"Excuse me, but I'm wondering if there is a way you can squeeze in a bit more?" asked a slender girl to the man standing in front of her.
His eyes widen as he looks behind him at the tightly packed mass on the bus and then back at her.
"I only need to go a couple of blocks," she continues to plead. Hoping that a space will magically appear that will allow her (and only her) onto this overpacked vehicle.
Smiling kindly, his response brought choked-back giggles that rippled through the whole vehicle. "Sure. I'll just have to remove some ribs. Oh, and that old lady there can get tossed. Cause, you know, it's all about making sure you don't have to walk those 2 blocks."
Over the past 3 months, I've learned how to wrestle with the transit system in Boston. A different beast from Seattle due to the trains, lack of water to navigate and the fact that it's far older, it's been an interesting education dealing with people on this level of intimacy.
Following any event that deviates from the norm, though, the system is easy throw into complete chaos. I've learned with snow to avoid the trains at all costs. With sporting events, I leave early (or much, much later) to make it home.
But one other secret is learning to work with people. Specifically in quietly demanding access, but also knowing not to overstep boundaries that cause pain to everyone else.
This morning was the perfect storm for all of this. Parents carting small children where quickly given access to transit, but one mother was informed that there was no way the bus could also accommodate her B.O.B stroller. The slender girl who was trying to whine her way on the bus, was quickly distracted by an older woman who suggested they grab a cup of coffee to warm them as the walked to the next T stop. And people did pack in, exchanging information about what part of the system was down and sharing strategies for how to access the downtown core.
All of that combined with jokes and much needed rounds of laughter following comments about getting to know your neighbor on a whole new level.