11/28/2005

JFK-Downtown Xing/Arlington-JFK

On my mid-morning journey to Downtown Crossing to go to the gym and then do a little "work," I was privileged to view the latest in G-wear. A great big gangsta-looking fellow got on at Andrew Station. He was in the typical baggy jersey and jeans, but his innovation was striking and garnered admiring looks all around: he left the tags on his ballcap and his tennis shoes! Maybe he was on his way to return them, but I think not.

You know, it's true that fashion goes round and round in circles. Wait long enough whatever it was that was once in style will come back. Looking at this fellow I was reminded of childhood Saturday evenings watching Hee-Haw! with Ma and Pa and my kin. Maybe you remember Minnie Pearl. She paid $1.98 for her straw hat, and left the tag on to prove it. Who'da thought gangsta types would pay such a touching tribute to the old dear? Next time you see one of 'em give 'em a big ol' "howwwwwdeeeeeee!"

Hmm.

So there was also a young woman of Indian descent, it seemed to me, with these very intense laser beam eyes, and she was reading today's Metro. My op-ed about Boston's Christmahanukwanzakah Tree was in it, and when I took the seat across from her, she looked up at me and then down at her Metro and then back up at me. She was reading it. I stuck my nose in a magazine I'd brought along for the trip and tried to concentrate on the mess in Darfur I was reading about. One of my nightmare scenarios is someone recognizing me as that halfwit who writes for that awful paper, and then, I don't know, asking me for my autograph or something. No, actually my nightmare scenario is getting on the train, and looking down to discover I'm naked and everyone is pointing and laughing at me. So anyway, I didn't look back at her.

On my way home in the afternoon (I left "work" at 4:30) the train from Park was disgustingly packed. You know, it's hard enough to be that close to strangers in the morning, but at least in the morning you're sort of fuzzy-headed and in your own shortsighted bubble. By the afternoon commute, your nerves are razor sharp. Peoples' voices are like shards of glass ripping through your frontal lobe. The sight of them is like sewing needles rammed repeatedly into your eyeballs. And the touch, the touch of them--an unspeakable violation--like planets colliding in the nuclear conflagration of the sun.

On the platform at Park Street were two Mexican buskers, playing guitar and singing a Spanish ballad that would make you weep. But after four or five minutes they switched to a very edgy--I would even say aggressive--sort of grunge version of "Feliz Navidad". I think they started playing it when one of the Northbound trains pulled in. They were hoping to get some contributions, maybe, but I thought it needed some work. And you could tell it was a little shout-out to the gringos in the crowd.

There was a twenty-something guy on the little island platform right across from me, listening to his ipod, and twitching and jerking around like a robot. I don't think it was intentional--he wasn't break dancing or anything. And anyway, he was very, very white. One of these redheads with the alabaster skin. He looked like he was having a petit mal seizure.

I saw several people with their ipods when I got on the train. There was a girl reading some "process analysis" and rocking out. She was on a section headed, "how to dump a friend."

I have a friend who has one of those new ultra thin ipods. Wow, is it sleek and sexy. You see one of those, and then you look at those clunky old antiquated models from last year. Well, it might as well have been two thousand years ago. All the sudden the big stupid white ones look pretty naff, don't they?

The afternoon commute took exactly 25 minutes. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

A note on the new format here: People were becoming very fixated and literal-minded about the times I was recording, as if that were the chief point of this blog. It was only an aspect, but I bear the blame for highlighting it too prominently. Some people (mainly the snarkocracy) will focus on the most superficial, easy to grasp bits, and snark snark snark away at you. "You didn't wait that long!" "What are you complaining about?" "Why are you wasting your life?" These are just a few of the FUCs (Frequently Uttered Criticisms) I have been getting from the peanut gallery lately. And when one of them said something to the effect of "you brought it on yourself," I thought, well, I guess he (or she--another of those anonymous snarkoleptics) is right, so I'm sort of integrating the wait into the rest of the narrative.

As for the FUCs:

"You didn't wait that long!"

The relative nature of time has been a commonplace for nearly a century. To say "you didn't wait that long" is like when you punched your little brother in the eye and he wailed like a banshee and you got kind of scared he was gonna tell on you, and said: "that didn't hurt that bad!" I guess it's in the (black) eye of the beholder, innit?

