When life gets stressful, we’re supposed to remember to breathe, but if you forget that, then stumbling on something funny is the next best thing, because then you laugh out your breath and are forced to breath back in. Like how I use public transportation instead of going to the gym, because it makes me exercise when all I am really thinking about is getting to work. All the walking to and from the station, climbing up and down the stairs, and dodging sketchy people in dim meandering corridors not only is better than a gym, it gets you from point A to point B. Well, most of the time it does, except for when, say, the train line you live on shuts down for one entire month. Not a day, or random weekends, or Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 9 pm to 1 am. All damn month.
Sooooooo, yeah, the Orange Line (we’re simple folk here in Boston and the place is kinda a small, so we named our train lines after colors) is shutting down for an entire month. To its credit, there are fairly good reasons — the feds dinged us earlier in the summer for not having enough dispatchers, so we’ve been on a Saturday schedule during the week, and, well, there was the train that caught fire on a bridge over the river, and several derailings. OK, fine there is a lot wrong, but there has been a lot wrong for a long time. Over the years, multiple task forces have been formed, many, many (so many) reports have been issued. Then the MBTA, which runs the trains, would shut down parts of lines on weekends and overnight, all in the name of fixing the problems. Or maybe they just have been partying with the money this whole time and not fixing a damn thing, or maybe the pledged money for said repairs never materialized. Maybe all of the above.
Whatever did or did not happen, we are now looking at a one-month shut down, and I’m willing to bet it’s going to be longer than a month. And yes, there are shuttle buses, and regular buses, and the commuter rail (aka the Purple Line — I told you, colors!) that only runs every 30 minutes. And if you are prone to masochism, you could get in a car, yours or a hired one. But the problem is the trains keep people off the road, and with the exception of the Purple Line, all the other substitutions put a lot of extra people on the road. Soooo, good luck with that.
Full disclosure, I can work from home, and I am still living like it’s 2020 a lot of the time, so I only ride on the train one day a week to go into work. I was gearing up for adding another day. I’m really trying to go forward with all this post-COVID nonsense, and taking the train once a week was helping. Until they pulled the train out from under me. For now I am putting my money on the Purple Line to go in, and I am walking my ass home from work. It’s 5 miles and follows a pretty corridor park. If I were to stay a bit late at work and go to the gym, I would get home about the same time. As you can see I’ll do just about anything to avoid the gym.
So all this was on my mind on my walk this weekend, along the now shut down Orange Line. I saw many shuttle buses, which to the MBTA’s credit are not city buses, but full on long trip coaches that look like they might have comfy seats inside. Which will be good because come Monday that pretty bus is going to to be sitting in traffic or stuck trying to round a corner in a tight 4-way stop with road rage commuters pulled half-way into the intersection.
I walked by my T station, and they have all the signs up. This one happens to be in Spanish. Note the orange border, the QR code in the top right, the caution sign on the left, and the url at the bottom. The phrase just above that translates to “Building a better T.” Jesus, how do marketing people live with themselves? Right, and I’m building a better way to lose weight effortlessly and remember what I did 10 minutes ago.
I kept walking along the corridor park and then looped around to head back home, when I saw another MBTA sign on a trash can. I was kind of impressed at the MBTA’s thoroughness, as this trash can is about midway between 2 stations. Wow, I thought. they really want to make sure people know there is no service, As I got close, I stopped to read it.
I laughed, which forced me to breathe, and then I smiled all the way home. Here’s to all the graphic designers/people with Photoshop skills who have a sense of humor. I’m going to find a coptah!
P.S. When the kid was little and had a passion for all machines that drive and fly, he called helicopters, “Coptahs!” very often with an exclamation point, because, what is more exciting than a coptah? With or without the Orange Line, apparently nothing.
P.P.S. I just discovered these posters are a series. Here are a few more. The hunt is on! Can we find them all?