, he wasn't leaning on me.  This is how I left him ...

     The pole is clearly helping me out, and for that, I'm very grateful.
     Also on the trip home, the man across from me was quite comfortable with and committed to his relationship.  Nice to see.

     And we have the evolution of seat hoarding ...

     To this ...

     And we'll end with a tutu.

Friday, November 1, 2013

An Old Friend

     I was pleased when I got to the Government Center t-stop one evening this week and saw an old "friend."  I know him not by his name, but by the brochures he hands out and the placard he wears.  It's a large rendering of the fiery pits of hell, complete with some sinners in agony.
     The old placard used to say something like "Are you saved?" Or "You're going to hell" or something like that.  Years ago when I worked downtown, I had to pass by him on late nights in order to get to my train platform.  I'm a fairly agreeable sort, and when strangers talk to me, I tend to answer them, or at least acknowledge them.  I don't like to ignore people.  This has, from time to time not resulted in the best possible outcome, but it makes for a good story.
     One night, after having had the pamphlets shoved in my face a couple times, instead of just saying "No, thank you," I said "I'm good. I'm saved."  He questioned the authenticity of said salvation, asking if I was Catholic.  When I said no, he scoffed and told me that I had been led astray ... as only Catholics were getting in.  I disagreed and quickly realized that we weren't going to have a legitimate theological discussion.  So, I excused myself and went on my way.  And thus the weekly "conversation" was born.
     I don't know what I was expecting.  I mean honestly ... did I really think I was going to have an open minded two-way conversation involving a real exchange of thought with a guy wearing a sandwich board painted with flames.  There are other examples I could use, but I think when you've crossed that threshold, where you leave the house with the sandwich board - you're kind of committed to your particular ideology, and no matter how persuasive I am, I'm probably not going to be able to spark new thought in you.
     So, for months after our little exchange, when I walked past him, he'd remind me that I wasn't saved.  I'd call back, "Yes, I am."  "No, you're not," back and forth we went.  Very mature on my part I know, but I didn't want this guy to pass his judgment without me getting a word in - even if I looked a little crazy doing it.
     It made me smile to see him this week.  It remains to be seen if we'll take up round two.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Small Aside

     While in NYC, there was an active film crew on the street where my hotel was located.  All the pedestrians seemed rather nonplussed, probably because there's somebody filming on every fifth street in that city.  They were filming inside the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, so that means it was surely some version of Law & Order/CSI/SVU, etc.  What was interesting to me, was that I was able to walk what felt like right through the midst of it all.  Craft services was literally set up right on the sidewalk.  An assistant-type walked past me, reminding an actor where to be set up for the next shot.  It was very cool.  The whole operation was there until evening.
     When I returned from a little exploring and walked past them later in the day, two different actors waiting on the sidewalk did double takes when I passed.  When this happened, I didn't think that they were attracted to or appalled by me, but in my heart, I hoped they looked because they were wondering why I wasn't inside waiting for my cue.  Like I could just shift right into the world where I truly belong.  It was bittersweet.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sky Mall Musings

     I've learned a couple things from Sky Mall on these two plane trips in two days.

- There are a variety of Yeti statues for your front yard, if you're so inclined.

- Your pets want you to buy a blanket with their particular breed on it, and it makes them happier when you purchase said blanket.

- People have hungered for a one handed hair cutter that appears to be operated in the same why that the quick chop in the kitchen works - by repeatedly slapping it against your head.

- I had no idea that there were so many kinds of necks, thereby necessitating the need for like 15 different kinds of neck pillows.  In that same vein, there's almost as many devices to "improve your posture" which all seem to work by pulling your shoulders back, but that's about it.

On a side note, the TSA at LaGuardia either take their jobs less seriously than the TSA at Logan do, or they don't feel that I match the profile of someone that needs to be patted down. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Small Trip

     I'm taking a small business trip to NYC for the night; it's exciting and I'm more than a bit nervous to fly.
     Got to the airport with what I hoped would be enough time ... Although I made issues for myself.  I went online in advance to make sure what I could and couldn't bring, but alas, I missed the fine print about the wonderful people at the TSA being able to do whatever they wanted to anyway.
     First, I left my pedometer on my hip ... Necessitating a mini pat down and extra time while that went through the X-ray machine. Second, I left a credit card sized, flat, multi tool in my wallet, necessitating a bag check.  It seems as though the 1 inch sharp side (which he kept calling a blade ... Really?) is against regulations.  I was told I could go back and check my carrying on or go back and mail it to myself.  I will tell you, I was a bit grabby ... Trying to show where it was and explain it was a bottle opener/multi tool. Alas, the officious prig who checked my bag reminded me he was trying to do his job. Not having the time to go back, I "relinquished" it.
     I then found a supervisor who explained to me that he took my concerns seriously and would provide feedback to the powers that be and the website.  Sure.  
     Thank you, sir. I appreciate your dedication and my civil liberties would like to add "fuck you."

