Is the Commuter Rail the “Offline” Ashley Madison?

March 22, 2011 at 10:12 am | Posted in Around Boston, Married Life | 4 Comments
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I’ve been commuting on the MBCR/MBTA Commuter Rail for a long time, and while I’m perpetually grouchy about delays, crowded trains and nincompoop riders, I recently discovered another fun aspect of commuting to gripe about: it seems that commuter trains are hot beds (so to speak) for people seeking extra-marital affairs (does that seem redundant to anyone else? I mean, how many inter-marital affairs have you heard about? But I digress…).

I can’t tell you how uncomfortable it is to see middle-aged professionals flirting over briefcases in purple pleather seats. As Bonnie Raitt* correctly identified, they laugh just a little too loud, stand just a little too close (and it isn’t only when the train is packed) and stare just a little too long. It’s icky. And it isn’t something I want to talk about (but I’m going to anyway). 

Yesterday evening I was witness to one such encounter. Sitting in a “four seater” (you know what I mean: two two-person benches – aka love seats – facing each other), you would have thought the woman next to me had met the funniest human alive, the way she was reacting to the gentleman across from her (who shall henceforth be known as the Middle-Aged Commuting Adonis). Seriously, he flashed his pearly off-whites and the woman, let’s call her Flirty Gerty, practically dissolved into a puddle of lust (if lust could take the form of a puddle, that is).

Being the optimistic innocent naïve gal that I am, I noticed they were both wearing wedding bands and thought that perhaps this amorous couple was a pair of older newlyweds. And that would have been significantly less nauseating.

Alas, it wasn’t the case. Midway through our ride, Flirty Gerty received a text message, and being the nosy know-it-all curious gal that I am, I read the following message over her shoulder: “Picked up the kids. Let’s order pizza tonight and relax together.” 

Okay, that message isn’t proof of anything. It could have been from a friend, a car pool buddy, or even a roommate. But it wasn’t.

Flirty Gerty responded (all the while making googly eyes at Commuting Adonis): “Thanks, John. See you at home. Love you!”

So she’s clearly not married to/living with Commuting Adonis. But this could still all be an innocent encounter, right? Wrong.

Before Flirty Gerty got off the train, Adonis took her hand in his and confessed that seeing her was the best part of his day, and that he would text her later. She blushed, and in the breathiest voice she could muster, replied: “I can’t wait for this weekend,” and then winked at him.

She winked!

Tell me I’m wrong, dear reader(s)! Convince this optimistic, trusting newlywed that I’m misinterpreting their interaction! Find a plausible excuse to restore my faith in humanity, marriage and commuting! And remind me never to sit in that train car again!

Feeling dirty,


* Oops, my inner music dork is showing!

Mothering my Husband?

February 10, 2011 at 9:41 am | Posted in Around Boston, Married Life | 5 Comments
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Around quarter past five last night my more-scholarly-half called to check in…

“Hey Sarah, how was your day?”

Hi Andrew! Not over yet – I’m at work, and I still don’t feel well. Are you on your way to class?”

“Yup! Sorry you haven’t kicked the flu yet.”

“Thanks!” Pause. “Ummm…” Pause. “Everything okay, Andrew?”

“Yeah, everything is fine. But… I need a favor.”

“What kind of favor?”

“I left my homework at home today and I really need it for class tonight – it’s two week’s worth of work and I have to turn it in, so…” Pause. Long, awkward, ‘pregnant pause’ (if you’ll pardon the expression).

“Okay, I’ll bite: what’s the favor?” (As if I didn’t know).

“Can you pick up my school bag and bring it to me?”

So I hung up the phone, raced to the subway so I could catch the commuter rail, drove home from the station, got his backpack (with said tardy homework), floored it to BU’s North Campus and dropped it off. Why? Because that’s what good wives do.

And then it occurred to me: that’s not what wives do, that’s what moms do! I think I just mothered my husband!!

But, as my dear friend and colleague, Rhymes-With-Cannon said (as she sprinted with me to the subway), Valentine’s Day is in less than a week, and that kid owes me! Mwahahaha!


