10/31/2005

JFK to Arlington via Park/Downtown Xing to JFK

12:03 - arrived at JFK moments after two inbound trains depart
12:20 - whistle blew signaling platform
12:23 - departed JFK, delayed on tracks
12:26 - resumed travel
12:37 - arrived at Park St
12:40 - departed Park St
12:42 - arrived at Arlington

Total commute: 39 minutes
MBTA estimated total trip time: 18 minutes har har har
discrepancy: +21 minutes

Total time in transit: 13 minutes
Total wait: 26 minutes(Frequency of red line trains at midday, according to MBTA: 12 minutes. Frequency of green line trains at midday: 6-10 minutes)

This was a slightly frustrating commute. It is difficult to watch the train leave the station just as you're arriving. It feels like somebody's got it out for you sometimes, doesn't it?

Whenever I'm stuck on a train platform or at a bus stop and the wait seems on the verge of unbearable, I ask Mary and the saints to intercede on my behalf. I do. Mary was working out for me for awhile, but I think she got sick of dropping everything all the time to hurry up the buses and trains for little old me. I can see her in The Halls of Justice with the other Superfriends, the buzzer goes off, and she's like, "oh, it's him again." I would pray to Saint Christopher but the truth is there's been so much confusion about his whereabouts and even his actual existence! The way I see it is, if they're going to decide all the sudden that he doesn't exist then they need to put somebody else in the post, not just leave it empty, for the love of Pete. I mean, don't leave us high and dry here.

There are various and variously qualified candidates. There's Anthony of Padua, for instance, patron of asses, elderly people, and lower animals, all of whom ride the T daily. The poor, the oppressed, and travellers, too. But you always see him fondling and kissing that little kid (like in the picture on the left there). I'm just not sure I want to throw my lot in with a saint like that.

I sort of like the idea of Gertrude of Nivelles. She would be an interesting pick (and I'm not just picking her because she's a woman). Aside from being one of the many patron saints of travellers, she's the patron of the mentally ill and recently dead, and even though that should be plenty enough to qualify her for the post, that's not why I like her, either. This is: she's the patron saint of those suffering Zemmiphobia and suriphobia: fear of rats and mice! According to some scholars, in Cathoplic iconography mice represent souls in purgatory. Gives deeper meaning to waiting for the train in the old rat race every morning, doesn't it?

This midday journey gave me pause to consider "T-time" in more depth, too. It seems that while the ratio of T-time to real time on the platform is about two-to-one, all things considered, it can be as much as five-to-one when you are stuck on a stalled train. What this means is, roughly, every minute that passes feels like five.

I had an exceedingly smooth ride home from Downtown Crossing to JFK right at rush hour, though.

17:04 - arrived at Downtown Xing
17:07 - departed Downtown Xing
17:15 - arrived at JFK

Total commute: 11 minutes
MBTA estimated total trip time: 8 minutes
discrepancy: +3 minutes

Total time in transit: 8 minutes
Total wait: 3 minutes

This was my best time yet. I like to avoid rush hour commutes whenever possible, to tell the truth. Today was unavoidable. I only worked a couple of hours this afternoon, and was feeling fresh as a daisy. And the weather was not to be believed. But heading into the bowels of Downtown Crossing there was this strange admixture of sheer panic and abject defeat you don't see any other time of day. I mean this crowd was whipped. I don't know what these people do for a living, but it looked like they had spent the day having all their marrow sucked out through their eyeballs, along with their vital organs, blood, and essence. Whatever wads they had, they'd shot. All that was left was the husk.

It being Halloween, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised I saw only one (but possibly three) commuters in costume. The one I was certain of was a chubby, sullen-looking witch.

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