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Friday, December 30, 2011

Dental Train Wreck

The train has been quiet this week since many have taken this week as a holiday. So, I will reflect upon one of the moments that made me realize that my T riding experiences are not normal. When I had first become a train commuter, I had not yet mastered my “don’t talk to me” face. I boarded the packed T and was on my way to North Station. As I am standing in the aisle holding the handle, a man in his late 30’s looks up at me and says “That is a great back pack!” and I am flattered. I had on my new professional looking Samsonite back pack! I tell the man “Thank you.” thinking the conversation was over and to my surprise it wasn’t.

“I need a new back pack.” He says. My first thought is, great he wants MY back pack, where’s the pepper spray?
I reply back “I am very happy with mine. You can probably order one just like it online.”
“Good because my back pack was stolen earlier today. Ya know what makes me so mad about it?” he asks.
“I have no idea.” I say trying to end the conversation and realizing I’m stuck on the T for one more stop.
“The back pack wasn’t that great but my teeth were in it!”
I don't think I hear him correctly and am puzzled… teeth? Who keeps their teeth in their back pack? “What?” I question to make sure I actually heard that correctly.
“They took my teeth. My top teeth actually. Luckily I have my bottom ones in. See!” as he finishes his sentence, he reaches in his mouth and pulls out his bottom set of teeth proudly showing them off in his hand. He was serious…the thief took off with his back pack and his top set of teeth.

The train came to a screeching halt and that my friends was when I politely said “This is my stop. Good luck getting new teeth!” I flew out the door praying that North Station wasn’t his stop too.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"I'm Going off the Rails on a Crazy Train" -Ozzy

Since this week has been an easy commute, I have been arriving at the office a good 10 minutes early which means at the end of the day, I can leave a bit early to catch the early train home. Well, yesterday I was well on my way to the 510pm train. I was so excited I was going to make the early train. I hopped on the T and was on my merry little way. When I got off the T at North Station I saw what is usually the popcorn stand filled with crazy flash light gear… the kind that are only sold at… wait for it… kid shows! I walk out of the T station and into the train station to find people with programs to some Disney on Ice event. The event JUST got out… just in time for the 510pm train. Awesome. I board the train. 80% of it filled with kids under the age of 5 jacked up on cotton candy and soda. Just great!

I take my seat with what looks to be a commuter in a 3 seater. Another commuter asks me to slide to the middle seat so she can sit. Even though I am in a seat full of commuters, the kids are surrounding us sprinkled with parents and/or chaperones.

Before the train leaves North Station, these people break out into a chant of Hakuna Matata! I know I’m in for it now!!

After Hakuna Matata, a fight breaks out over the middle seat:

“You told me I can have the middle seat. You said! MIDDLE MIDDLE MIDDLE!!!” claims a Whiney Brat
“We’ll take turns.” – Chaperone and/or Mother
“Fine. I’m hungry. I said I’m hungry.” States Whiney Brat
“Who wants raisins?” – Chaperone and/or Dad
“I do.” Shouts a chorus of kids
“What do you say?” Chaperone and/or Mother
“Thank you!” screams a chorus of kids
“Oops. I dropped it.” Says Whiney Brat
“Don’t touch it. Leave it on the floor!” Chaperone and/or Mother
“There is one more. Who wants it?” (Now there’s a Dad who has no idea what he is doing…one more and you have how many kids? This is when you eat the damn raisin yourself and call it a day)

Finally another commuter hisses “SHHHHHHH! Shhhhhhhhh!”

There is quiet for a short period of time!! Thank goodness!!

The Dad starts talking again. “I was deeply disappointed in Jasmine. Such a disappointment.” What was Jasmine his fantasy princess? What grown man is disappointed with Jasmine on ice skates?

