Somehow this week’s interweb web finds are all about Boston, which is appropriate since I’m celebrating 11 years (e.l.e.v.e.n.) of living in this wonderful city I now call home on 9/1.
Speaking of 9/1 — That’s the universal moving-in day for the city. Most students are returning to colleges in Boston right about now, and a majority of apartment leases begin on 9/1. This means moving trucks are all over the city and at least one will be getting stuck trying to get under the bridge on Storrow Drive. This year, we didn’t even have to wait for the day of mass chaos for it to happen. Someone already got stuck on Tuesday. Although it’s not confirmed as a moving truck… if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it’s a duck. I’m sure this won’t be the only time it happens this long weekend.
And while we’re on the topic of people moving into the city… I would like to take this opportunity talk about public transportation etiquette. It’s not hard, but does require a little bit of common sense, self awareness, and being conscious of your surroundings. This is a lot to ask, I know, but it’s not that hard — I pinkie-swear promise. Universities should be holding seminars, and handing out leaflets or something. (Actually, I’d like to hand out leaflets during Red Sox season too, when people who don’t ride public transportation often decide to ride the train. I’m all for using public transit (I haven’t had a car in 11 years), but please don’t block the stairs and doors, and move into the train!!!!)
BostonInno posted some basic MBTA Etiquette, and I have to agree with just about everything they had to say. Now, I will admit that I have broken the “don’t eat your sandwich” rule on occasion, but only in desperate circumstances (like running from one thing to another and if I don’t eat, I’ll probably start gnawing on the arm of the person next to me, and that’s worse. I don’t do hangry well).
I’d like to add a few points to ‘wait your turn’. While it’s important for you to wait your turn to get on while outside the train, it’s equally as important for people on the train to let you out. Standing two deep on the stairwell while a stream of people are trying to get out makes the process of getting off the train longer and more cumbersome. Very simply, if you’re standing in the stairs on the train or near the door on the bus, step outside the train/bus and give people getting off the train/bus some room to leave. By standing right outside the door, this means that you’re first on the train/bus and can move into the space that was vacated before the new people get on! This is a novel concept, and when done correctly can improve everyone’s MBTA experience. Also, if you notice that the person getting off the train/bus may be using a cane, crutches, or is possibly carrying a child, and he or she may need some extra space to vacate the train/bus, and you’re in the isle near the door — MOVE OUT OF THE WAY!!!! — you don’t need to hold onto the handle for dear life when the vehicle has stopped. I watched this happen the other morning. A gentleman who had a cane was sitting in the first seat of the bus. At his bus stop he went to get off the bus and had a bit of difficulty because a guy decided to plaster himself (and his backpack) to the wall and hang onto the bar, for fear he’d lose his spot next to his friend. If he had simply let go of the wall and moved out of the way, the gentleman with the cane would have had a much easier time getting off the bus, and the kid could have STILL stood next to his friend. I’d like to say ‘kids these days’ and blame it on college students, but I’ve seen grown adults do this as well.
Bottom line, be courteous to those around you — we’re all in this together (both on the train/bus, and in the world).
“My awareness of tragedy seems to be heightened. Or, there is simply more tragedy in the world. West Texas. Moore Oklahoma. And on and on…. I don’t think any of us who were there that day will ever experience the degree of normalcy we had before the bombings. I never thought that at 36, I would still have innocence left to be lost.” Dan Solea of Marathon Sports posted his reflection of what happened on 4/15/2013 this week. All you need to do is change the age (32, at the time), and those words perfectly describe what I haven’t been able to wrap my head around and put into words.
The weekend before Marathon Monday is one of my favorites in Boston — the city just vibrates and has an energy that I’ve never felt anyplace else. I may not have been at the Boston Marathon on April 15, but that morning I crossed over the course (~mile 24.8) as I walked to work. Traffic on Beacon Street was very light, as it was almost time to shut it down completely so people could power through into the city to the finish line. The barricades were just starting to be moved into place, spectators were arriving to get their spots on course to watch, and a swarm of police were huddled together, most likely hearing about duties for the day. I haven’t been a spectator on course to watch the marathon in a few years, but I always sit at my desk, a few miles away from the finish line, watching the coverage online and checking in on friends who are running. It was a normal Boston Marathon Monday, until 2:50pm that day, and it hasn’t been the same since.
While I wasn’t downtown when the bombs went off, the events that took place that day and later in the week, in the city I call home, have indelibly changed me – for better or worse. I’ve walked down most of Boylston St. at this point, but it’s taken me a while, and as long as I don’t think about what happened a few months ago I’m okay. I never went to the memorial in Copley Square — I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I still get emotional when I read reflections like Dan’s, or updates about someone who was injured or when they reunite with the person who held their hand or the first responder who tended to his/her injuries, or when I dwell too much about what happened that week. I look at the world differently and can’t quite explain how or why to someone who didn’t experience what went on during that week in April. I honestly hope that no one I know ever finds out what that week felt like — I don’t wish that experience on anyone.
It’s also become a popular tattoo for those who wanted a more permanent tribute to Boston. Chris Padgett, a local photographer, is on a mission to photograph and tell the stories of those who got inked to show support, solidarity, for the city after the bombings. Bled for Boston is his project that will be on display at the Boston Center for Adult Education (where he teaches) in April 2014. If you got inked for Boston: 9/14-15 @ BCAE — “Bled for Boston Open Shoot,” for drop-in portrait sessions.