Monday, March 31, 2014


     It's a joy to be surprised in the subway.  It helps to smooth a long and tiring day.  Today, I've seen a pug being cradled like a baby on his back by a tall young man in athletic attire.  I walked onto a platform and was greeted by "the opera guy" singing selects from Handel's Messiah - well, I might add.  (That was awesome.). I was just going to miss one of my connections, but the guy in front of me shoved his arm through the door to wedge it open; A. I got on the train, B. I didn't see his arm get cut off.

Two more in the plus column for today.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 4

     It's day 4 of the Government Center shutdown, and the only reason I mention anything was that I noticed a helpful T employee at Haymarket station who was offering guidance ... She was yelling out, "straight ahead and down the stairs to the green line" over and over and over.  Some guy walked up and said, "excuse me. Which way to the green line?"  With the same tone and strength, he got her town crier phrase full face on.  Awesome.
     Also, this morning the train conductors stopped announcing that Government was closed and get off here if you want to connect with "X" line.  Like it dawned on them that they'd be saying this for 2 years.  So, good luck if you're visiting Boston in the near future, and welcome!

     On a side note, I'm compiling a mental list of things if like to imagine I could do to make more room for myself on a crowded train:
- pick my nose
- speak in tongues
- speak in tongues to my purse
- lay down on the seats in the fetal position 
- change my clothes piece by piece into exact copies of what I'm already wearing
- learn to juggle
- set up a pop-up pup tent

I need to put my thinking cap on.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Today's Observations

     Amusing things from today:

Spread out guy -

Mom of the day (notice the distance between her and the stroller, the headphones and the concerned looks from fellow passengers) -

     And a young, well dressed, Asian woman sitting next to me on the way home opened her large purse, pulled out a piece of gum, unwrapped it and threw the wrapper on the ground.  Did I mention it was a large purse?  I looked at her for a couple seconds, but she stared straight ahead and ignored me.  No swooping down to pick it up for me, as I didn't want to put my face in the crotch of the guy in front of me.  Apparently, littering is across socio-economic boundaries.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


     Yesterday marked the start of the 2 year construction project that the MBTA has undertaken with the Government Center t-station.  It needs new electrical, new walls, handicap access ... the list goes on and on.  Apparently, it was a death trap, and the tens of thousands of us that used it every day were lucky.
     If you don't live here, the solution to shutting down a major hub that services 2 lines, is to get yourself to a turn around spot and take another train that hooks up with your original line.  It sounds worse than it is; it's mostly just inconvenient.  (I would feel differently though if I were navigating the passageways and stairs with all the kids.)
     I was quite impressed with the morning commute yesterday.  There were  T employees at every connection to guide you, fewer on the trip home.  Today, there's lots of stickers on walls that point the way to go.  I've counted three human guides, so far.  That's the MBTA approach ... How much more help do you need?
     They said to add 10-15 minutes to your commuting time, which was spot on for the trip in, but not so close for the trip home (the trains run less frequently outside of traditional business hours).  Complaining isn't my forte, and who knows where the boss will put me in two to three months, so I should find a more zen-like place.  But I'm not there just yet. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

18 Degrees

     I woke up to a chilly temp this morning, but not everyone got the memo (or checked their phones/tv, or stepped outside to investigate).  This was the norm at the station:

No hats and no scarves.  Mother Nature, do as you must.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


     The walk to the train at night is fairly well lit, and honestly, less than five minutes ... the walk from train to home, a smidge longer.  But I have to admit to you, this almost irrational fear bubbles up when during the walk something triggers my spider sense.
     I'm walking down the better lit office building recess that I've mentioned before, when I hear the familiar sound of a group of men laughing and jostling with each other.  I immediately shifted from under the recess so I'd have running room, if necessary.  Up ahead were four guys, probably all honor students and blood donors, but I was on guard.  They crossed the street and paid me no mind, but for a few seconds, multiple scenarios went thru my mind.  Nothing in this purse is worth fighting over, but let's be honest, it's not really the purse I'm worried about.
     We all have fears that can grip us, twist us to the point of no return - if we let them.  I try to be "rationally" in control always, but sometimes that control is so much vapor.  
     When I was little, I loved the dark - going out at night was exciting.  When I'm at home, the dark is no problem.  I've memorized the footprint of everything, so I can get ready in the morning in the without turning a light on.  This way, I don't disturb the family.  But being alone in the nighttime doesn't hold joy for me anymore; it hasn't for a long time.

Monday, March 17, 2014


     (Photo taken in a still moment.)

