Stay with it. There’s a punchline.
With construction on the green line, T train service ends at North Station. If you want to get to the CambridgeSide Galleria, you have to hop a shuttle bus. In typical Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority fashion, this isn’t so easy.
Our mass transit officials apparently couldn’t figure out a way for the buses to stop near the T station. Instead, seekers after the shuttle must walk three or so blocks, following signs — if they know to look for them in the first place — to where the buses stop. Except they don’t stop there.
They’ve been moved. It’s confusion piled atop confusion.
Now, a small sandwich board at the T exit says to go the “Tip O’Neill building (Lomasney Way),” but its flip side says the buses stop at “Merrimac and Causeway.” Both can’t be right, but they’re still equally useless to someone who doesn’t already know where they’re going. Tourists can despair twice as much, or even cube their despair, given the added challenge of knowing or guessing that the Tip O’Neill Building is, in fact, the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Federal Building. (Everyone knows to ignore half the official name, including the beginning, right? Even teenagers from Samoa, Bosnia and Iowa?)
Perhaps it’s best to follow those signs — again, if you know to look for them in the first place — three of which guide you forward. Then one leads you vaguely to the left. If you don’t get lost as a result, by completing a tight arc around a building, you find the last one pointing definitively at where the buses don’t stop.
Right. Because, as you may remember, one half of a small sandwich board three blocks back told you the bus is at the “Tip O’Neill Building.” So does a sign where the buses are supposed to be: “T bus stop has moved to Lomasney Way at ‘Tip’ O’Neill Bldg.” (Perhaps the sign should say, “Turn around. Walk opposite direction to sharp-angled brown building across the street.” Perhaps it should also provide a brief history of the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, including or consisting only of the fact he was known as “Tip.”)
If you survive crossing the street and identify the need to go around yet another building to a spot you can’t see from where you’ll certainly be, you will finally find the place where the shuttle buses stop. And if you spend the time waiting for the shuttle buses by looking around, you’ll finally come to the punchline that makes this all worthwhile in a tragicomic kind of a way:
There’s a sign amid construction saying “T improvements ... Creating jobs for today, better service for tomorrow.”
Will tomorrow never come? Will it come before the next shuttle?