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Couple Rules and a Couple Pictures

     I'm going to start making notes on some rules that could help my fellow passengers:

     1.From my limited understanding of train mechanics, sighing loudly does not make the train move faster or propel it forward in any way.

     2.If you want to sit next to me and flirt, I am flattered, truly I am.  But on one of the highest levels of flirting sits proper hygiene.  Ergo, no flirting with the super stinky.

     3.I'm glad you like your headphones and your interesting choices in music. Please sing inside your head.  We can't hear you there.

     4.While on public transportation, it's a good practice to keep your hands away from your face and eyes, and then you should wash when you get home.  Just a thought.

Those are from today.  And now a couple flying v's for your weekend:

(Yes, 3 spots ... You're counting correctly.)

Flying V = the spread eagle seating style that many men take while on the train; providing copious testicle space; boxing out the competition

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ride Home

     I love the righteously indignant look that some rich, older, white women get on their face when you don't cow to them.
     She was nearest the door to get on at Government Center and clearly on her way to the airport, with the rolling luggage, purse and additional bag.  When the train pulled up, she didn't have her shit together, so the two guys to the left moved forward as the doors opened. She tried to block their path with the purse and pummel her way through, but they dodged the attack and continued.  Then she let out an enormous sigh and tried again, but to no avail.  Two guys = 1, well heeled lady = 0. 
     She still got a seat right away, but she sat there with the most marvelous look on her face for the whole trip.  Precious.


     Has this ever happened to you?  You're out in the busy world, and you swear you just caught a glimpse of someone you know? But someone from a lifetime ago, or someone that there's no way in hell could be here because they live in like Fiji, and you wouldn't bump into them on a crowded subway platform during morning rush hour.
     This morning, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw my mom.  I turned to get a better look. Same almost bob haircut, steel gray with still quite a bit of brown (the genetics that allow me to not have dyed my hair yet), slight frame, tiny.  I stood still on the platform and almost called out "Mommy?"
     And then I started softly repeating to myself ... She's dead Heather, she's dead  ... It's not your mother ... She's dead.  After this registered, I went on my way.
     I've seen her once or twice before in my old store.  Her haircut and body type must be common for women of a certain age.  The last time, she was so painfully similar, I almost touched the poor, old woman to see if she was real.  Thankfully, I removed myself from the sales floor for a while in order to restrain myself and not give her an aneurysm.  But I was shot for the rest of the day.  Useless to the living.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cattle Call

     This morning I had a chance to board a jam packed train where I would have stood on the step, putting my face an inch or so away from the ass end of the sweatpants of the woman in front of me. 
     I chose to wait for the next train.  I believe I chose ... Wisely.
     Also, we got a bit jammed up on the way home.  Here's a shot of the cattle:

     I'm waiting for a chance to surge through.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bonus content

     On the trip home now, I had to stop and check to make sure I didn't have snot hanging out of my nose or too much cleavage showing, as yet again, there was a guy staring at me and gesturing from time to time in my direction.  It could give a girl a complex!
     To my right was a 6' plus half Amazonian half albino chick with a gigantic purse/piece of luggage in her lap, to my left a guy possibly related to Jabba the Hutt with a no lid on a LARGE cup of something with whipped cream on the top.  No lid ...  on a bouncing train ... It was hot ... I repeat, no lid.
     And the guy across the way was staring at me.  I think I was the punch line in the middle.

Morning Fun

     We were a bit more crowded this morning than normal, leading me to wonder what was going on and why I didn't get the memo.  A host if new characters ...

     This guy, who alternated between hitting me with his backpack/elbow and farting ever so gently.

