Friday, September 24, 2010

Commuters Look Up

I write a lot about my commute to work, but rarely about my way home. This is because, generally, my commute home is uneventful. I leave work with just enough time to quickly speed walk to South Station, check the monitor, and hop on the train before it leaves. Unlike the morning, the afternoon is much more tame. Some days I need to navigate around a farmer's market to go to the train, but mostly the human traffic problem from the morning is not a factor in the afternoon. Except for some days.

Occasionally I get to South Station a few minutes earlier than usual or the train is running a few minutes late. On those days, everything is different. As I run into the train station I see a ton of people staring at the board. It is a pretty funny site. 100 adults, tired from work, anxious to get home, just standing there waiting for the monitor to change.

The second the monitor changes, everyone is off to the races! A human traffic jam is created as everyone who was just waiting for a train jets off to make their train and get a seat. It is not my favorite place to be since I try to avoid the stampede, but as an onlooker, it is pretty funny.

Adding to the humor is the train monitor itself. The original board in South Station was old fashioned. Someone would push a button to announce a train arrival or a track for departure and the numbers and letters would flip around making a very loud clicking sound.
from here
When the board was updated, people became nostalgic for the noise. Now, when the information on the digital board changes the clicking sound is still played throughout the station. It is definitely a sight to see...or hear.

from here
I wonder how many people would miss the clicking sound if it stopped happening one day? Definitely something to ponder while I wait for my track number to be announced.

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