Bye Bye Beetle . . . Again

Yes, this is a toy car. When I saw it in a store several years ago in Las Vegas, I knew that I had to have it. For any longtime readers of this blog and it’s previous iteration, you may know my long history with the VW Bug.

When I was a little kid in the early to mid-70s, I loved Beetles. With every fiber of my being, I wanted to have one when I grew up. Then they stopped making them and I was crushed. Like a bug.

I grew up and bought my first car, a Nissan Sentra. Then VW started making the New Beetle. I was elated! After a good solid 12 years, my old car started dying and the only car I wanted was a Beetle. In late summer 1999, I bought a 2000 New Beetle. I was overjoyed and loved that car!

Me and my Bug had many adventures together over the years. The longest drive was to Montreal. One of the funniest stories, except for the blatant sexism, was when I had to get a Bug Jump. Here’s an excerpt from that blog post.

In all the scenarios for my battery deciding to die, this was one of the best. I went back inside and made some phone calls while waiting. I was told that someone would be there within forty-five minutes. They arrived after forty minutes. Shocking!

So I walk outside and the guy takes my keys, opens the hood and starts looking for the battery. He starts making comments about Beetles and says he doesn’t see the battery. He says it must be in the trunk, I said, “No, it’s a new Beetle.” He ignores me and calls me “sweetheart” whenever he refers to me. He’s not condescending about it, just matter of fact and kind of cute, so I let him keep looking and of course he doesn’t find it.

He calls in to headquarters and says he has a Beetle and can’t find the battery. I tell him again, “It’s a new Beetle.” He ignores me and keeps talking to the guy. He seems to be on a two-way radio, because I can hear the other guy saying, “We have a Bug jump!”

He could have saved himself the time by listening to me, but at least I got a good story out of it. But I digress. So all was well and good for the most part with my beloved Beetle until around 2013, when things started to go very wrong. I stopped making long drives, because I was too nervous driving it. It started stalling. I noticed similar stories from other people with Bugs purchased around the same time as mine. People were giving them up. I was so emotionally attached to the idea of it and I didn’t want to give it up.

Then things got real. Real dangerous. The car gave up the ghost at the end of 2013. I started 2014 by getting a Toyota RAV4. My 20th century self would be shocked. I realized that I loved the car way more than the car loved me. I needed to get over my attachment to things. Although truth be told, if I ever came into a lot of money, I would get one of the old Bugs and get it souped up.

So what prompted this post today? I just learned that VW is stopping production of the Beetle again. But I’ve seen this story play out before. That saying “the more things change the more they stay the same” is a saying for a reason. It’s true. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Beetle comes back again in another 20 years or so. We’ll see.

Choose New MBTA Train Design

Vote on MBTA train designHave you voted yet? I just did! The MBTA has invited the public to vote on the design of the new line of subway trains for the Orange, Green and Red Lines. The image to the left was my choice for the Red Line.

Although, after last winter, my main concern is more whether the trains will run on time or even run at all. The design is secondary, but it is nice to be able to provide some input. According to the website, we will have to wait a bit to see the new trains though.

Delivery of the first of 152 new Orange Line cars is set to begin in 2018. The first of 24 new Green Line trolley cars will be delivered in 2017, and the delivery of the first of 132 new Red Line cars is scheduled to start in November 2019.

It’s rather disappointing that the Red Line trains will be the last be delivered, since that’s the one that I use most often. And the one with the most problems. At least in my view. Oh well….

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Screenshot Image: SurveyMonkey

Subway Stories: Self-Injection on the Red Line

red line train stationI’ve seen strange things on the Red Line. That’s why I started writing Subway Stories. The kid running while brandishing a machete in the train station is something I will never forget.

Manspreading is something that I’ve noticed and been annoyed by. Apparently the term is so common, that just this month it was added to

Well, my commute got even more uncomfortable this week. There are some things that really should be done in the privacy of your own home. There are some things you really don’t expect to see happening right next to you when you’re on the train. A woman injecting herself with a needle is one of them.

It was Friday evening and I had gotten out of work a little on the early side. The train wasn’t that crowded. I walked over to stand by a pole and then the woman sitting in front of me jumped up and rushed to the door. Apparently, she didn’t realize she was at South Station and needed to get out. She didn’t make it and the doors closed right in front of her.

I was just happy that an empty seat had suddenly appeared. I sat down, pulled out my book and started reading.

Then either the next stop or the one after that, the woman sitting to my left shifted to get up. But instead of getting up, she reached into her bag and pulled out a needle.

I looked at her and she didn’t look crazy, drunk or strung out, so I didn’t jump away from her. I hoped I was reading her correctly and that she would not stab me with it. I thought about that show What Would You Do? and hoped for the best.

Apparently, what I would do is not say or do anything. She started preparing her needle and injected herself in the shoulder that was farthest away from me. She put the cover back on the needle and put it away. Then settled back in her seat as if nothing had happened.

Maybe she was diabetic and needed insulin? An EpiPen probably would have been injected in her thigh. I cannot possibly imagine another reason why someone would need to self-inject on the train. Do you?

MBTA Customer Appreciation Day: April 24th

MBTA customer appreciation dayFor all the heartache and pain that we suffered during the winter on the T, we will all get to ride for free tomorrow. It’s MBTA Customer Appreciation Day!

So, if you ever wanted to ride the entire MBTA system all day, tomorrow is the day to do it. A few more deals have been added in as well. There are 15% off discounts for May passes.

Also, you can show your Charlie Card at different Boston area retail locations for discounts. The 20% discount at New Balance looks like the best deal to me.

While I’m not sure that this one day and a few discounts makes up for the lack of reliable public transportation this winter. Nor do I really feel that there is enough appreciation of the customer. However, it’s something. But the T still needs a permanent fix.

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Photo Credit: Mass. DOT Blog

Havana Bikes: A Short Film

Since President Obama announced that the American policy towards Cuba was changing, most of us in the United States are in favor of it, according to a new poll.

Both Cubans and Americans seem to be gearing up for travel. Airbnb tweeted out some new listings of places to stay in Cuba.

A short film that I found online called Havana Bikes by Kauri Multimedia shows the ways that Cubans have preserved old bikes and made new modes of transportation from them. Not necessarily because of love for old bikes, but out of necessity in order to get around.

As business opportunities and trading grows between the United States and Cuba, these old bikes may soon be a thing of the past.

Havana Bikes has a great soundtrack and shows some of the bicycle creations that have developed over the years. It’s a glimpse into a particular place at a particular time that is drawing from the past and present, but may look so very different in the future.