August 11th, 2005


Best and the worst of city life

I wasn't feeling great after work today, so I took a nap in the naproom. I woke up at 7:15, and headed to Park Street. Because of the light at Tremont Street, I didn't get across the street right away, and as a result discovered a set of closed doors on the Alewife-bound train on the platform. Arrrgh!

There was a very bad busker yowling Smokey Robinson songs as I grumbled and muttered my way to a bench and cracked open my book. Losing myself in the hallways of Hogwarts, I was dragged back to hot reality by shouts of "EVACUATE THE STATION! NOW!" Finishing my paragraph, I looked up with all the cynicism an urbanite can muster, and saw T Security marching up and down the platform, making sure everyone got up and out. T Security rarely moves with alacrity, so with a sigh I gathered up my belongings and trudged up the stairs, cursing the red hand that made me miss that train.

All of us would-be passengers gathered in the Common, waiting for an explanation. Soon sirens and flashing lights appeared, and Transit Police came out with yellow tape to seal off the entrances. They ordered us to move to the backs of the station entrances and away from the doors. We milled about a while, trying to get a clue as to what the hell was going on. Someone asked a jack-booted transit cop what was going on, but all he'd tell us was, "I'm not public relations."

Well, yeah, we kinda knew that. Thanks, though. We fell to talking amongst ourselves. A young woman in khakis said she was going to walk up to Charles to see if there were any trains running and I said I'd been thinking that exact same thing. An Indian woman asked if she could join us, and we heartily agreed. Off we headed to Charles Street.

It was a good night for a walk, cooler and breezy. We introduced ourselves; Lauren lived on Beacon Street at Porter Square and Radcha lived in Davis Square off Holland. Chatting amicably, we got to Charles and found a stopped train and people hailing cabs. Right. We'd already decided that if that was the case we'd walk across the bridge to Kendall and then split a cab. So that's what we did. It was a lovely night to walk across the river, but we noted the gathering clouds as we chatted and wondered about what was going on with the T. As soon as we got to Kendall, it started to rain. We laughed and praised our excellent timing, and hailed a cab.

Our cabbie was one of the few who actually know Cambridge and Somerville. He took Hampshire to Beacon, the way I'd have gone were I walking. He dropped Lauren off first on Beacon, then me at Elm and Hancock, before taking Radcha to Davis.

We exchanged no information apart from our names and neighbourhoods, and we will probably never see each other again...but it was nice. It was exactly why I love living in the city.

What happened? I have no idea. Bomb scare? There's nothing on either MBTA or, but the closest thing I can find that might be related is the manhole explosions in the North End today. was a rather pleasant reminder of way people cooperate in times of stress, and why I live in a major city.
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