Welcome to #Froston, Part Deux

January 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Posted in Around Boston | 2 Comments
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The paparazzi swarmed again!  Tonight NECN was pounding the frigid pavement at North Station asking for interviews with inconvenienced, chilly commuters.  Naturally they asked the queen of angry commuters (that’d be me) for an interview, but I declined again.  If I didn’t grant the crew this morning an interview, it would hardly be fair to give the evening news an exclusive. 

That and I had hat head…  

When I declined, the reporter suckered the guy next to me into an interview. He kept his hat on.


Welcome to #Froston!

January 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Around Boston | 5 Comments
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Happy Monday, dear reader(s)!  As our local fans know, it’s really friggin’ cold here in Beantown!  Witness:

It was -3 degrees AFTER a slight warm-up this morning! PS Don't worry, my car wasn't moving at the time this picture was taken.

So cold, in fact, that the news channels sent reporters to my train station this morning!  But when they tried to interview the miserable commuters like me who had been waiting over 30 minutes for a train that wasn’t announced as delayed, they found precious few takers. 

Could be because our faces had lost feeling and our mouths were frozen shut.  Or could be because, like the temperature, Bostonians have been declared one of the top ten “frostiest” city dwellers in America by Travel & Leisure Magazine!

Yes, it's cold. And no, we DON'T want to talk about it on live television.

Either way, we weren’t talkin’ without some complimentary hot coffee!

Stay warm, folks!


Jealous of Sardines

July 7, 2010 at 7:58 am | Posted in Around Boston | 4 Comments
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It has been a while since I complained about discussed my commute with you, dear reader(s), and I’m sorry to have deprived you for so long! Let me rectify this situation immediately and regale you with heroic tales from yesterday evening’s commute.

You see, I now take a variety of different routes to get to work: when I’m feeling adventurous about traffic on 93, I drive to Medford and take the orange line from Wellington to Chinatown; when I miss my bloggier half, I take the commuter rail and hoof it from North Station; and when I don’t feel like paying extra for parking I occasionally venture to Davis Square and take the red line to Charles. Yesterday I decided on the third option since a) I had no cash for parking, b) I had no patience for traffic, and c) the red line is my favorite subway route (when forced, under duress, to choose one).

Bad idea. Here’s how my evening played out…

I was hotter than this guy!

5:34-ish: I left my office, trudged (or should I say swam?!?) through 100+ degree temperatures and disgusting levels of humidity, and arrived at the T-station a hot mess.

5:42-ish: A train pulled up, opened and closed its doors, and left me standing on the platform. There were too many people on it already to fit any other weary commuters.

5:48-ish: Happened again. 

5:54-ish: Vowed I would squeeze on the next train no matter what. And I did, only to find the train had no air-conditioning. Do sardines sweat? Because if not, then I had it worse, hands-down! Everyone on the train reeked! Seriously – every passenger crammed into that little tin can was B.O.-tastic, yours truly included!

6:07-ish: Train abruptly halted between Kendall and Central… Sweat began to pool at everyone’s feet.

6:22-ish: Train finally arrived at Central Square station where we proceeded to continue going nowhere slowly. At least the conductor opened the doors while we sat there – I’ve never welcomed the stench of Central more…even eau de rubbish is preferable to the noxious odor we passengers created in the closed car.

6:31-ish: Train conductor became as grouchy as we were. Actually yelled “We’re leaving – get on!” over the speaker. Everyone on the car “laughed” (it was the closest thing we could muster to a laugh at that point.)

6:32-ish-7:14-ish: Train continued to slowly make its way through the next three stops. Hallucinations began. Fiji looks surprisingly like the MBTA tunnel system if you add a few palm trees, though the pools of sweat aren’t nearly as lovely as the limpid blue water in the island’s brochure.

7:19-ish: Arrived at my car in Davis Square only to find a new scratch on the passenger side door. Poor Blue Steel. It seems neither of us made it through the day without battle scars. 

7:21-ish: Got stuck in traffic trying to make my way to 93. Decided to sing the commuting blues away. Might be responsible for Medford-area wildlife’s loss of hearing. Oops. 

7:55-exactly: Pulled into my driveway. There’s no place like home!

I sure learned my lesson from that commute… I’m just too hot to remember it! Any ideas?


