Subway Stories: These MBTA Days

MBTA Sign for JFK/UMass station.

Tuesday morning I got a text from a friend warning me about the Red Line because of a derailment. The T is always a mess and the Green Line had just derailed a few days before. Unfortunately, this has become a regular thing. So I figured more of the same.

Then I looked at Twitter and saw MBTA and Red Line trending, but not just locally in Boston. Nationally. That’s never good.

Because of the Wollaston Station renovation, for more than a year my commute is negatively impacted and each additional situation makes it that much worse. It’s so frustrating that the powers that be, who could change things, don’t seem to care at all.

Each time something happens, they talk about how things are improving and for us to be patient. But they are not taking the train. It’s also dangerous. Is it going to take a mass casualty situation with  multiple people killed and injured for something to really change? I really hope not.

It’s that much more of a slap in the face, when we are told to seek alternate transportation. If we had alternate transportation, we would use it! Now! If parking downtown were more affordable and the traffic were not so bad, I would drive. Every day!

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A Song Is Born

Anyway, yesterday morning I woke up and the theme from All in the Family was in my head for whatever strange reason and I kept humming it.

Then I started thinking about the horrible commute I would soon be facing and the words to the theme songThose Were The Days.

“Someone should switch the words to something about the T,” I thought. Then I started thinking about lyrics. Long story short. I am a writer. However I never thought of myself as a song writer.

But when words start swirling around in my head and I can’t get them out, the best way to stop the chatter is to write them down and do something with them.

So I wrote lyrics for a song called These MBTA Days to the tune of Those Were The Days for my own sanity and amusement. Hope you enjoy them too! 🎶


Mixed signals you do send.
I hope we don’t have a tragic end.
You make me wait over and over again.
These MBTA days.

Me with an awful hangnail.
So of course you decide to derail.
We could use a leader like Elizabeth Warren who always has a good plan.

Remember the three days the T ran great?
Now I try to contain my rage.
When I get home, I’ll burn some sage.
To wipe away these MBTA days!


Subway Stories: Singing In The Rain

Person wearing green Hunter rain boots standing on rain soaked walkway.

Wasn’t me singing in the rain. Didn’t break out dancing Gene Kelly style either.

I was more trying to stay warm and dry and hoping for sun again. But I walked by three people singing today! Just randomly singing.

While I was walking to the train going to work, I passed a man who was trying to stay dry, walking quickly and covered up with a huge clear piece of plastic.

After he passed me, he broke out into song —  “Oh My Love” from Ghost to be exact. He had quite a nice voice.

Then after getting off the escalator at Prudential Center, a homeless man that I always see, was singing his heart out. Into a cell phone. He was singing Always and Forever by Heatwave. Again, he sounded pretty good and I’ve always loved that song.

Then when I was leaving work tonight, I passed a man who was actually not singing, but  loudly and happily humming.

Not sure what was in the air, but it was quite a musical commute. While I was waiting at Park Street, there was a man playing a saxaphone. Something about a sax that gives such mood and ambiance. Even when just waiting for the train on a rainy day.

Subway Stories: The Kindness of Strangers at Park Street

Park Street sign along with map of the MBTA subway lines.

Two weeks ago I got a lesson. To slow down. One of my worst traits is impatience. It’s a constant struggle.

If human beings are put on this earth to have experiences that will teach us lessons, then mine is probably to slow down and be patient. Thus the need for yoga and meditation.

Back to the story. I was switching from the Red Line at Park Street to catch an E Train on the Green Line. If you’ve taken the T and been on the E Line, then you know that those trains do not come frequently. The wait feels like forever.

So I started running. I’ve run for this train a bunch of times and have been perfectly fine. No incident. And I always make the train.

Usually I’m wearing sneakers or flats though. This time I forgot that I was not wearing sneakers or flats. I think it was really cold that day, so I was wearing my snow boots. I was too close to the yellow line as well. Someone stepped in front of me, so I tried to weave around them. Again, done this a million times, no problem.

This time, there was a problem. My balance was off because of the boots or being too close to the edge of the walkway or both, so I fell. As I was falling, I was thinking that this was so funny and stupid. Why was I in such a rush? I thought that I was just tripping and would be able to recover my balance. Unfortunately not.

Then I felt myself rolling over onto the train tracks. At the same time I’m thinking, “Oh no,” and “I hope I didn’t break anything.” Luckily I fell forwards with my hands out and not backwards. I had on very thick leggings. My boots are very puffy. So is my coat. I had on a hat and gloves, so I was mostly covered up and protected.

I think I may have been in shock, because I was just lying on the tracks trying to get my bearings. I don’t remember if it was me actively trying to get up and people grabbing my hands as I reached up or people just grabbing my hands and pulling me up. Either way, there were two sets of hands pulling me up.

