Happy Transportation Day!

It’s been a surprisingly eventful day, one of those days where everything seems subtly connected to everything else.

I was on the phone first thing this morning with Cathleen about a minor ruckus (I would rate it about 0.25 on a ruckus scale of 0 – 10) over semi-colons, and she ended the conversation by wishing me a happy Transportation Day. I was chuffed.

Transportation Day is this annual picnic in the urban office park where I work, on the outskirts of MIT, where the management company invites various transportation vendors to set up booths. So there is usually one person giving out free bike maps, one representative from Amtrak, one from the MBTA, one from the strange little blue shuttle service that takes people from the office park to the nearest commuter rail stop. And so on. And there are usually free burgers and sausages and ice cream and some kind of carnival prizes and some sort of inflatable thing and some sort of person in a foam costume. I have always assumed that there is some kind of tax break for encouraging your tenants to avoid cars in their commutes, and that was Transportation Day’s whole raison d’ĂȘtre, but that is pure conjecture.

But Transportation Day is meaningful to me. Just a few weeks after I started this job, in June of 2000, I blew off what would have been my first Transportation Day in order to go shopping for an engagement ring for my girlfriend Terri. I met up with my brother Simon and sister-in-law Frances, and they took me to a couple of places in the jewelry district around Downtown Crossing in Boston. I ended up getting something at the same place that they had gotten their wedding rings.

So, every year, when Transportation Day rolls around, I get to thinking about getting engaged, and how nervous I was, and how much it goes against my grain to buy jewelry, but sucking it up because I knew that I was (hopefully!) going to get engaged out of the deal. And remembering it makes me all happy.

The first truly unexpected thing that happened on the morning of Transportation Day 2007, though, was that Terri and I put down a deposit for some studio space at the Joy Street Studios in Somerville. It wasn’t totally unexpected. We have been looking for a place to put the new Chandler & Price letterpress for a few months now. And we took a tour of the new Joy Street studio space earlier in the week. But when Terri called back to see about the space we had liked, and it had already been rented, we knew we couldn’t drag it out anymore, and we just had to go for a space today. This place is only a 4-minute drive from my office, so we went back just before lunch and figured out which of the remaining studios was our second choice, and put down a deposit. So this is very exciting. We will be moving the big press in a few weeks, and we have new, purely creative space to work in.

When I got back to work, Transportation Day was in full bloom, so I got my fluorescent orange Tyvek™ wristband from the front desk, and stood in a fairly long line for a sausage, and ran into Josh and sat by him out on the lawn. The DJ cranked up the Bon Jovi when it came on. I managed to eat without spilling onions and peppers down my front, which is pretty good for me. When I took the elevator back up, people were talking about a monkey. I totally missed the monkey! Had I not had a 1pm meeting, I surely would have gone back out and tracked down the monkey.

The really funny thing about the monkey, actually, is that Amy and I had been talking about the ideal Transportation Day feature, and decided that it would be a Monkey Grinder. And, lo and behold, a monkey grinder showed up! And we were stuck inside, watching the monkey from a meeting we were stuck in, while the monkey was on the other side of the glass, adjusting his little red fez, and kissing his handler. I mean, let’s face it, who would choose to be inside, learning about a reporting portal when they could be hanging out with a monkey?

The next unexpected thing happened toward the end of the day, also when I was in a meeting with Amy, when I briefly paused to check my email, and found out that my sister April had gotten engaged. I started flipping out and shreiking and probably scared the life out of poor Amy. This was not quite unexpected, either, but who knew it would happen today, on Transportation Day, the day of engagement?

And, then, on my walk home from the T, I called Simon and Frances to wish them a happy 10th anniversary (yes, my little brother has been married 10 years… gah!), and to discuss April’s engagement. They are visiting my folks in Western Pennsylvania and they were in the car on their way to dinner at the Grand Concourse in Pittsburgh, which was an early Simon and Frances Show date location, back when they were 15. We also went there with Greg and Dawn a few years back, for brunch the day after Dawn’s birthday, when she was starting to have morning sickness, though she didn’t know she was pregnant with Will at the time.

Anyway, I feel like I’ve gone a long way this Transportation Day.

7 thoughts on “Happy Transportation Day!”

  1. Three cheers for Transportation Day! Last night I dreamed that the monkey grinder was a woman who was attending a business conference in a sideshow capacity. She had to keep putting moisturizer on her hands to keep them from getting chapped — something to do with holding the monkey’s leash, moving him away from little kids who might hurt him, that sort of thing.

    At this meeting they served scampi for dinner, but instead of shrimp or langoustines, scampi was a still-alive hydra-like critter that dug its clawed tentacles into you when you tried to eat it.

  2. That is creepy!

    Have I told you about the dream I had a few years back, where Trader Joe’s was giving out free samples of this new kind of frozen shrimp that was actually made from this really strange mutant kind of deep sea millipede with a strange beaklike face and antennae? Each of the millipede’s leg was roughly shrimp-shaped, and that these “shrimp” were actually just a millipede leg. Since I had that dream, I have pretty much given up shrimp, because I can’t eat it without the mental image of that strange millipede; thinking about it actually kicks in my gag reflexes.

  3. I will leave the weird dreams to you all, I hope.

    Transportation Day! Wow, for me that’s a bit of a blast from the past. Great stories, though. :)

    Hope you’re doing well…

  4. Wow, this Transportation day thing is a good deal–monkey grinders & everything!!! I want to see a monkey grinder!

    That is super-cool about April getting engaged!!

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