I don't usually complain about public transportation, because I love it. There should be more of it. Complaining about it gives ammunition to the Babes in CarLand. The individual-car-based mode of transportation is outrageous and needs to die. Perhaps once I move out of the age category for which auto accidents are the number one cause of death, I'll warm up to the car. But I doubt it.
I don't usually complain about public transportation, but I had to say something tonight about our beloved MBTA. I boarded a crowded train at Downtown Crossing tonight coming home from work. The train drivers/operators frequently make announcements like, "The doors are closing, the doors will be closing, please step away from the doors because the doors are closing." Fortunately they don't usually do it with much spunk. But tonight there was a special duo onstage, Annoying Woman #1 and Annoying Woman #2. The usual announcements were made, but with an added extra-special echo chamber effect (echo chamber effect). Additionally, there was some yammering on about a disabled first car and don't board the first car (a disabled first car and don't board the first car) and about using all the open cars (using all the open cars).
Then the departure of the train was delayed by a man in my car holding open the train door. I looked out the door and saw a 4' old lady hobbling toward the train, perhaps as fast as she could. The man was maybe doing a good deed by holding the door open for the old lady to board. Then again, maybe the old lady should have just waited for the next train, like others do when they arrive at a train that is in the process of departing. Either ethical position has some merit I think.
However, the reaction of the T operators was completely without merit. They yelled over the intercom (both with echo and in unison) about stepping away from the yellow line and sir, quit holding the door open. The sir retorted, "There's an elderly woman coming!" The response of the T drivers? "Well, better GIVE HER A PUSH and get her on the train!"
Ok, so they didn't call her an Old Bag or anything, but as far as public offical discourse goes, that was fucking rude. The people in my car yelled various things in support of the gentleman holding the door open. At which point the T operators announced that this would be an express train to Harvard. Minutes later, Annoying Woman #2, who was perhaps daydreaming about an Annoying World far far away, announced that the next stop would be Charles (but I thought this was an express train...). I believe Annoying Woman #1 had the helm though, because the train did not stop at Charles. In fact, Annoying Woman #2, to redeem herself, meekly echoed the boisterous proclamation issued by Annoying Woman #1 on approach to Charles that "This is an express train to Hahvahd, this train will not be stopping...!"
But in the end, they still got me home safe and sound.
What do you think? Hold the door for the old lady?