It must have been quite the sight for people to see. There’s probably a crazy looking video too.

Anyway, two strangers were kind enough to grab me and pull me up off the train tracks. For them I am eternally grateful. Luckily there wasn’t a train coming.

I twisted my left ankle and it’s still a bit painful, but not too bad. I really ripped up my right knee. It’s still raw and I’m wearing bandages everyday, but it’s healing.

I’ve had to walk slower than my normal pace due to my ankle and knee. It was not worth running for the train. Sure, I would have missed it, but I would have made the next train, which I ended up on anyway — and without the injuries.

Needless to say, when I have a choice between rushing or not, I’m trying to slow down — my eternal lesson. It’s still not easy for me. I don’t know if it ever will be easy. But I keep trying.

Thank you to the two kind strangers! I may never know your names, but I appreciate that you  pulled me up and got me back on my feet.

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Updated 3/26/2017Universal Hub picked up this post and you can see it by clicking here.

Subway Stories: Walking in the Moonlight

flowers blooming on tree

This week has been mostly uneventful. But that’s actually a good thing. I picked up some more freelance writing work that I’m very excited about. Yay!

Even though it’s been mostly from home to work and back again, I do enjoy the time that I get to spend outdoors in this wonderful spring weather.

Moonrise over tree

Especially when I get to see the moon rising as I walk to and from the subway.

Renovated Government Center MBTA station

I finally saw the renovated Government Center T station. It does look nice, but there is a surprising amount of construction still going on around the subway station.

orange bikes

This pair of orange bikes caught my eye. For a long time I’ve considered orange to be my protective color.

moonrise in Boston against skyscrapers

The moonrise is brighter each night as we approach Saturday’s full moon. Such a beautiful natural light in the sky behind the lights in the buildings.

Those moon rays lift me up with the light. A marvelous night for a Moondance. Do you ever dance in the moonlight? 🙂

Subway Stories: Is The Biggest Loser in Boston?

Biggest Loser Subway StoriesTaking the T provides an endless source of stories. The things people talk about in front of dozens of strangers still surprises me. Sometimes these strangers haunt me for days or more. I  think about them and wonder, “What happened to them?” That’s why I started the Subway Stories series on my old blog.

When I got on the train one day last week, I noticed a woman with a huge suitcase in front of her. Several colorful plastic bags were piled on it and beside her. Her head was slumped down on her chest and I hoped that she did not smell. She didn’t. I sat on a seat across from her.

I could tell that she was homeless. The longer I looked at her, the more sad I felt. I tried not to stare, but she was directly in front of me. She was an elderly woman, with a bright baseball cap that was pink and purple with sparkles.

It wasn’t that cold, but she had on a long fur brown coat. Her pale veiny fingers had pretty rings on most of them. She had a cute pocketbook, with the strap slung around her neck and resting on her lap.

You could tell she was a stylish woman. She was thin and had chin length blonde hair. Her face was deeply lined and look strained. She was sleeping, then waking up and looked restless. Nervous. Afraid. I could see a hospital bracelet on her wrist peeking out from under her sleeve. She must be sick. Or at least she had been.

I couldn’t stop wondering, “How did this get to be her present situation?What kind of society lets this happen?

She needed help. She looked newly homeless. Like she had just been put out and still had all her prized possessions with her. Maybe it happened while she was in the hospital? All the possible scenarios buzzed through my mind. She was trying to figure it out, but was so tired.

Was there was anything that I could do? I thought about asking her. Trying to help. Did she have children? Did they abandon her? Maybe she had no children like me. Would this be my fate too?

I didn’t say anything to her. I had to get to work and make some money while the opportunity was there. So many of us are close to becoming her. It’s so easy to slip between the cracks. It’s one of my worst fears….


Another encounter that screamed Subway Stories happened just the next day on the train. I was sitting to the left of a man talking on his phone. You can see his legs and hand in the picture above. It’s so strange listening to one side of a conversation, because you can only imagine the questions being asked by the other person.

Here are a few things he was saying, “I’m doing fine. Trying to stay healthy. People say I look good, but I don’t see it.

I quickly looked at him, because I was too curious not to. He seemed like an average guy. Then he goes on. “Yeah. Waiting for the big reveal to see everyone.”

Hmmm. That’s not something that you hear everyday. Then I started wondering, “Who is this guy? Is he on The Biggest Loser or something?

He said that he got his teeth fixed and his wife is afraid that he is going to leave her for someone else. He kept saying over and over that she has nothing to be worried about. He loves his wife. He truly loves her and does not want to be with anyone else. No matter what.

The things you see and hear on the T…. Until the next new edition of Subway Stories, click the links for the archives.