Death on the Red Line Express

Today, coming home from a night of laughs, we were stuck on a ‘disabled’ train not quite able to pull into Davis Square.  It’s never a good sign when the intercom announcements are interrupted by bursts of laughter – it just doesn’t make one feel safe in the hands of the professionals.  The engine that couldn’t still thought it could, and we backslid down the slight rise halfway to Porter several times.  Fortunately, as the conductor kept mentioning in passing, the breaks still worked.  So at least we weren’t speeding to our deaths.  But it’s still pretty creepy realizing just how much the tracks cause each car to tilt, and seeing the ‘power rail’ sparking in giant arcs of power as the engine tried to tug us uphill.

I thought for awhile we would have to eat Lauren, as she was the one who jinxed us.  Seriously, it’s not a good idea to start talking about all the horrible mishaps that have befallen you on trains right as we’re about to pull into our station.  Simply not a good idea.  Still, i promised her we’d eat limbs first, so she’d still be alive for a few days at least, and Jeanne promised we’d start with her left arm since she didn’t really need that one anyway (see photographic evidence below, and thanks to the random stranger who took this photo and didn’t steal Jeanne’s phone).

1123082141

Fortunately for us all, the second engine they brought in to push us from behind was able to do the job, and Lauren offered us Swedish Fish to keep us off her limbs for awhile.  I’m not ashamed to say I accepted the bribe.

Flying, by bike.

In Massachusetts pedestrian rights are pretty strictly enforced.  When I first moved here from China (where drivers don’t care to avoid you or the 40,000 bikes swarming around you as you try to cross the street), I was shocked that people actually slowed down and rolled to a stop when I began to cross.  I was accustomed to accurately gaging the speed of traffic so that I could pass behind a car that was coming towards me in the other lane.  Mass. drivers totally threw off my timing.  Also, the bikers didn’t signal, broke countless rules of traffic, and got into everyone’s way.  The worst I saw was some idiot pushing his MOTORcycle up a narrow sidewalk going the wrong way on a one way street.  I mean, I don’t like bicycles on the sidewalks – you’re not a pedestrian, you don’t belong there – but I can understand that on some roads there really issn’t space for a bike on the street without causing major traffic problems.  But a motorcyclist who’s just too lazy to make three sides of a square?  It’s not like he can’t afford the gas.

Perhaps that’s why it didn’t surprise me to see a bicyclist flip over the hood of a car that was stopped at a traffic light.  True, the car was slowing to a stop in the pedestrian walkway, rather than at the white line where he was supposed to stop.  True, the bicyclist probably shouldn’t have been in the pedestrian walkway itself, even though his lane of traffic did have the right of way at that point.  Also true that a bike can’t swerve as fast as a car can stop.  Still, if the biker had been a little more careful and aware, he probably wouldn’t have been flung bodily across the top of the car.  Silly biker.  Flips are for kids!

But sometimes, it’s not the bikers who are at fault.  Take the recent bike race in Monterrey, Mexico.  A drunk driver fell asleep at the wheel and bashed into almost the entire race.  You can check out the picture of bikers flying everywhere here.  I would say the entire incident is hilariously funny if it hadn’t already resulted in at least one death.  Even though the race is an event that probably took all precautions, anything can happen, especially to those with less protection on the road.  Bikers, for your own safety, please obey the rules of the road and don’t take unnecessary risks.

My Bathroom is Carpeted.

Not my current bathroom.  The one I grew up using as a child was wall-to-wall carpet.  The only uncarpeted section was the bathtub itself.  It was really a nice place to be in the morning.  My mom would bring out the little electric space heater when we were going to take a shower or a bath.  it would make the whole room toasty.  After I got out, I used to linger in front of the heater with my towel, letting my body ‘air-dry’.  Really I was probably completely drying out my skin, but that warm little heater just felt so good.

I am guessing from the content of my adult state that the heater probably had more to do with keeping the bathroom dry  than keeping me warm.  The reason most bathrooms aren’t carpeted is due to dampness and possible mold.  Tile just does better resisting the wet air.  The thing I don’t understand is when some people have wood floors in a bathroom – that seems like more trouble than carpet to me.  Personally, I don’t even like having sheetrock in the bathroom –  it’s too easy for it to get damp.  But that’s really beside the point.

The point is that I loved that bathroom, and that heater.   I loved the carpet underfoot, rich in the cold mornings.  I loved getting out into heat with a sheen of water still on my skin.  I’ve melted heaters into flaming puddles of plastic goo because of this love.  I’ve turned towels to ash.  But still, despite all the possible negatives of this kind of bathroom, when I’m lying in my warm, toasty bed in the morning, it’s still the one I’m most drawn to.