Thursday, October 23, 2014

Students' Guide to Public Transportation

Boston's fall season! It's a magical time a year full of anorexic urban foliage

pumpkin spice EVERYTHING

over-exuberant Bruins victory celebrations 

settle down people, we got 80 more games to go for godssakes!

and everyone's favorite - return of the students.

Now many locals absolutely loathe the little scholars. After all students are usually pretty intellectually challenged. They must be since it costs like 30K+ a year to teach them the basics of life. Not I though. I think students are awesome. They are just as annoying and ill-equipped for life as toddlers, but if you smack a student for being stupid, bystanders cheer for you instead of calling the cops.

Somehow I don’t get the same reaction for smacking toddlers.

That said, there is one thing that students do that infuriates me beyond all control. As a reasonable adult though, instead of beating them, I will teach them. Hopefully someone will decide that this knowledge I'm about to drop is worth 30K/year and pay me for it. Here we go:

Students' Guide to Public Transportation

Dear Grasshopper,
I understand that when you got the acceptance letter to one of Boston's prestigious colleges, your head immediately was filled with fantasies of what a magical time you college life will be.

Taking the subway, or as the locals say the T, seemed like an exciting adventure. I am sure that in your head you imagined this experience as being picked up by a magical choo-choo train full of love and delicious blueberry muffins. On your morning commute you'd drink lattes and share amusing anecdotes and stories, and maybe one day even meet a sexy stranger on this ride. I get that this was your fantasy, I do! It must have been tragic to find out that the T is used by hundreds of other people who are so inconsiderate that they are focused on their own commutes as opposed to cater to yours. Ugh, these disgusting townies and white collar clerks who are rushing to work or whatever the lame thing it is that these adults do. They are sooo totally rude finding ridiculous asinine things to yell at you for every day. My little grasshopper, I am here to help you. I will teach you how to avoid being called a stupid moron by fellow T riders.


Let’s say you are waiting for a train at Harvard Avenue stop and omg! it has started to rain and you don’t have an umbrella. This would be a total disaster, but today is your lucky day and a train pulls up right away. You try to get inside as quickly as possible, but all these assholes getting out of the train nearly trample you. Dafuq is wrong with them? Don’t they understand how detrimental rainwater is to your perfect hair?
Let me explain this in a way you may understand. Have you ever tried to make a screwdriver cocktail in an orange juice bottle to discreetly take with you somewhere? Remember how you had to pour out some of the juice to make room for the vodka? It probably took a few tries, I know, but I am sure you finally got it. Well, little grasshopper, a train car works similarly. You have to let people out first if you want to make room for others. Practice at home and you'll get it. This is easier than that Die Hard riddle!

Sometimes though there aren't any people leaving the train but there are a whole bunch of people waiting to jump on one. This is, again, especially true in the rain or snow scenario. Dear grasshopper, if you don’t like the idea of an entire line of people imagining various scenarios of your death, let the people with Charlie cards in their hands go first, and only then proceed to board and pay the entire $2.50 fare in nickels from your piggy bank.

Sometimes though, a train pulls up and oh dear, there are only a couple of empty seats left. I know these heels are killing you or maybe you are aching from doing all these squats, but please don’t push a 9 mo old pregnant women out of the way just to secure a seat. I realize that overpopulation is a serious global issue, but maybe you could battle it by wearing a condom instead of sending women into premature labor.

Being actually on the train is a very stressful experience. I am certain that there is some sort of an urban legend, a type of MBTA lore that students distribute among themselves. The story goes: “At any given moment the bell of doom would sound, the train may open it’s doors for 5 seconds and then the ground would swallow it whole. Those passengers that didn’t jump out of the train in these 5 seconds will forever be tortured by demons of the underworld.” I know this lore exists because it’s the only reasonable explanation for someone boarding a train and standing in front of the door (instead of moving into the middle of the car) for the entire duration of 12 stops!!! Dear grasshopper, I assure you the thing about opening doors for 5 seconds is a lie. When the train is swallowed by the ground you will have no chance to escape. You will go down with the rest of the passengers. Those closest to the doors will be made examples of by the demons and eaten first. So please, unless you are only going 1 stop, move into the train!

After 30+ years on planet Earth and 5 years of working in the music industry, I am sure of one thing. There isn’t a single song in the world that’s liked by everyone. I know you are merely trying to educate these plebes on what’s the latest totally amaaazing track that everyone is into, but, alas, life is full of haters. If you don’t like the crazy drunk homeless dude singing along about how he also came in like a wrecking ball, then invest in a pair of headphones. Also

One of the things that I always found to be helpful when riding the subway was paying attention to the stops. I’ve even gone as far as looking up the name of not just the stop that I need, but also the one preceding it. I know it’s a radical suggestion, but it comes in surprisingly handy in these over-packed rush-hour trains. I don’t know why you think the words “Oh shit, that’s my stop!” would part people akin Moses parting the Red Sea. I am no theologist, but I am pretty sure these are not the words he used. Unless you do figure out the magic words, plan ahead.

Lastly, sometimes the train is packed and you managed to squeeze in. (Granted it’s probably not really packed. It just has a bunch of students standing in front of doors refusing to make their way inside the car). The next stop the doors open and you are stuck in the scariest predicament of your life. You are hanging on by a thread for dear life over a giant cliff possibly filled with fire and demons while all these people are rushing past you doing all they can to make you let go of that handlebar. In moment like this it’s helpful to look behind you and realize that the fire-filled demon-infested pit is not in fact there. So feel free to take a step back onto the platform and let these people leave the train in peace.

Follow these simple rules and your public transit experience will be so much smoother, dear grasshopper. Oh, and if you ever do this, I will laugh and laugh and prob high five you.