Totally Addicted to ‘Burbs…

May 25, 2010 at 8:04 am | Posted in Around Boston | 4 Comments
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Last week Andrew and I made a momentous decision: we are staying put*. We will continue to inhabit the apartment we affectionately call Chez Gerrowski for another year. We are not, I repeat, not moving.  

I just can't quit my commute...

Why? Well, it seems we are both a) too lazy and overwhelmed with other things to change our situation and b) addicted to our quiet little suburban life. We are hooked. Seriously. I know it’s not good for me. I know the commute is unhealthy and horrible and may lead to a (probably comical) breakdown (or ten). I know it sucks hours of my life away – hours I can never get back. And yet, we can’t seem to change. When we’re in the ‘burbs we’re just so… relaxed, so tranquil and chill… it’s our escape from reality.   

‘Burbs, I wish I could quit you.  


*Okay, admittedly that sounds much more dramatic when I say it aloud.

Deflowering a Commuting Virgin

April 20, 2010 at 10:43 am | Posted in Around Boston | 3 Comments
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Marathon Monday practically forced our newest colleague, Rhymes-With-Lawn, into our wonderful world of commuting. Normally, Lawn drives into the city from his home in the ‘burbs, but with yesterday’s race-related road closures and traffic, he decided to try the commuter rail to North Station instead.

It wasn’t pretty. His morning commute started with a brisk walk… to the closest T station. When my bloggier half and I heard this, well, let’s just say we “encouraged” him to join us on our commuting adventure yesterday evening.

We left our office in good spirits – a bright, crisp evening always helps! But it wasn’t long before the commuting gods started their games. Navigating through the throngs of Marathon-related tourists wasn’t as bad as we imagined, but we didn’t escape without a run-in. Literally. A lanky, all-elbows kinda guy actually ran into April! Too stunned by said runner’s bravado (and klutziness and sweatiness), we didn’t even make a snarky remark about how the race ended hours ago and that it might be time to give up — especially since he was miles off course* — or that running isn’t supposed to be a full-contact sport. We held our tongues and didn’t retaliate physically, though after the runner kept going without apology, we may have said something about how he deserved to be elbowed… I can’t really recall…

Anywho, in addition to human obstacles, we were also faced with Mother Nature’s minions. What initially looked like a small, innocent bird turned out to be a fierce attempted-assassin with her targets set on us! This bird was out for vengeance, and would settle for nothing less than blood. It swooped and performed sleek attack dives and other generally frightening feats of derring-do. This was the stuff of nightmares, Hitchcock-style.

With little more than a prayer, we escaped the avian attacker and made it to our 3/4 walk mark: the land where commuters are more like moving speed bumps (aka. the Whole Foods parking lot). Lawn had his brave face on until this point… but the Chevy that nearly plowed us down at 17 mph was the threat that broke the commuter’s back. It was sad to see a grown man nearly bested for a couple points on someone’s license, but, in true MoCo villager style, he persevered, and eventually we may even be able to laugh about it! (For now, though, it is too soon.)

With North Station in sight, we knew that we had almost succeeded, and a feeling of relief and hope passed over us… until we realized the Bruins/Sabres game, and all its rabid fans, stood between us and our trains. We gritted our teeth, set our sights for home and went forth with a strong battle cry. Sadly, our modest commuting party didn’t make it through the throngs of hockey fans intact. As we were herded like cattle into “lanes” to enter the building, I was separated from my colleagues. I watched as the mob propelled them forward into an abyss of yellow and black, and was swept into another lane in the process. I was powerless against the stampede.

This morning, by some miracle, April and I were reunited at North Station… But Lawn? Well, I’m sad to report that, at the time of writing this post, we haven’t seen him. If, by some commuting miracle, he made it through this ordeal, we can guarantee one thing: he won’t be commuting with us again.

