Monday, September 29, 2008

MBTA, or just simply "The T"

Day 2 started out with an early run into Boston to see the Fondo L'Adunata Collection at the Boston Public Library. This includes the writings and corrospondence of Max Sartin, the original. We had decided that driving into the center of Boston would be a) confusing, b) expensive to park c) impossible to navigate, d) frustrating or e) all of the above, so we figured we would park the car close to where the family reunion was going to be (at 1:00) and take the T into town. My older brother was old enough when we lived there to have taken the T as a teenager and wanted to check it out, and since my friend (you may know her from here as nikita4773) always talks about the T, I decided to join in the adventure. So we went to the Grove Street exit right after Needham, parked the car and hopped the train. In some ways riding the T was just like riding Trax here in Salt Lake City, and yet at the same time it was completely different. Getting on the T without paying would be a hard feat to achieve, Trax is not so hard. The biggest difference was the scenery on the way in. New England countryside is completely different than Utah (duh), you'll see that by the pictures when I get them done. Two things struck me the most on the ride, one was that this was an old, old system. The stations, the rails, the tunnels, bridges and all, especially when we got into city and went underground into the subway system that has been around since 1914, was nothing like the shiny new Trax we're used to. The other was the effect the humidity and rain has on all of this. Bridges don't get rusty here like they do in New England. Yeah, our cement cracks and breaks, but the metal stays fairly fresh. Rust is everywhere back there. Moss too. Stuff grows on every surface that isn't constantly rubbed clean. Well, we finally made it downtown, it wasn't raining hard and the clouds that were hovering below the tops of the buildings gave for an awesome sight. (see picture at right). That's all for now, next post will include The Boston Public Library and Fenway Park, in the rain!

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Jo said...

Ahh, memories!

A Paperback Writer said...

I understand about moss and rust. People's steps in Scotland grow moss in the lesser-used parts. And "Painting the Forth Bridge" is a metaphor for anything that must be done endlessly, since the Firth of Forth Railway Bridge gets rusty so fast that they have to start painting one side of it again as soon as they finish another.

As for the subway:
Let me tell you of a story of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day.
He put 10 cents in his pocket, kissed his wife and family, went to ride on the MTA.

But did he ever return?
No, he never returned,
And his fate is still unlearned.
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston,
He's the man who never returned.

Okay, I'll stop now. But I just can't help thinking of that song if you mention subways in Boston.

Max said...

Painting the Forth Bridge. I love it, I'm going to have to use it sometime.

A Paperback Writer said...

Well, apparently, it's just an urban legend. Here's from Wikipedia on the subject:

""Painting the Forth Bridge" is a colloquial term for a never-ending task (a modern rendering of the myth of Sisyphus), coined on the erroneous belief that, at one time in the history of the bridge, repainting was required and commenced immediately upon completion of the previous repaint. According to a 2004 New Civil Engineer report on contemporary maintenance, such a practice never existed, although under British Rail management, and before, the bridge had a permanent maintenance crew.
A contemporary repainting of the bridge commenced with a contract award in 2002, for a schedule of work expected to continue until March 2009, involving the application of 20,000 m² of paint at an estimated cost of £13M a year. This new coat of paint is expected to have a life of at least 25 years. In 2008 the total cost was revised upwards to £180M, and projections for finishing the job to 2012.[8]"

Well, every Scot I know uses that metaphor anyway. I suppose it doesn't matter whether it's true or not anymore. However, it apparently still takes 10 years to paint the thing, so perhaps the metaphor is still good anyway.

Max said...

Well, it's a legend and I like it anyway. But when you consider it takes 6 to 10 years to paint the thing, and with the superiority of modern paint lasting only 25 years, mathematically it's not that much of a stretch for the legend to be true. Just from my experience with my house in the last 15 years, it's obvious that the durability of paint has increased drastically in the last decade or so.

A Paperback Writer said...

Yes, however, the housepaint you use must be able to withstand much greater temperature extremes (both directions) than whatever they use on the Forth Bridge. Of course, your house presumably has less exposure to salt water....
Go ahead and use the metaphor. You'll make all the little old ladies I know at church in Scotland proud. :)

Max said...

The fight against cell phones in the classroom is like painting the Forth Bridge. There, how's that?

A Paperback Writer said...

nice one!