Letters to the Editor

A couple of things are on my mind, inspired by my daily perusal of the Boston Globe, which we have delivered (old-school!) every day of the week.

First is about the Globe itself. It’s big news here in greater New England (if not nationally!) that the Globe’s parent company, the New York Times Co., has issued ultimatums to the Globe’s unions and management to make various cuts amounting to $20 million, otherwise NYTCo says they’ll shut the Globe down, because it’s losing heaps and heaps of money on a daily basis.

Wait, WHAT??? Yes, SHUT the Globe down. After 125+ years publishing.

Where to start.

A lot of people have written to the Globe, some specifically in response to columnist Scot Lehigh’s request for ideas to help the Globe stay in business. Many of the ideas are well-thought-out and well-reasoned; a few responses, in the true tradition of interwebs trollness, mock and laugh and say “it’s your own fault you left-leaning liberal media freaks, serves you right” – without mentioning, of course, that there’s also a very right-leaning paper in town too – the Boston Herald – which they’re welcome to read if they like that point of view better.

But really? I would be very sad if the Globe went away. And yes, although at different times we’ve subscribed under special discount deals, right now, and for the foreseeable future, we’re paying full subscription price. I think it’s worth it. I know this probably shows my age, but I really like having the actual paper to take with me on the train, to peruse through somewhere else in my house other than in front of the computer. I don’t have an iPhone, or an iTouch (sob! – I *want*!!), nor a laptop I want to cart back and forth to work. So how else can I read the paper on my commute? I will keep a close eye on developments.

Letter #2
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or the “T” as its known here in the greater Boston area, is reported to be considering drastic service cuts to stay afloat (just barely, actually – it’s long been known that the T is in deep deep financial do-do, in part due to various debts related to the Big Dig.

One of the cuts? No more commuter trains after 7 p.m. >BIG GASP< here. Again, where to start?

First of all, last summer we cut back to become a one-car family. After all, we live an easy 1/2 mile walk from the local train station – and hubs drops me off and picks me up most days anyway. So the second car sat in the driveway probably more than 90% of the time. It was a lease, and when the lease ran out I turned the car in. Bye-bye!

Second, many people in my office (read: boss, and others) live pretty close to work. Our office tends to be one of those that gets going a bit later in the morning and stay later into the early evening. And things tend to crop up late in the day.

The last “rush-hour” train on my line leaves at 6:15 p.m. If I miss that, I have to wait a whole hour and 20 minutes to wait for the next one at 7:35, getting me home about 8:45. That’s p.m., folks. Pretty consistently lately I’ve been taking that 6:15 train. And I take the subway and/or bus-subway combo to get from work to the train, once I’m in Boston. Not always reliable.

(Digression: having lived for a number of years in the Central time zone – Texas – it’s my observation that, perhaps due to differences in TV watching at night?, everything starts earlier and ends earlier there. People were often at work by 7 a.m., certainly 8 or 8:30, and left correspondingly earlier in the late afternoon. Here on the East Coast, everything seems to start later and go later into the evening. Hmmm.)

Therefore, if the MBTA cuts the trains after 7 p.m. – that is, after 6:15 for me – and I miss that train, then what?? Where do I stay? How do I get home? Oh, yeah – hubs, who’s already worked usually a 10-hour day, says he’d just have to drive into town to get me, adding another two hours and no supper to his day. Fair?? not hardly. And we just don’t have it in the budget to buy another car, nor do I want to drive into Boston ANY days – the commute sucks, and there’s pretty literally NO parking anywhere near my office.

I think the T should pay attention to my digression above, and cut a couple of the very earliest trains (seriously folks, who goes to work at 5 a.m.??? and then still has to work until 3:30 or 4 before the train home?) and the very latest trains. Am I being selfish? Certainly worried. Again, we’ll keep an eye on the situation.

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