Friday, February 13, 2015


Defined as having one's patience, tolerance or pleasure exhausted.

Boston commuters have grown weary of the headaches that await them due to the record breaking snowfall and a failing public transportation system.

I've actually been one of the lucky ones these past two days with respect to commuting.  My normal morning train was canceled for Wednesday morning but I knew about it ahead of time so I arranged to take the train before my normal train.  Now, my normal train is a busy, rush hour train so you have to guess about half of the commuters who normally ride that train will take the train before it and the other half will take the next train.  The "early" train was about five minutes late showing up to the station.  I thought we were off to a good start.  As soon as I saw the light, I jumped out of the warm car and rushed to stand with the gathering crowd.  As the train pulled in, you could hear a collective groan.  Not only was it a short train but all the cars were single, as opposed to the double deckers normally found on rush hour trains.  Everyone started piling in politely.  No pushing.  No shoving.  I was one of the last ones able to make it on.  People were left on the platform.  There was no room left in the train cars so I was forced to stand in the vestibule, which is where the doors are located and the train cars connect.  Technically, passengers aren't allowed to ride out there because a door could fly open and someone could fall out or be sucked out by a passing train but desperate times call for desperate measures.  That part of the train isn't heated but I was surprisingly somewhat warm because the door to the train car was propped open.  My feet though were freezing due to the metal floor.  (It was 16 degrees that morning.)  By the time I made it to work, my toes were numb and remained so for another two hours.

One of the conductors was riding in the vestibule with us and it was interesting to listen to the communication coming through his radio.

Do you have any room back there?  They're going to make us stop at the next station.  No room.  No room.  No room.  I'm going to see if that other train can stop to pick them up.  It's cold out there.  Confirm.  Train 77 will stop to pick up the stragglers.  Stragglers?  It's the whole station.  We are at capacity.  (Train now crawling along.)  It's gonna be slow from here.  If I try to push it above 10 miles an hour, I lose power.  Ah, we've got a medical emergency back here.  What?  What's going on back there?  45 years old.  Diabetic.  Someone's checking him out.  Do you need an ambulance?  Yes.  Okay, we'll stop at the next station to wait for the ambulance.  Do you still need the ambulance?  No, a nurse-practitioner is here.  Gave him some sugar.  Should I cancel the ambulance?  No.  Yes.  Yes, cancel ambulance.

(Side note - the number of medical emergencies increases with crowded trains.  Usually someone passes out.  I do feel sympathetic and in no way blame them for the bad commute.)  

My normal train was canceled again Thursday morning but this time, it wasn't posted until about an hour before the train was scheduled to depart the station.  We managed to make it to the train station in time for me to catch the "early" train.  Me and everyone else.  I could not believe how many people were waiting for the train.  As it turns out, the "early, early" train had also been canceled.  Oh, boy.  Thankfully, when the train pulled in, it was of normal size, and not only did I manage to get on the train, I was in the train this time.  I had to stand but my feet didn't freeze.

Both morning commutes took about an hour and a half.  There were some people who waited an hour and a half on the train platform alone.

My evening commutes have been slightly delayed but given what I know could happen, I'll take the 15-20 minute delay without complaint.

The focus in the media has been on (as it should) those employees who are paid hourly.  Those who don't have options other than public transportation.  Approximately 900,500 people utilize Boston's public transportation on a daily basis.  It was an unprecedented move to shut it all down on Tuesday, the day after a snowstorm.  And I was shocked when MBTA manager Beverly Scott resigned on Wednesday.  I was heckling her on twitter so I can only imagine all the crap being thrown her way but I didn't expect her to crumble so quickly.  

Several people have asked about my work from home situation.  Yes, my employer has remote access.  I need my work laptop though and I don't lug that back and forth unless necessary as the additional weight is not very kind to my aching back.  I work for a very large employer.  Large in many ways, including the number of people I work with and the size and volume of our work.  There's a lot of paper.  And some of it can't be lugged back and forth.  There are also a lot of meetings and quite simply, the culture.  Working from home isn't the norm and in some cases, frowned upon.  So, while working from home here and there is possible and acceptable, I can't say, "Hey, I'm just gonna work from home this week."  Then there's one additional aspect - three seven year olds home from school because of a snow day and I'm the only adult in the house.  My concentration level runs at about a 3.  

For example:

Is it time for lunch yet?
Can I have a snack?
Did we eat lunch?
I'm hungry.
When are we eating?

And then there's this:

Attention!  All the flower girls should be on stage for the dance.  Sorry, you're not a flower girl. Yes I am not you're not yes I am. Allie, get her off the stage, Allie, she's not a flower girl. THIS IS FOR FLOWER GIRLS ONLY!
Stop and get along or I'm going to take all the dolls and throw them out in the snow.  (That was me.)

Anna had a medical appointment in Boston this morning, a Friday before a long weekend and school vacation week.  If this was a normal February, traffic would be light and we'd be looking at an hour trip.  It took us two hours.


(That's the river over there.)

Another blizzard is rolling through here this weekend.  I kid you not.  It looks like we are in the zone or right next to the zone (depends on who you follow) forecasted to receive another 8 - 12 inches.  Our street is down to one lane.


Defined as irritated or annoyed especially to the point of injudicious action. 

1 comment:

kdliberty said...

I lived in Melrose during the blizzard of 1978. (Looks like the snow this season is going to just about as bad as it was then.) I had just turned 6 and I still remember it. Mom and I walked to the grocery store carrying backpacks to bring groceries home in. The parking lot was empty and the store was PACKED. That was an awesome storm...