Vaya con dios,


*Please note: He wasn’t actually part of the Marathon. We have great respect for the athletes who voluntarily run 26.2 miles and would never dream of discouraging any of those brave, strong souls. But this klutz? Well…

Train Hijinks

April 8, 2010 at 10:51 am | Posted in Around Boston | 3 Comments
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We know how much you enjoy windows into our commute, so here’s a glimpse into yesterday’s delightful trip home!
April: The tip of my pen just exploded! It shot right off.
Sarah: Hahahahha ooops!
April: It was hysterical. But I scared some woman.
Sarah: Wish you scared the lady next to me – she won’t move her bag onto her lap! Ruuuuuude!
April: How are you sitting next to her?
Sarah: I’m scrunched. Very scrunched. But I’m not moving to a more spacious seat. It is the principle of the situation.
April: Wiggle around in your seat so her bag hits her a couple times.
Sarah: It is under her other elbow. Wish it was under the one by me – I could just start rifling through it!
April: Hahaha that is a hysterical image!
Sarah: I would tell her I thought it was community property. Maybe I should put a tape line down to denote our “sides” of the seat?
April: So she’s chosen to sit next to you instead of using her bag as a buffer?
Sarah: Bingo – up close and personal! Weird, right? It may be time to read over her shoulder.
April: Do it! Or ask her for the answer to some of the crossword puzzle.
Sarah: Commencing awkward behavior in 3 2 1…
April: I wish I was sitting behind you.
Sarah: She is reading People magazine. There is an ad for blue diamond “almond milk” – I’m going to ask her if she has tried it.
April: Hahahaha. Keep me posted!
Sarah: She looked at me over her glasses, all librarian/school-marmy (not the sexy way boys picture them, the actual way real librarians and school marms glare), and simply said: “No.” without expression or amusement.
April: Did she move?
Sarah: Nope… Now she’s reading an article about Padma Lakshmi’s “Baby Daddy Drama”… She is now rifling around in her purse… But not moving it. Dangit. I’m gonna have to start talking to her, aren’t I?
April: Ask her if she thinks it’s weird the Padma named her daughter after a ale deity.
April: Sorry, a male deity. Krishna is a man.
Sarah: Lol an ale deity would be much weirder!
April: Totally!
Sarah: Apparently she and her baby daddy are squabbling over visitation rights – Padma, that is, not the inconsiderate lady next to me.
April: Too bad. That would be much more interesting. You could offer advice.
April: I know! Smell your armpits and loudly exclaim “P.U!”
April: I am laughing out loud right now, btw.
Sarah: Lol! So am I. You got a gooood chuckle outta me. One might even call it a guffaw, but I digress. Point is, my affable outburst made her raise an eyebrow and purse her lips! She is officially annoyed!
Sarah: Seems like I will have to be the adult and just ask her to move her bag to make room for me…
April: Sigh. I suppose you have a point.
Sarah: Yeah… She said it is too hot to put her bag on her lap. I actually laughed when she said it – thought she was kidding! She’s not.
Sarah: What now? I tried being juvenile… I tried being mature.
April: Why can’t she put it on the floor or above her? Did she pay for an extra ticket?
April: Tell her it’s too hot to be squashed in your seat.
Sarah: She has another purse on the floor. She appears too short to reach the shelf above us. I’ve decided to resume juvenile, annoying behavior.
April: Did you give her some sort of eye roll snort combo?
Sarah: She is now reading about Miley and there’s a picture of the starlet and her boyfriend (Liam? I’m too old to keep up). I plan to point at the photo and loudly ask her if she thinks he is cute, or if he is too pretty boy for her taste.
April: Hahaha
Sarah: I’d like to say “he looks like the kind of guy who would make room on the seat for a stranger,” but I feel like she could turn into a lunatic wielding a dangerous weapon at any moment if I keep up my shenanigans. Aaaaand, to make matters worse, we are having a brake problem and just sitting in West Medford!
April: Awesome. Say this: I’m sorry to be a pain, but I’m having a really tough day. I understand you’re hot, but it is also too hot to be squashed in my seat unnecessarily. Please move your bag. I’ll even put it up top for you. But this is really unfair.
Sarah: That’s a very mature way to put it. Way to use your smarts, Arps.
Sarah: Ooooh, she’s getting off at the next stop!
April: Good
Sarah: PS I got the last annoyance in… I just realized that I smell like lunch! By not making more room for me, I probably got lunch smell all over her!
April: Hahaha!!! Nice!
April: Just got off the train.
Sarah: Enjoy your night! I hope to be home before tomorrow sometime 😉

April’s New Career?

