For those of you who don’t know, I have a new job as of a month ago. I’m very excited and I love it, but it’s in downtown Boston. That means the biggest change for me is my commute, which necessitates me taking the MBTA train into the city every day.
The MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) is commonly referred to as the “T,” but that’s mainly for the subway. I take the commuter rail, which connects the suburbs to the Hub of the Universe that is Boston. I’ve been doing it for a month now and let me tell you — it is a whole different universe than what I’m used to.
I’m learning train etiquette such as don’t sit next to someone while there are still empty seats to be had. And don’t EVER sit in the middle of the 3-person seats when there’s still an empty spot in the 2-seat row. With 45 minutes to kill on my way into the city, there are a variety of options for people. Some work on laptops and the train’s spotty WiFi. Others listen to music or podcasts, the purists read books, and somehow a certain percentage of the population manages to sleep in public.
I’ve had strange conversations with strangers, I’ve sat next to a snoring giant, I’ve had people refuse to take their bags off empty seats, and I sat behind one guy who inexplicably smelled like a Caesar salad (no one was eating a Caesar salad on board the train). But in my short month-long stint, I’ve never run into someone quite like the woman sitting behind me last night.
I’m not sure what she was on and, much to everyone’s chagrin, I can’t tell you what she looked like. She was a couple of seats behind me and I didn’t look back because I felt it would’ve spoiled the magic, but she gave me the most entertaining 45 minutes of my commuting life. My wife asked me if I made it all up, but quite honestly, I’m not this imaginative.
I captured it in Facebook updates and while I fully admit I was struggling to hear everything, the following is a running tally of the snippets I could make out. Enjoy. And stay tuned, because “People on the Train” might become a recurring series.
Thank you, people of the MBTA commuter rail. It’s hard coming up with content as a writer, but I imagine I’ll never be in short supply now.