This was not the blog I intended to write tonight.
I initially planned on writing another DIY blog about a project I just finished. (That will have to wait ’til tomorrow) I wanted to wait to blog until I left the store so I could write uninterrupted as today was busy as hell. That was until I took the subway home.
Normally taking the T home (for those of you not from Massachusetts, our subway system is called the T and the railway system the commuter rail) during commuter hours can be an exercise in patience. Seats are rarely available and manners and kindness are easily overlooked as everybody just wants to get home and forget their workday. I usually bring my headphones to drown these things out, but today, luckily, I didn’t.
At each stop, there’s a bell that rings and the conductor announces the incoming station along with the upcoming stop. It’s pretty pedestrian. Bing Bong. Back Bay. Next stop will be Mass Ave. Every once in a while you’ll get the occasional Please step inside the car. Doors will not close ’til you step inside the car. Everyone who rides the T is used to this and we are all similarly on autopilot.
Tonight, a night where I thankfully forgot my trusty headphones, was different. Oh man was it different.
I dreaded the idea of a headphone free commute, vulnerable to the obnoxious noises of Roxbury teenagers and the bumps and jostles of jaded financial district drones. The second I boarded the T at Back Bay Station, I was greeted to the holler of the Greatest T Conductor in the History of Transit or Conductors.
Next stop….Can you believe it?!? Masssss Ave! Puh-lease do not forget ya belongings! Doors opening on your right.
My man was straight killin’ it. He had such joy in his voice and he was coming over crystal clear on the intercoms. For some reason those things often mimic the quality of a McDonald’s drive through squack box, but for him, it was perfect. Every stop became anticipated, and at his command, we’d all shut up and listen. The entire car would laugh, too. Not at him, and hell, not even with him, we were just laughing because we were so filled with joy. It was the only natural human response.
We were soon approaching the Jackson Square stop.
Action Jackson! Akkkkshuuuuun Jacksssuuuunnn Squaaaaare
Eruptions of laughter.
For the first time I could remember, people on the train were making eye contact with one another. We were smiling and laughing and sharing the moment with each other, perfect strangers. We were a temporary community. This was our thing. Nobody else had this conductor, and nobody else would get to tell their families about their commute the way we would.
I was sad that I only had two stops to go. Stony Brook was next.
Stony! Stony! Stony! Broooook! Stony to the Brook! Only two stops to go y’all!!!!
Unfortunately, my stop, Green Street, didn’t get the dandy treatment. Didn’t matter. As I’m usually elated to get off the train, tonight I wasn’t. I experienced something special. It was so simple, but sometimes special doesn’t need to be elaborate. My man was taking pride in his work, not just pride, but jubliance. It couldn’t help but effect everyone within his reach.
We might all do different work, but I learned a lot from him today. I especially learned that it doesn’t necessarily have to be work.
And I’m really glad I forgot my headphones.