Red Line Diary

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Plenty of Trains Right Behind Us

On a dreary day the Alewife station/parking complex has the feel of British post war Labour government architecture -- you expect to see Malcolm McDowell and the gang from Clockwork Orange lurking menacingly around the next corner. Today sun shone down into the station, Jonathan Fixler played a mellow riff, and the station and commute felt as comfortable as a worn shoe, and as familiar as another Groundhog Day. Then came the "medical emergency" ahead, the muttered "shit" from another passenger, and delay. Once we began to move again the dreadful "Please be advised there are plenty of trains right behind us" came over the loudspeaker. It's probably true but it sounds like a lie related to "I'll still respect you in the morning."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday Morning

You, the man with the slicked back hair and dark, heavy beard, were grading essays on the train. Shouldn't you have done this over the weekend?

By the way, I welcome comments on this blog, provided they stay on topic, i.e. The Red Line. Complain about (or praise!) service, tell us what you've observed people reading or saying, post items lost or found, even try to get a date with that interesting individual with whom you locked eyes across the car.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Reading List

On the T to get to and from a rare Sunday work event I noted what people are reading on the Red Line. "Gun, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond (outstanding, I've read it); "The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations" by Jonathan Sacks (never heard of it, but 4 1/2 stars on Amazon!); "Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher (read it for a class a long time ago); "Plainsong" by Kent Haruf (a sweet little novel set in Colorado); "The Drink and Dream Teahouse" by Justin Hill; "The Waves" by Virginia Wolff;, and, read by a tired looking, homeward bound American Airlines pilot, "Dark Watch" by Clive Cussler.

The pilot wasn't the only one in uniform; I saw a guy in camo fatigues, perhaps a weekend warrior on the way home. Not far from him was a grungy college kid in faded camo fatigues. There was a slender woman with a Mona Lisa smile, not the only rider observing others, drawing a picture on a white pad of another passenger.

Late Morning Return

On Friday, headed out of town for the weekend, I came home at about 11am. A tall, middle-aged man with dark hair, a graying beard, and a cane got on at Kendall and rode to Harvard. He was leafing through a folder of materials from the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. Across from him was a young man with a face not shaved for several days. His jeans had holes in the knees and underneath his jeans, showing through the holes, he wore what looked like brightly striped tights, like something a clown would wear. He was listening to music on a CD-player, a technology that suddenly seems old-fashioned. I assume it was music. I suppose it could have been a lecture, the sounds of nature, or even silence.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Red Line

I ride the MBTA's Red Line almost every day from Alewife to Downtown Crossing. This morning I got on the T far earlier than usual, at about 6:30. There's a quieter, more subdued crowd at that time.
I wanted to pick for my URL but it was already taken by a blog that I think is in Arabic.