God, the T really can be a dehumanizing experience some mornings. And afternoons. Ek.
I know, I am being slightly dramatica. It all started yesterday when I took the 39 bus to Copley and had to fight the urge to vomit from about Museum of Fine Arts to the beginning of Boylston Street because the bus driver was one of those crazy ones that likes to slam on the brakes and then slam on the accelerator. I should know the signs of motion sickness by now - queasy nausea, feeling hot, feeling like your coat is suffocating you slowly, pounding head. Ha ha this also sounds a bit like carbon monoxide poisioning. Hmmm. Seriously though, I felt so foul, and when I got off the bus I sucked in the not-exactly-fresh air at Copley before I headed down into the abyss for yet another nausea-inducing ride on the green line. By the time I got to South Station I went to the platform even though my train wasn't due to leave for 30 minutes just so I could shake the feeling of having to barf. Thankfully it worked.
Of course our train didn't come til about 4 minutes before its scheduled departure. This always causes distress, angst, and rage amongst passengers. I tend to take an indifferent stance because at the end of the day, all I really give a sh*t about it getting home. I don't need my special seat in my favorite car so I can chat with my train peeps. I mean, I get that some people like that and it's a thing, but not having that as a thing allows me to be indifferent to the ineffective management of the trains in general. Last night though, was a bit exasperating as I followed a small crowd, lemming-like, to a train that had arrived at the station on what is one of our usual tracks. After a few minutes of waiting at the door and enduring the exasperated sighs of the crowd, I decided to turn around and walk back to the end of the platform, where more tracks were accessible. I spotted my uncle and cousin and was like "Oh hey, I'll join you when I can, but I can't right now, I'll be trampled to death for cutting in front of someone!" The gave me a sympathetic thumbs up. When our train did pull in, I felt like an animal being herded to the slaughterhouse as I was bombarded with oversize Vera Bradley totes and leather briefcases, nearly run over by neurotic people who were aiming to claim their seat and nearly tripping over the people who decided that walking to the train in a crowd of hundreds of people would be the ideal time to send a text, and shuffled along, their heads bowed in front of their phones. UGH. I guess the point is though that I got home - and not only did I get home in one piece, but I even got a seat on the train. Still though, it's nights like that that make me understand why people are so damn disgruntled.
Then there's the whole parking issue. The MBTA's whole song and dance is that "the commuter rail parking rates have not increased in xyz years and if we don't increase them we cut service." Oh really? Could the service get any crappier?? Let's talk about the days they send all single-car trains during the morning rush hour. Let's talk about the days I have to stand in the aisle, which is completely and utterly unsafe, not just for me in the case of the training moving in a certain way that could make me lose my balance and fall, but also if there was ever an emergency and we had to exit the train in an organized and timely manner. Then there's the delays, the lack of information given to passengers, the lousy schedule etc. Overall I have to say I'm happy with my commute despite all the bullsh*t - it keeps me from driving, and one less car on the road is good for the environment and my blood pressure, but to put the onus of the T's lousy management on US by raising parking after raising fares not to long ago is really effing obnoxious. The parking lot I park in is a PIECE OF CRAAAAAP. Not plowed (they say you don't have to pay if you can't see your number. I'm sure that argument would hold up if you got ticketed too, ha ha ha. ), not sanded, not protected in any way I can see. My car has been dinged and scratched and bumped (unavoidable, I know, but I am complaining here ;) ) It takes forever to get out of the lot because it's designed badly and only has two exits and no lights. This may be unavoidable too, but it adds to the irritation of having to pay more an getting nothing in return. I mean we're talking about a 100% increase in parking rates. If I got even 5% more service in return, maybe I wouldn't be so pissed, but I know I will get 0% and that's what makes me angry. I'm mad that I pay nearly $200 a month for a pass and will now pay $80 to park and I still have to trek down to the cashier's office every month for a pass because we don't have the tap system and I'm gonna have to shove $4 in ones or in quarters in an antiquated metal slot-box to pay for parking because the T is probably in waaay too much debt to update the parking system - heaven forbid we update a system anyways, right? How long did we have tokens? Right. So I can depend on shoving $4 in the slot boxes for at least another decade before we get a machine that will give us a receipt. Awesomeness.
100% increase in parking fares, but no increase in service. Or politeness, for that matter.
Nevertheless the T will retain riders like me. My parking choices at the office are basically nonexistent, unless I choose a garage for about $40 a day, which definitely won't happen. I guess that's how they plan to make their money anyways, trap the people who have little other choice than to put up with the nonsense. My cousin, uncle and I were trying to think of ways to protest on Monday when we will be expected to cough up $4. One proposal was to pay in pennies. Another was to write the T a check, which is funny, but I don't want them to have easy access to my name and address. My sister suggested shoving an IOU in there. I asked her how much you can deface a dollar bill without getting into trouble (she works at a bank). She said that I could probably go to town since she gets bills that say "F*CK" on them written in red crayon and they're accepted. I'm thinking of taking a sharpie and simply writing on the bills "The T takes my money and wastes it" before shoving them into the payment box. It won't do much, but it'll make me feel better.