Frozen Tundra of Despair

Posted: February 13, 2014 in Uncategorized



What is this fine example of correspondence you ask? Well, this is one of the MANY alerts I receive from the MBTA on a freaking daily basis. In theory these would be extremely helpful, allowing me to avoid any unnecessary hassles with disabled trains or trains running late or trains not running at all by simply rearranging my schedule. In theory I would be armed with the necessary knowledge to have the most awesome of days. In theory. In reality, I receive most of these alerts an hour or so AFTER they happen. I think we call this ‘moot’ but I could be wrong. At first I signed up for the MBTA text alerts but after suffering through many panic-inducing hours over transit issues, I opted to receive emails instead. At least this way I have control over when I WANT to know what is happening or not happening (mostly it is in the NOT happening category) on the commuter rail. I also downloaded an app that in theory is supposed to tell me when the next Green Line E train is approaching. Sometimes it works really well and I get on the train at the time it said I would. Most days though, I board a phantom train. The lovely app does a countdown and at zero minutes says, “Boarding now.” Well, I beg to differ. I cannot board something that doesn’t exist. Unless it is a phantom train in which case I hope it takes me somewhere exotic or into the future or into the past. A past where I tell the good founders of Boston about how they might want to rethink planning roads based on where the fucking goats go. But mostly I just want the damn thing to take me to North Station so I can go home.

Yesterday morning was cold. I mean the kind of cold that seeps into your bones and makes it hard to move. Once I walked down to the platform and stood with my other commuters I daydreamed of the warm toasty ride to work. How within ten minutes or so my fingers and toes would unthaw and I would start to get some feeling back. And before you ask, I wear socks made out of alpaca goodness but not even llamas on my feet can keep my toes warm. Seriously. Maybe I have a circulation problem. Anyway, the train arrives on time. Novel idea. I board the train and am immediately struck with how everyone is bundled up so much so that I only see people’s eyes. It seems weird. And then there is my breath I can see and then I hear the awful sentence, “There is no heat on the train this morning.” Shit on toast, are you serious? Today? Of all days? I had a win for getting on a train that arrived on time to only lose to the house with extreme cold on the inside of the train car. Well played MBTA, well played.

Well, away we go in solidarity. At this point all you can do is stick together and try to make jokes. You most certainly do not want to cry unless you think facial icicles are fashionable in which case, cry me a river. In truth, I just try to stay awake. Every time I started to nod off I thought, “Shit, what if this is me falling into the bouts of hyperthermia and I never wake up?” About five minutes into the commute a message is announced that there is police activity in Chelsea and that our train will have to stop now and wait for the traffic to clear. Of course. So not only are we all freezing to death, we now have to endure a much slower death by sitting even longer in the frozen tundra of despair. What should have been only 20 minutes turned into 40 minutes and while the conductors were all apologetic, because hell, they were frozen too, it too was moot. I tried to think warm thoughts. I tried to imagine myself planted in front of my desk with my space heater cranked to high but sadly, I just couldn’t do it. The guy sitting next to me at one point, takes his gloves off to see if he can feel heat coming from the vents. He turns to me and says, “I think I feel it.” I smile and think, “No sir, that is just you slipping into a coma.” When we arrived in Chelsea, we did see several police cars with their lights on but nothing really out of the ordinary. I find it hard to believe that they had trouble apprehending the suspects. Considering how cold it was and the thick layer of ice on the sidewalks, all they had to do was look for the person waddling away like a penguin. Case closed.

I managed to get to work without dying or having one of my toes snap off. I did sit in front of my space heater and thaw. I honestly could have cried when I turned it on. It was the most beautiful of sounds. Like a choir of angels breathing down upon me. After copious amounts of coffee and some much needed bitching on Facebook, all was right with the world again. 

I guess I should consider myself lucky that I live in a world that has space heaters because if this was say, 1800 or something, I would just lay down and die. No amount of alpaca fur or llama love would keep me warm. I am also thinking how strange it is that Eskimos seem to be good-natured because if I was an Eskimo I would throat punch someone because being cold really pisses me off. So does ice for that matter and especially houses made of ice because that is just bullshit.

Until next time, if hell is warm and there is an empty seat on that train, save it for me. Unless the commuter rail is the only way to get there, then forget about it. 


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