The fight for the middle seat continues. “Amanda it’s Layla’s turn.” States the mother. Amanda clearly is not ok with that and states that she was there fiiiiiiirst! (Amanda must be “Whiney Brat”)

The mother is interrupted by a text “Oh I just got a text from work that Friday is wear your pajama’s to work day”
“My version of pajamas and what you actually wear to work are two completely different things.” States the Dad
“HAHA As she shows up to work in a Teddy.” Giggles the dad’s friend (This brings us to the TMI Etiquette train rule- did not need that visual.)

Another kid from the back screams “Oh look! They have monkey bars on the train mom!!” The mother panics and grabs her kid down. “Get down!! Those are not monkey bars! That is for luggage!”

And just around now is when we land at Anderson-Woburn and I have arrived at my stop! Thank goodness. I couldn’t take that any more. As I left the train I gave a sympathetic smile to the conductor and he smiles back and says “At least you’re getting off now. I have another hour!” Poor guy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Train Etiquette 101:

Train Etiquette Tip #1- Hygiene

Prior to stepping on the train, make sure your hygiene is in check. No one wants to smell booze sweating out your pours or the peppers and onions you cooked for dinner last night. Take a shower, brush your teeth, do what ever is necessary to remove foul smells from your body.

Train Etiquette Tip #2- Hygiene (Continued)

Take care of your hygiene before you leave for your trip or morning commute. Shaving, clipping your nails or licking the bleeding cut on your knee are not acceptable on the train. I have to breathe in the air in which your shavings disperse into, walk on the floor your nail clippings fall on and the bleeding knee… please, no one wants to look at that. Ask for a tissue. I’m sure someone has one!

Train Etiquette Tip #3- Give Up Your Seat

I am not saying that men need to give up their seats for the ladies (although, that would be nice), I am saying nothing irritates me more than seeing a pregnant woman, elderly or a disabled person standing while many able bodied people are sitting. To really add fuel to the fire, sit in the designated seat for elderly and/or disabled people. Give up your seat people! It’s just mean to let an older woman on crutches stand on a moving train trying to keep her balance while an able bodied young 20-something sits in the disabled/elderly seat (I witnessed this last week).    

Train Etiquette Tip #4- Children

While children can be the absolute cutest thing, your child screaming is not. Please don’t sit there with your nose buried in the Harpers Bazaar ignoring your screaming kid. Just because you have figured out how to tune out your kid, doesn’t mean the rest of the train has. At least if you are making an effort to sooth your kid, it’s not so annoying.

Train Etiquette Tip #5- Boarding

When boarding a train, stand back and allow the passengers to get off the train first. Don’t try to push yourself through the crowd. This does not secure you a better spot it just makes you look like a jerk.

Train Etiquette Tip #6- Disembarking the Train

If, when disembarking the train you are one of those people that like to hop up as the train is coming to a stop and go running down the aisle you need to know this: If someone stands up and wishes to get out of their seat also, don’t plow them down. Stop and allow them into the aisle too.

Train Etiquette Tip #7- Sleeping

Do not sleep on the train if you are a:
·        Snorer
·        Sleep talker
·        Sleep walker
·        Sleep Snuggler

No one wants to hear you snoring or speaking sweet nothings to no one and by all means, we do not want you snuggling up to us!

Train Etiquette Tip #8- Music

We all love our musical devices. However, keep it at a level that only you can hear. I don’t need to hear “You look better with the lights off” or “Freak on a leash” at 7am.

Train Etiquette Tip #9- TMI (Too Much Info)

We do not need to hear all about your love affairs or how last night so and so hooked up with so and so on the dance floor. Sure the person on the other end of the phone needs to hear this vital information. However, no one on the train needs to hear this over sharing.

Train Etiquette Tip #10- PDA (Public Displays of Affection)

Do not… I repeat- DO NOT start making out on a sardine packed train (or any train for that matter). I do not need to feel like I am seconds away from an unwanted Menage A Trois! 


