Twitter is hilarious. It has the tremendous power for good and also the power to do some really horrible stuff. Then stuff like this happens.
This was tweeted to us yesterday by our friend Jaya. Apparently a tweet of ours caught the attention of the Boston Metro. If you’re not familiar with the Metro it’s the free newspaper handed out at T stations and major tourist sites in the mornings.
As I commute on foot or by car I haven’t read the Metro in years so I didn’t see that they’d quoted us until Jaya told us. Here’s the quote.
There’s context to this tweet, aside from the fact that I generally don’t like tourists. Here’s what happened.
I was leaving Harvard Square to go to Kenmore Square. The fastest/least complicated way there is to take the 1 bus. I was waiting at Holyoke Gate for the bus. Among the group of people waiting for the bus was a woman in a wheel chair. She had casts, crutches, bandages – in short, the works. She was being wheeled around by another woman and clearly looked like she’d been in a car accident or something pretty serious.
Aside from common courtesy, anyone who’s ever ridden a T bus knows that if there is a rider in a wheel chair they have to get on first. Whether it’s the first stop or the middle of the line, the driver has to be involved in them getting on and off and so the rest of us have to wait. It might be an inconvenience, but compared to having a cast on each leg, it’s really not that bad.
Once the bus finished emptying two people tried to jump on immediately and one of them had a 2014 marathon jacket tied around his waist. When the driver told them, firmly and in no uncertain terms that they had to wait, they were quite affronted.
And here’s where I go on a tangent for a moment. On this blog and on twitter Geoff and I try to, as much as possible, steer clear of, ahem, “colorful language.” Unless we’re quoting someone else or writing about swearing, we keep it clean. This is for a variety of reasons. One is because the internet is written in ink, we can’t take back what we say. Also, potential and current employers can easily see what we write here, and, while people like The Bloggess have taken swearing in blog posts to an art form, we’re not quite there yet. Finally, our parents read this blog and both of our mothers are prone to fainting fits if they hear or read too many four letter words, so there you go. A family friendly blog.
That explains why my tweet didn’t use the words I used when I explained the situation to Geoff when I got home. Aside from the fact that I had a 140 character limit, I knew that what I was tweeting was not only representing both of us, it had the potential to reach a larger audience. Oh, and check it out, it did.
The fact is, this couple was horrified that they had to wait for a woman in a wheelchair to get on a bus. They were acting like they were owed something because one of them was wearing a 2014 marathon jacket. Sorry, folks, but if you were able to run 26.2 miles the day before and you think that entitles you to get on the bus before someone who can’t walk, let alone run, you’re a jerk. You are entitled self involved pinheads who clearly don’t have a clue about how to treat other people. The fact is that every single other person getting on that bus knew to wait while the bus driver fought with the wheelchair ramp, which wasn’t quite working properly. That just made you look like the spectacular Grade A, Blue Ribbon, craptastic examples of humanity that you really are.
So, Metro, did I “lose the marathon spirit?” I’m not sure how you are defining it. Every year when people wearing jackets and medals after marathon day is over prance around greater Boston demanding things, I get angry. They expect free stuff, discounts, free admissions, and to cut the line for the T. You know what else they are? They’re tourists. The folks that do this every bloody year are inevitably not from around here. The folks I tweeted about? Definitely not from around here. If their behavior is representative of “the marathon spirit”, they can keep it and take it back with them to wherever they came from.
Unless I missed the lesson from last year, the people who run the marathon aren’t the heroes just for running it. The people who take care of them, risk their lives to keep them safe, and who keep them healthy and hydrated are. I have friends who run the marathon every year and, while I respect what they do and freely admit that I couldn’t do it, they aren’t heroes for doing it. They’re well-trained and disciplined. The people I know from around here go home, hang up their medal and their jacket and call it a day. They get up the next morning and go to work. They don’t strut, they don’t demand, and they run because they love it. To me, that is the marathon spirit.
Take a lesson, tourists – that’s how it’s done.