It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...

Portraits of Harvard Square

  1. A fellow in his mid-50s emerges from the bathroom at the Peet's Coffee with garments in hand, having just changed into some obstensibly cleaner clothing. He finds the tea left for him on the counter and begins to pitch his idea of a 25-story underground parking garage to the barista. He says it'll totally change Harvard Square, but it's not getting built cause there are forces against him or something. Then he mentions that at Harvard, every men's bathroom has exactly two toilets in it. "I can't speak for the ladies' restrooms, of course." The barista continues to make pleasant conversation; he must be a regular.

  2. Seated at the Brattle before the 9:30 showing of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes are two gentlemen arguing over a Marilyn Monroe anecdote. The older-sounding gentleman insists that, during the filming of The Seven-Year Itch, Marilyn stayed at the same hotel as Albert Einstein, and one day when Joe DiMaggio came looking for her, he found Marilyn and Albert on the floor in Einstein's room going over jet engine blueprints.

    The younger gentleman casts doubt on this story by pointing out that Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist, so he probably wouldn't have had anything to do with plans for a jet engine. The older gentleman makes some half-hearted attempt to explain, and also points out that it was chronicled in a certain movie, too. The younger gentleman notes that just because something's in a movie doesn't make it true. Then the film begins and everybody shuts up.

  3. Some enterprising individual, no doubt inspired by V for Vendetta (I don't for a moment believe it was anybody celebrating Guy Fawkes Day) makes a rather bold statement on a wall at the corner of Church and Brattle St. In their moment of revolutionary triumph, however, they forget the b in the second "remember", and are forced to make a hasty correction. It's a shame, really, what with the amazingly neat handwriting and all.

    Remember how to spell remember
    Sorry about the street sign shadow there.

  4. "You gotta come back here and buy a ticket!" the MBTA lady hollers down the hallway. The response she gets advises her to perform a sexual act on herself. "You come back here and say that!" she hollers, and gets the same reply.

    "Yeah, you keep on walkin, then," she calls after the fare evader. "And then you tell the policemen the same thing you told me, when they show up, cause I'm calling them now." She sits back down at her stool. She does not call the police.

  5. The miscreant belongs to a gang of scruffy-looking newbie drinkers with Southie-style sweaters and wool caps. They mill about on the upstairs platform, and then they uneasily mill about on the downstairs platform. After a few minutes, one of the fellows walks back up to the turnstile area. There's something to do with an apology, and perhaps a payment in good faith. Then the group approaches me.

    "Hey, we wanna get to Allston," one of them says.

    "We're goin to The Silver Way!" his buddy cheers. The first guy ignores his friend.

    "So like is Allston inbound or outbound?"

    "It's inbound," I say. "You gotta go downstairs. Go downstairs, take that train to Park Street, and get on the Green Line. You'll probably want the B train."

    They scramble on down the steps, but just miss an inbound train. My outbound train arrives, and I take a seat inside. Just before the doors close the scruffy gang runs into the other end of the train. After they have hurried conversations among themselves and some bystanders, they get off at Porter.

    They're probably in Fitchburg by now.
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