Friday, October 06, 2006

Beta, New Blog, a cider

I have migrated to beta, and it's quite lovely!

Also, I've created a new blog. It posts African news bits but it was made in honor of my Kenyan friend Mboya Musau. You can read about him here.

Starbucks Cup #106, a grande hot no-whip caramel apple cider, from the Beth Israel Starbucks

The Way I See It #106

I am often asked the question:
"Where does your inspiration come
from?" While there are many
physical spaces that inspire, like
museums and galleries, for me
inspiration is more a way of seeing
and less about what I'm seeing. An
open, nonjudgemental mind is the
best tool for brewing creativity.

--Todd Oldham
Designer and author of Handmade

I admit it, I do have a tendency to scoff at Starbucks cups. I share them because I think they're interesting, but sometimes after I type them into this blog, I laugh and say "how ridiculously idealistic" "how insane" "how impractical" or "WHO ASKED YOUR OPINION??!?!!!" Today I say "How true, and how wonderful it would be if more people took this to heart."

Secondly, I have a brief rage to type out. Ok it's not a rage, more of a response to the Metro, which there's no point in sending now because by Monday the issue will be dead.

The Metro recently reported that the MBTA is giving out $2 Dunkin' Donuts gift cards to people they see being polite, like giving up their seats to an elderly or pregnant rider.

I didn't think much of it until the next day there was outrage all over the editorial columns. One person said "what are we, a bunch of 5 year olds? how offensive can the MBTA get?" Another woman said "maybe if the T didn't have such deplorable service, we'd all be more polite to each other. gift cards are stupid and offensive and they aren't going to make a difference." Today a woman wrote in saying that she's 8 months pregnant, and as her pregnancy progresses she finds the lack of manners on the mbta more and more appalling. I couldn't agree more and liked this bit the best:

"Pushing and shoving an obviously pregnant woman to enter and exit the train - and men so intent on reading the sports pages or listening to their iPods and "pretending" to be fast asleep in their seats as they see me board the train -- is utterly deplorable behavior.....................I have become so indignant during my commutes that I have actually resorted on accasion to asking the closest man sitting if they would be a gentleman and please let me sit. Having to ask a man to be a gentleman? Pathetic and embarrassing. Who married these men, and who raised them to act like animals.......I can honestly say that on the rare occasion that a seat is offered to me, it is almost always by a woman. Hopefully our generation will raise our sons and daughters with trhe manners and basic human skills that are so lacking today."

She has summed it up in her letter. What I find deplorable is not the T's service, but the fact that manners have sunk to such an all-time low they are compelled to reward people for good behavior. What a sad reflection on our society. What's more juvenile than giving out reward cards for good behavior is the thought that an improvement of the T's "deplorable" service, would improve manners! Who is that lady (who said that in the Metro on Tuesday) kidding? You could send us to work every moring in an Amtrak Acela with in-train hostesses and a free brunch and people would still act like animals! It's sad that what should be thought of as common courtesy is now rewarded because it is such a rare thing. I admit, sometimes I fall asleep on the train so deeply that I'm totally unaware of my surroundings, especially since starting grad school, when I find my self drained. I did this once and woke up to find a pregnant woman right in front of me. I had been SLEEPING, but when I looked at my seatmates, they were awake and staring at her belly. I could not believe it. This poor woman was looking miserably out the window when I reached over and tapped her hand. I said "would you like to sit?'" She looked me up and down and said "Are you sure?" (heh, maybe I looked extra bad that day) I said "Are you kidding? SIT!" She reluctantly nodded, sat down heavily and looked at me and said "thanks" with a sigh of relief. I then glared at everyone else in that row. Of course they didn't respond, but I really hope they felt bad all day.

Seriously, we live in a civilized world - how about we act like it? Would it hurt anyone? Probably not. I look at it this way- Karma is a boomerang, baby, you really want to mess with that? Give up your seat. Stand. Be grateful you have legs that work, that you're not carrying an 8 lb parasitic fetus in your belly (said with love), that you have your vision, that you're still young enough to stand on the train. And for God sakes, TAKE YOUR TRASH!

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