     And the guy with the sour puss at the door who kept staring at me (I thought it too brazen to take a picture of that!).  It all culminated with taking the pointy end of an umbrella to the chest on the stairs at Park St.  It's not even raining, people.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Eyes Wide Open

     I met a man today with amputations from the knees down on both legs.  He was a perfectly lovely man who needed a little help with an ATM, and I was happy to oblige.  We chatted amicably for a few minutes, and then he drove his motorized chair out the door and into the sunlight leaving me to reflect.
     We often speak about pain tolerance.  Mine is pretty high, but when I hit it, it becomes an effort to maintain my composure.  I'm an actor though so, carry on, carry on.  Earlier this afternoon, I was thinking about how much my knees hurt.  Each step forward, I could hear the grinding; I know they're swollen, warm to the touch.  I could feel my threshold rushing up on me.
     We all have something, and for so many, it's much, much worse than I can even imagine. Please don't think I'm saying you should just soldier on and never complain. Oh no!  If raging against the dying of the light helps you get through a rough patch ... Rage, rage on.  Ask for help. Take pain pills. Seek alternative therapy.  Do whatever helps you through.  Life is too short to suffer.  But inevitably, as bad as you think yours is, there is always a darker side of the fence in your neighborhood.  It's not pity that we seek, but empathy and compassion.
     And the man I met this afternoon helped me to reflect on that.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


     I got on the red line and made my way to the one seat open.  I know I'm only traveling 3 stops, but I'm going to be on my feet all day ... So, I'm sitting now while I can. 
     That seat is next to a spread eagle guy with a bag on the floor, 1/3 of his leg on my new seat, handheld gaming device and big feet.  As I sit, I excuse myself, but he doesn't move.  I sit, clearly with my leg touching/on his leg.  I try to get some purchase with my feet, knocking his ... Doesn't move. I'm smushed against the pole on my right, his thigh on my left, and I'm cramping in my foot.
     And then ... The ceiling starts dripping on him.  He initially thinks it's me, but after I point to the drip, turns back to his device.  Every time the drip hits him in the back of the neck, he swats at himself.
     So, he didn't move, and when I stood up, his bag strap tripped me, but he was really annoyed and wet for a couple stops.
     And then I came above ground into the mother of pearl gray sky of my beloved city.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Leg Wall

Thank You, God, that I was able to be near the door that opened on the way home.  Because when that door made way, I got to grab a seat (my back and knees have had a long day).  And that seat meant I didn't have to stand in the dreaded wall o' leg:

Yes, that is what I get to look at until it clears out in a couple stops.  We're a little tight this evening.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Night Time

     It's rather disconcerting coming home later in the evening on the train by yourself.  First, there are fewer people around you (unless after a sporting event lets out). Although this sounds good initially, that old adage about safety in numbers rings true.  Getting off the train in a moving carpet of people is quite different then getting off all by yourself on a dark platform with only the sound of your own shoes following you.  Second, when you live a little outside the city, the windows on the train are darkened which adds to the spooky factor.  Third, the trains take longer so you're standing on the lonely platforms longer.  And fourth, the walk home in the dark by yourself is great on the nerves.
     I used to love to be out by myself in the dark, when I was much younger, when I thought I was invincible.  But life and circumstances can take something pleasurable and twist the shadows and sounds around you into your fears.  That's another reason I don't understand why so many people have headphones in all the time.  They can't possibly hear that rustle just behind them, that person rushing just outside their periphery.  My mother used to say, "I know those shoes are pretty, but can you run in them."  It's a comforting mantra in the dark.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Car Time

     I had to attend a meeting outside the city today, so no train time.  I was driving down the road ... latte in cup holder, NPR on the radio, no stretched out male smushing up against me, chatting to me happily out loud ... and I thought to myself:

     "Self, I remember this fondly.  Hmmmm, maybe we miss this aspect of life."

     It all came back to me on the commute home.  I offered to drive a fellow meeting participant back into the city and drop him off at South Station.  I was going that way, I argued to myself.  Why not?  After all, it's exactly 7.7 miles from this T-stop to my front door. 

     It took me 30 minutes to get from the meeting to the station (15 miles), and then ANOTHER 1 hour and 15 minutes to get home after I pushed him out the passenger door.  I will take the train, with its lack of cup holders and abundance of slightly sweaty weirdos in exchange for forward momentum.