"What are you complaining about?"

The T. We're still struggling to grasp this concept. I think part of the problem here is that I got that free advertising in The Herald. It was a blessing and a curse, to be sure.

"Why are you wasting your life?" or "It's a shitty way to spend your life."

Remember when you were a kid, and you hid under the table, but your legs were sticking out, and you thought because you couldn't see mommy, she couldn't see you? Or sometimes you wondered if other people just ceased to exist when they were not in your presence. Remember? (Hold that thought--I'm gonna come back to it in a minute!)

It takes me about an hour, an hour and a half a week to maintain this blog. It takes me about two seconds to jot down my departure and arrival times when I'm on the train. That leaves me roughly--what?--166.5 hours a week to devote to other things, like, well, life.

When I read those sorts of comments, I think, wow, whoever wrote them must never do much of anything if they think this is my life's work. I mean, this is a pretty meager little blog when it comes right down to it. If you think it takes all my time, I shudder to think what you must (not) be doing with yours.

I am not soooo T-obsessed or this blog would look more like badtransit.com, bless their hearts. I was just pissed off at the T one day, and told this friend I was gonna start a blog. She said "call it T-rage!" and I did. And I made this little logo here I thought was kinda clever, and, like, a week later, got a call from the Herald. I have a couple other blogs (check 'em out--links are on the right under MENNONNOANA--if this one bugs you, you'll HATE the other ones, guaranteed), and aside from writing those, I have time to do all sorts of things. The possibilities are almost endless! Woo-hoo!

The point here being, just because this is all you know of me doesn't mean this is all there is to me. Most psychologically normal adults understand that other people exist in real time and space just like they themselves do. As for the unfortunate few who have not grasped this: please, please, for the love of God, stop writing me.

2 Comments:

At 11/30/2005 10:23 PM, Anonymous drz said...

In regards to the problem of having to get too close to undesirable others on the T: the answer has to do with T-etiqutte, or lack thereof. Most of the interaction and communication between T riders is nonverbal, which seems to lead to the sense that anything goes in this alternate universe.

One can choose a variety of tactics to try and combat bad T behavior:
1. The GLARE: since people don't really look at each other on the T, a somewhat challenging maneuver. One doesn't quite have the ability to use the "Don't even think about it" glare, which, by the way, is very useful on planes when struggling with your neighbor for control of the arm of your seat. However, can be useful in a limited radius, such as when the person next to you tries to sit on your coat.

2. The MAGICAL THINKING approach: to be used when you want to scream at one of your co-riders, but, alas, you would be escorted off the train by security forces if you actually attempted to do so. I recently utilized this approach when encountered with an especially annoying SHRIEKER. I'm sorry, but a thirty something woman who shrieks in a micky-mouse shrill voice should be smacked. I tried to stare at her with my best "Shut the eff up!" glare, but
she pretended not to notice. Then I tried to project a "Her mother has to love her, but why do you?" glare toward her friends. Again, I know they saw me, but continued with their enabling behavior. Then I turned to magical thinking: all I needed to do was scream "Shut up!" and "Please get off the train already!" in my head, and, sure enough, after only 6 more stops the shrill woman and her co-dependent entourage got the hell out of the train.

3. The PUSH: not to be used lightly, but very effective. I experienced an example of this course of action just last week, when an individual who seemed to be on a bender of some kind kept falling asleep on my shoulder, and not in a gentle way. This guy was the type who arouses guilt in the heart of any liberal, since he seemed, um, troubled. "Let it be", I said to myself. "He's not well".
This lasted for about 2 minutes before I had had it, and tried to rouse him with a couple of "excuse me's". Not a budge. From this point, everytime he crashed on my shoulder, I pushed back. Forcefully. Amazingly, he continued to sleep(??)throughout this whole tango.

Yes, these are only partial answers to a chronic problem. But please, people, do your part. Glare and push back. Do not go gentle into that train. Rage, rage against the T.

 
At 12/04/2005 10:34 PM, Anonymous andy said...

This is a really good blog. Its well written and is for a good cause. You should not listen to some of those "FUCs" as you call them. Some people are just idiots. I would like to try and be a writer when i am older. I found this blog in the herald and go to it regularly now for ideas on how to write, and the occasional good laugh. Not everyone who read the Herald article is going to give you unwanted comments.

 

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