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Simple Pleasures

As I flew out the door this morning to catch the train, I realized that today may be a day that many take off. Therefore, the train could potentially arrive at the train station early. Even though the train arrives early, it doesn’t wait. I have once before missed my train due to the fact that it’s early and doesn’t wait so I drove at full speed to the station. I arrived and once again, I was one of the few people heading to work this morning. However, I wasn’t joined by holiday travelers either which brings me to the small things in life that bring happiness to ones day. Things such as pulling into the train station at your normal time to find a parking spot right in the front! This never happens (and to clarify for my fiancĂ©, all the other cars I parked next to were nice cars so no one is going to smack their car door into ours). I parked and went directly to the platform. As I’m coming down the stairs, I am 2 minutes early and read “Next Train to Boston Approaching” on the scrolling screen. I think to myself while smiling “It’s a good thing I sped all the way here and got a kick a*s parking spot!” I look to the tracks to see the train blow right by us! Smile, gone! Now, standing on the platform in the form of a human popsicle, I wait.

Finally another train comes to get us. I hop on the train and it’s like the train has redeemed itself for leaving us in the cold. We get seats to ourselves. This again never happens and I actually get to keep mine all to myself all the way to North Station. I didn’t even have to pretend to be “crackberried” when people got on. There were enough seats for everyone to have their own today. It was great.

We arrived at North Station and the hustle and bustle was at a minimum. I went directly to the T and hopped right on. Again, no one was this train either. However, this time, I didn’t take a seat. I have learned the hard way that on the T, when one is sitting, your face is at crotch level to those whom are standing. So, I stood with ample space instead.

 This morning’s train ride definitely made me realize that it’s the little things that really make a difference and a smooth and spacious commute is one of them!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I sure did!

Friday, December 23, 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Coming from New Hampshire, Christmas feels like blissful white snow covering the trees and Christmas lights hung for everyone to see. By now, I’d have a good “Christmas Late Night Drive” under your belt where I drive around and take in everyone’s amazing decorating abilities. However, that is not the case here in Boston. When I was making a mad dash for the door this morning, I couldn’t decide between rain boots or snow boots (It’s raining but it’s 34 degrees). I threw on snow boots (wishful thinking I suppose). As I arrived at the Commuter Rail this morning, I didn’t see my usual commuter buds. I saw suit cases and shopping bags. Poinsettia’s and gift baskets. It was as if I was the only one going to work today. I took my seat on the train and went to Boston being one of the few “commuters” this morning.

When we arrived at North Station, I stood and took a second to take it all in. There was a hustle and bustle of people trying to get to their loved ones with their suit cases and gifts. I listened to Jingle Bells playing on the Salvation Armies boom box as someone played a tambourine. Then, I realized I had probably paused for too long and ran to catch the T. I walk in to hear a saxophone player playing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”. It clicked. “It IS Christmas” I thought. It had all of a sudden hit me.

I boarded the T and road my two stops. The T was packed with first time T riders with their luggage and wide eyes. I hopped off at
State Street
and another musician playing the guitar greeted me with “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree”!

The holiday in the city may differ from my usual holiday in the 'burbs but I am ready to embrace new traditions and a new way of life. I happily walked to my office in the rain with my snow boots on thinking that just because it’s not snowing and Christmas lights aren’t everywhere, it doesn’t mean the spirit isn’t around me.

Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All Aboard....

Welcome! This has been a long time comin'! I finally have a blog of my very own to convey my unique yet, common experiences of a train commuter. About a year ago I moved just outside of Boston and a few months after that, landed my dream job in the city. I assumed I'd just drive in on a daily basis. However, that was completely out of the question with all the traffic. So, I looked at other options. I ended up deciding to take the train. I can pick up the Commuter Rail a few miles from my place. From the Commuter Rail, I can easily hop on the T and from the T, I am magically a few blocks from my office. However, what I didn't anticipate was the wide variety of people I see on a daily basis. I started posting to Facebook daily because each day I was absolutely floored by what people do on a train... a public space! I hope you enjoy my daily adventures. I always do and that's why I love sharing with those who find humor in my daily commute.