Today's Picture Pages

Crowded train, 2 seats & spread out

And ...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thanks for Nothing

     I talk to myself a lot. It's comforting, I work things through and probably, I'm losing my mind. It must be a slow process though, since I've been doing this for decades.
     The walk to the train is a little less than a half mile, so I can "go over" a lot in that time. And I'm always aware of my surroundings - safety first. This is why I don't understand those women, and men, who have headphones in constantly.  There's no way they know what's going on outside of their bubble. Hey, music is supremely important to me, too, but I don't have to fill every moment of my existence with sound ... But, I digress.
     I had reached the crosswalk, passed through the first 2 lanes (no one coming) and was in the middle median. Now, I don't know if that light is about to change, and I have 2 lanes full of cars to my right, so I hit the "pedestrian walking here" button. Immediately, the guy in the pole position starts screaming at me. 
     "Don't hit the button! Just walk! What's wrong with you!"
     This throws me out of my quiet, lips barely moving while I'm talking, revelry. I scurry across, turn my head back and scream, "there's no need to yell at me!"  The woman sitting next to him shrugs and smiles. The light turns green; they speed on their way and out of my life.
     But not really.  To paraphrase a joke I heard a long time ago, he flapped his wings momentarily and fucked my morning up. And I know I'm supposed to find my zen spot and let it go, but he screwed up my train of thought. So, thank you, sir ... And have a nice day.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hair Folly

I have long hair; always have, always will.

My old standard of when it was time to trim was when my hair would get stuck in the car door - as sometimes the hair has a mind of it's own and flies around behind me.  Occasionally, when I sit on the train, parts of said hair will reach out and land on the shoulder of my seat mate.  I always apologize and wrangle it back in.  Today, I didn't notice the landing on the girl to my right. My hair wanted to make a new friend with her headphones.  What followed was an interesting tug of war between she and I; me trying to get my straggler home, her trying to keep the headphone in her ear.   I won, and the follicles returned home.

Yes, today we have a new standard.  We're trimming this week.

Friday, October 4, 2013

AM thoughts

     I had spread eagle man sitting next to me, zipper down crotch forward man in front of me and gigantic suitcase man to my right. It's like being sandwiched in by tractor trailers on the freeway.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


     I just love listening to languages being spoken well.  The way the sounds roll and bounce, almost caressing you.  It's so pleasing; I don't care what the topic is. You could read an auto repair manual to me in Arabic, and I'd have to fan myself.
     The city is so full of amazing sounds.  This morning two of my coworkers were helping customers with rapid fire Spanish, another was speaking Hindi and I was trying to use my book French to help an elderly Haitian Creole couple, poorly I might add.
     Thank you, Boston.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Picture Pages

                                                               2 men = 4 seats

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I saw a wonderful example of New England stubbornness this morning. 

The train door shut and this guy announced loudly, "IS THIS GOING TO PARK STREET?" Several of us mumbled, yeah ... it's going to Park Street. "REALLY?"  Yeah, buddy ... that's what the map over your head says, the flashing electronic announcement is screaming, and the conductor on the speaker said three times.

Satisfied, he turned and grabbed the metal pole to his right, promptly smacking the woman standing next to him in the face with his coat sleeve.  He apologized, and moved his arm up about an inch on the pole.  Then the whole way to the next stop, his sleeve kept wap, wap, wapping her in the face.  And this is where the stubbornness comes in.  She stood there, refusing to give up her spot near the door.  She just stared straight on through the wapping.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Shoe Love

One of the many positive aspects of commuting is people watching, or more specifically for me, shoe watching.  Each day brings the hope of spying something fabulous, whether I could wear them or not.  It's an almost voyeuristic opportunity to satisfy my love of shoes.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I have many, many, many pairs.  In fact, I haven't counted them in years.  It's better that way psychologically.  Today was a good day.  We had these:

And these:
I'm equal opportunity; heels, flats, mules, boots, sneakers, sandals.  You name it ... I can appreciate it.  Except for flip flops.  But more precisely, it's dirty, gnarly toes and feet that can be seen in flip flops.  I dare you to look, really look at those crappy flip flops on the chick in the grocery store when she walks past you.  I think that Dana Stevens sums it up nicely here:



Friday, September 27, 2013

Unapologetic Hip Check

I pushed a woman while getting off the train today.  I know, I surprised myself when I did it.

Etiquette dictates that as the hordes leave the crowded train, anyone on the platform stands to either side of the door.  But the young woman in question never got the etiquette memo.  She stood her ground, smack dab in the middle of the way ... wearing headphones.  That universal symbol of refusal to participate in society; the magical talisman that protects you from having to give a fuck.

I watched four people in a row have to stop and side step around her, while she stared straight ahead in her headphone smugness.  So, when my turn came, I stepped to the side and checked her with my shoulder as I passed.  I didn't psych myself up for it, and I didn't apologize afterwards.  Probably not the correct multiple choice answer, but it felt really empowering.

It helped that she was shorter than me.