     This morning on the train, I was impressed by her happiness.  She was singing along to her tunes, bopping her head and loudly answering the phone, proclaiming her love for everyone that called her.  She swaggered off the train at her stop and took the stairs two at a time.  She was fierce and determined at 7am.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mary Jane

     My walk to work takes me past an office building with a recessed walkway that gives a measure of cover from the elements.  Many early mornings, as I walk that stretch of pavement, I'm struck with the powerful odor of pot.  The young woman stands in a notch in the wall, face forward.  It reminds me of those funny memes where the little kid thinks he's playing hide & seek standing behind the curtain, but his legs are sticking out.  I see you, miss.  You're like ... right there.
     I happen to know that she works at one of the clothing stores in the mall.  So, immediately afterwards, she goes to work.  Now I've not ever been into recreational drugs, but I thought that part of the deal was the recreating.  If you have to get high in order to sell clothes, perhaps this line of work is taking all the fun out of your life ... Or at least you should weigh whether or not to waste your buzz at work.

Monday, March 10, 2014


     By now, most of you out there have read or heard about last weeks MA Supreme Court ruling on "upskirting" and whether or not a woman and her thighs have an expectation of privacy whilst in public.  If you haven't had a chance here is a good snapshot of the situation:

    Hopefully, you also know that the state legislature and the governor stepped in on March 7th:
"Two days after the state's highest court sparked outrage when it ruled that state law allows people to take such photos, Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill today to ban the practice, known as 'upskirting,' " the Boston Globe writes.
     While I agree with my friends and colleagues on the surprising nature of the ruling, and I'm glad that the governor stepped in to protect my nether region, there are other aspects of this situation that I believe should spark further debate.

- the police set up a sting operation in order to catch him ... this sort of procedure by the police has always concerned me.  The guy has pictures and videos of women's crotches.  There are 2 filed complaints about him ... but it doesn't count until you parade a female officer in a skirt in front of him.  Then when he takes that picture, we can prosecute.  What if he hadn't fallen for it?  Would the original complaints just not have mattered?  How far would the police have been willing to go on that skirt length before they would have felt that a line was crossed ... 

- which I hope leads to a conversation about the underlying problem with this ruling.  It's not that legislation hasn't kept up with technology (a camera is a camera, whether it's on a phone, a watch or it's a traditional looking camera).  It's not that I'm not really nude underneath my skirt because there's (theoretically) underwear down under.  It's that our society continues to perpetuate a "rape culture" and all that comes along with it.
     This goes far beyond a privacy matter.  Who would actually question that a woman's skin under her skirt (or a man in a kilt - we haven't mentioned this at all) is a private area.  This wasn't the beach with people dressed in all manner of swimsuits.  Unless you're swinging from one of the poles, I'm pretty sure you have no intention of sharing.  Although it was appropriate for the legislature and the governor to step in (as the media and public reaction reached a tipping point), this further validates my point.  Why does there need to be a special law?  Why isn't it just universally wrong to violate someone's privacy.  Why isn't it just universally wrong to force sexual contact on a woman - whether or not she was out late, whether or not she had a drink or 10, whether or not her skirt was short.
     The state Supreme Court stopped short of saying, "if their skirts had been longer, he never would have been able to take the pictures."  Instead of worrying about whether or not our laws have kept up with technology, perhaps our judicial system, and our society, should fully step out of the dark ages and embrace equal rights for all our citizens.

Friday, March 7, 2014

How interesting ...

     My train is full, but the seats directly on either side of me are empty.  There are two sets of men standing immediately in front of these open seats, but no one wants to make the move to sit down.  Consequently, they're also blocking out people standing on either side if them who clearly don't feel comfortable parting through the men to take the open seats.  I wonder if this is a male ego thing - not wanting to show "weakness" i.e. a desire to sit down?  My coat isn't hanging into the empty seats, so no apparent barricades.  I'm not stinky either, not displaying any apparent craziness, nor am I dressed in cosplay.

     How interesting ...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


     It's been a trying day, and I will admit, a trying couple of ______ (fill in the blank).    As I approached the train station, I could see the train.  It's the end of this particular line, so I know that if I don't catch this one it could be 10 minutes before another one leaves.  I made a mini pact to myself years ago, that I wouldn't sprint for a bus or train anymore, especially through a crosswalk ... But I did pick up the pace substantially, all the while trying to check in at home (another late night).  So when I made it through the turnstile and onto the train, I was breathing a bit hard and perhaps saying "thank you, God" a little too loudly.
     And then a lovely thing happened.  The woman across from my seat struck up a conversation with me.  Just a quick couple of sentences about running for a train, wearing the right shoes, etc.  I shared my mom's belief that you shouldn't own any shoes you can't run in; we laughed.  It was nice.  Then we each turned to our phones, and before you know it, I was switching trains.  Just a lovely moment in a long day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sniffle Song

     This morning on the train, I'm listening to the sniffle chorus that is playing out all around me.  A train full people, and not one tissue amongst them.