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November 26th, 2006

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01:01 am - 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.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 26th, 2006 06:22 am (UTC)
Best post.
[User Picture]
Date:November 26th, 2006 07:24 am (UTC)
Allston? They should have walked.
[User Picture]
Date:November 26th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
Also, Einstein had nothing to do with any jet engines as far as I know, but he did get his name on a patent for a refrigerator (actually mostly invented by Leo Szilard).
Date:November 26th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
waht does "southie-style sweaters" mean?
[User Picture]
Date:November 26th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
Cable knit, brown or green or another dark color, slightly frayed 'round the edges. Seen often on Southie residents of Irish heritage.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 26th, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
Well, at least they planned ahead.


(I think you can only play an m-flat if you're in the key of H.)
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
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.

Hey, I took that picture (only by daylight) on October 21. So it's been up at least that long.

Also, a couple days later, I read that someone was planning a V-for-Vendetta-based "justice ritual" for the fifth of November.

Given how the Democrats swept the election immediately thereafter, I am inclined to believe that it worked. ;-)
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
did you see this?
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
I most certainly did. I think it's rather neat.

I wonder if Macy's will put the window display up for A Christmas Story again this year, or if they'll go with something else.
[User Picture]
Date:December 1st, 2006 05:31 am (UTC)
Somebody will probably call those miscreants in to the MBTA complaint line and then I'll have to enter the paperwork into the system.

More work for me.

Ah well. It's a paycheck. :)
[User Picture]
Date:December 1st, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
I've been reading a lot of histories of early 20th century America; one city compilation mentioned a fellow who worked as cleanup detail for every parade (and there certainly seemed to be a lot of 'em back then.) This was the guy who followed along behind the horses with the broom and cart, and he was unique in that he found a special way to help him tolerate his rather lowly job. Every time he stopped to scoop up a horse apple on the road, he'd cheerfully say "Well, that's another shingle on my roof!"

Each step at work, however rotten, is another shingle on the roof, another french fry on the plate, another glass of beer...

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