April 1, 2010 at 9:58 am | Posted in Around Boston | 4 Comments
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The blog I was originally going to write for today will have to be postponed.  You see, we started the day with a bit of a calamity, and, since this may impact our future blogs, I feel like I should give you a glimpse into what happened.  I waited for April at North Station, which is unusual in itself because she usually arrives a few minutes before I do.  Apparently, her train was delayed this morning due to an accident of sorts and, you guessed it: April was at the center of this debacle. 

As she was boarding her train this morning, April tripped, hit her head on the metal door handle, stumbled backward and landed (with a thud, they say) on the frozen ground by the tracks.  Before they left her stop, a doctor on board did a quick examination, but April insisted that she was fine and that they continue to Boston.  The conductor led her off the train at North Station to place her in my care.  He recommended that I take her to the ER, since, as he said, “She really got a wallop on that noggin’ of hers,” but my stubborn friend refused.  And she kind of made a scene… and she could easily overpower me with this darn boot on… so I didn’t force her, though I still feel awful about it. 

Anyway, April isn’t really herself today.  Or at least she wasn’t when I last saw her.  En route to work, she heard a siren and started mumbling something about saving the world.  All I understood from her muttering over the shriek of the siren was: “mumble mumble… wasting my life… mumble mumble… could be making a real difference… mumble mumble… time to take action… mumble mumble… save the world.” 

And then she raised her arm, made a fist, pointed her index finger and ran off in the direction of the emergency personnel.  The thing is, I won’t be able to cover for her much longer, and if she doesn’t show up soon, she may be kissing her job here goodbye!  And, unless she can somehow become a self-sufficient superhero with some sort of sponsorship or superhero sugar daddy, I don’t know that she’ll be able to save the world and pay her bills…


The April of Our Dreams is GIGANTIC!

March 10, 2010 at 9:08 am | Posted in Around Boston | 4 Comments
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April and I have a strong sense of right and wrong. We may shush it every now and then, but we know it is there (hence our constant requests for badges and capes and sometimes our overwhelming desire to make citizens arrests). Well, on yesterday’s evening commute, that delightfully judgmental streak came out in full force!

You see, we had hoofed it to North Station to catch our trains, throwing caution to the wind as we played those dangerous Boston Commuting Games, but when we arrived, our happy little hearts sank as we discovered that our trains were running late… or, as the MBTA announcer stated, they were “deeee-laid.” So we decided to engage in people-watching, one of our favorite activities, and that’s when we saw the offense that made us wish April was gigantic*!

A short man in a fugly cap walked past us and dropped a carton of cigarettes. April had half a mind to tell him, but then she remembered that smoking is bad for him and that he should be quitting, anyway, so she didn’t say anything as he passed us. And then it hit me… He pulled the faux-accidental-drop! The box of butts was empty and the lazy litterer in the laughable hat just didn’t want to make the effort to throw it away! Well, that really got us going…

I wanted to go over to him and angry tap (you know, the tap where you use a very firm pointer finger into the tender area by the shoulder) him on the shoulder, point to the box a few hundred feet behind him, and snarl: “Hey litter bug, you dropped something…and your hat is stupid! Go pick up your empty box of cancer sticks and dispose of it properly.”

We started planning out the conversation (a la Arguing in the Shower) and figured his response would be something along the lines of: “Who’s gonna make me pick it up? YOU? Right, you and what army?”

And that’s when we got the idea that April should be a giant. Just as those rude words left his little mouth, he would feel the earth tremble as a gigantic foot stomped in front of him. All he would be able to see was April’s sneaker and the striped sock she had on over her tights. As he slowly gazed sky ward, he would begin to comprehend just how foe-tastic we were… Heck, he might even tinkle from fear… And then he might try to run, but giant April would reach down and snag him in her enormous hand, and then unceremoniously drop him next to the empty box. She could purse her giant lips, raise her giant (though always well-plucked) eyebrows and tap her humongous foot as she waited for the guy to dispose of his garbage.

And we would be heroes. And probably commute for free from then on. We might even get a parade in our honor, and giant April would let me sit on her shoulder as we moved down the parade route because that’s the kind of friend she is.

Thank goodness our trains were less than ten minutes late…


*Tall gigantic, not obese gigantic.

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