in which i experience public transporation hell

So the Boston public transportation system and I sort of got off to a rocky start yesterday.

Which was certainly unexpected. Having lived where I have lived and ridden all the various buses and trains and donkeys I have, I thought that Boston public transit would be a synch. And it definitely should have been. But it was not. Instead, it turned into one of the more traumatic days of my life.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s back up to yesterday morning.

According to my memory, I had orientation for school on Thursday. So I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me on Wednesday to go into Boston and map out my route to school. You know, just to figure out how long it would take.

So around ten o’clock, I headed to the bus station to catch the bus to the train staiton that would take me into the city. And I waited for a bus.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And forty-five minutes later, there was still no bus.

I have since learned that, here in Lexington, busses come once every hour. Which is sort of bad news if you miss it and are on a tight class schedule like I am going to be.

So after waiting for the bus for forty-five minutes, I thought “Maybe I’m in the wrong spot. Maybe I need to go to the main station instead of standing by a little side post on the side of the road half hidden by a garbage truck.” So I start walking there. Only to have the bus drive past me and away. Which means I got to wait another hour for another bus to come.

But I got there. Two and a half hours later I was in Boston, at the school, buying books and walking around campus1. Then, around two o’clock, I decided to head home, because I was sort of tired and had spilled something on my dress. So I caught the train/bus home. Which also took forever. I ended up again waiting for the bus, all the while trying to coax my practically dead phone into working for just a few more minutes.

Then, just as I walked through the door of my home here in Lexington after an almost two hour commute, I got a text from my mom that said, “Enjoy your orientation dinner tonight.”

So as you may have guessed, I had the day wrong for my orientation. I had spent weeks innocently thinking that it was on Thursday, when in actuality, it was Wednesday.

Let’s do the math, shall we? At this moment, with busses that only come once an hour, it would have taken me two hours to get to Boston. Orientation started at six. It was no four thirty.

Which was all a bit not good.

Oh, also, I had a phone with about twenty-two seconds of battery life left.

So I got on the first bus I could, then used my remaining battery life to call my roommate, The Other MT2, who works in Harvard Square. I left her a panicked message to the effect of, “I know we don’t know each other well enough for me to be asking you for this yet, but could you pleasepleaseplease give me a ride from Harvard Square to Fenway so I can get to my orientation dinner?” TOMT was not crazy about driving on the other side of the river at rush hour, but she agreed3.

So TOMT and I navigated the crazy strange streets on the other side of the river, and, by some strange, bizarre, amazing miracle, I walked4 into orientation at six pm exactly.

And frankly, it sucked. There was hardly anyone from my program there, dinner was awful, and the dean spoke for literally less than five minutes and then it was over. I was there for less than an hour and a half, and it was sort of a joke.

And then I had to fight public transportation yet again.

And for the record, the trains are stellar. They are awesome. The busses make me want to swallow a box of nails. And so I arrived at the bus station about 8:15. And you can probably guess the next part of the story.

I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited for an hour and a half.

No bus.

And then this little man came up to me and said, “Are you waiting for the bus? It stops running at 8 pm.” And then he vanished as strangely as he had appeared.

So here I am, in the darkness, at a sketchy bus station, alone, with no phone, in the dark.

And then a miracle happened. A really nice woman offered to give me a ride home.

And yes, I saw the stranger danger videos as a kid, but she had three teenage kids and a dog, and she was a Harvard doctor, and I probably would have gotten in a car with a guy with a ski mask and chainsaw at that point, I just wanted to be home so badly. But it was not a family of serial killers. It was a family of nice people who helped me, and who, it turns out, live only three streets away from me, and gave me their phone number and said to call them if I had problems again.

And so I arrived home, cracked a diet coke, turned on Doctor Who, and collapsed into a miserable, public transportation-hating heap.

And that is the story of me spending pretty much an entire day on public transportation, which would make any sane person want to jam grape fruit spoons into their eyes.

  1. I had this horrific Mr. Bean moment where I was walking down a hallway, and suddenly from the other end of the hallway, a processional of people in caps and gowns started coming towards me. And I had nowhere to go. So I just walked through the center of some weird graduation processional.
  2. Nickname derived from the fact that she has the same name as my sister, the MT.
  3. Can we all take a moment to appreciate the awesome kindness of TOMT for doing this? Because seriously.
  4. Okay, sprinted
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