Image source Amelia Sutton
Last week, I had the immense pleasure of taking the MBTA commuter rail down to Providence. After a lovely afternoon of gourmet grilled cheeses at Farmstead (hey, it’s National Grilled Cheese Month, so why not?!), I boarded the train home thinking to myself, “it’s only an hour ride back to Boston — so easy!”
Not. So. Fast.
This is the MBTA and we all know how much the MBTA sucks. More often than not, the MBTA sucks because of the beautiful, considerate people riding it. But every once in awhile, the MBTA only has itself to blame for the widespread hatred most people feel toward it. This is one of those times.
Perhaps I should have seen a blacked-out train with no AC or electricity to be a bad omen when boarding in Providence. But no. The conductors assured us that the engine was functional thanks to “reserve batteries.” We would be fine!
SPOILER ALERT: We were not fine. The train does about two miles after we cross into Massachusetts. (For those familiar with the Providence-Boston commute, we made it a whopping two whole stops on the “reserve batteries.”)
After waiting on the tracks for a tow to the next station, we do some more waiting — on the dead train at the station, on the platform, on the rescue train, in between stations…
To honor my epic, four-hour ride home to Boston, allow me to present the highlights of my afternoon and night. I started this list about five minutes into the ordeal; the first five “highlights” are pretty angry. By #6, I’m starting to enjoy the weirdness that erupts among strangers stuck in a small space under bizarre circumstances. And by #10, I’m loving life so hard I want to spend every Friday night on a jacked-up train. So while this blog could have been titled Reason #765 Why I’d Rather Army Crawl to My Destination than Take the MBTA, it’s more Why Getting Stuck on a Dead Train During Rush Hour on a Friday Doesn’t Totally Suck. And for that, MBTA, I applaud your riders.
1. The text message I received from a coworker saying “You should have taken Amtrak.”
2. The peculiar, rotten-shrimp-on-a-hot-summer-day-inside-a-stadium-bathroom smell that permeated every single one of the train cars.
3. The obnoxious teenager who narrated the first 30 minutes of the train breakdown to her father on her cell phone with the following eavesdropped gems:
a. “But Daddy, it’s hot in here!”
b. “I know you’re super important and busy, but can you pick me up in Attleboro?”
c. “What about a town car? Can you send a town car?”
4. The gorgeous view of Attleboro I enjoyed for no less than 45 minutes while stuck on the dead train. (See photo above.)
5. The crew of high school kids talking about what Boston bars they were going to try and get into later that night.
6. The opportunity to hand write this blog with a pen and paper, thanks to a dead phone. It felt like 1997!
7. The four high-speed Amtrak trains that whizzed by us, rocking our dead-in-its-tracks train so badly that babies actually cried. They cried!
8. The MBTA employee who told a rider to throw their garbage “over the fence and onto the Amtrak tracks” rather than in the already-overflowing train bathroom trash.
9. The older gentleman having a heated discussion about the Venezuelan Tennis Association on his cell phone.
10. The aforementioned high school kids who spontaneously broke out a dinosaur costume and banana costume to rap battle it out and wrestle while waiting on the platform at Attleboro. I am still trying to track down this video on YouTube.
11. The Official Petition for Inter-species Marriage (see dino and banana mentioned above) passed around the rescue train for passenger signatures.
12. The middle-aged biker who decided to entertain the train car with an Andrew Dice Clay-inspired stand-up routine. He may or may not have been drinking out of a brown paper bag. Babies cried — again.
13. The same Andrew Dice Clay impersonator Skyping his girlfriend and asking the whole train to yell “Hi Tonya!”
Posted by Amelia