Friday, April 20, 2012

Logan Express: A school vacation week disaster

As a community we are very lucky in Framingham to have a Logan Express. This has made my life easier since I moved here in the 1990s. I use it for work, for vacations, and I even have family members use the service when they are flying out of Logan.

I rely on it pretty much weekly this time of year.

This week, there were signs on the Mass Pike that instructed people not to park at Logan Airport. This was because the lots were full. I left for a 3 day business trip and as expected the Logan Express Lot was full (overflow as well). This was not a huge deal for me.

I had a few travel issues this week (ended up only getting 2 hours of sleep in 2 days thanks to Continental Airlines). I landed at Logan without issues (US Air this time) and I was ready to get home and sleep. I got to Logan Express within a half hour. I went to my car. I was blocked in by two other cars.
It turns out that MassPort paid for a valet service (nice use of tax dollars) and had people double and triple parked. I had to wait 1/2 hour to get my car out of the lot (could have been home for a good 20 minutes at that point). I was not comfortable having my car blocked in like that without my permission (it's a used Jeep, but it is still a well-loved car). Also, the Jeep was blocked in so horribly that the valet had to help me navigate in the dark lot (two of them had to guide me out of my LEGAL parking spot). And yes, I still had to pay (as did the others).

My question to you all--is this a good business practice? Using tax dollars to illegally park cars? Pack in as many as will physically fit in there (I know MassPort needs the cash, but this was absurd). I have the phone number for the supervisor and I'm tempted to call her. Was I right to be angry? I was so sleep deprived I was actually shaking by that point. I just wanted to hop in my car and drive home. Instead I had to deal with the valet and also other drivers struggling to get out of the lot (very difficult to navigate all the illegally parked cars--both rows were double lined with cars behind each row of parking spaces).

Again, we are lucky to have Logan Express. I was leaving at 3:30pm so I did not have a way to get dropped off there. I use Logan Express to save my employer money (and me time).

I'd love to hear from people that experienced this and what my next step should be. Is calling the supervisor really the answer since the 'park at Logan Express' sign on the Pike was beyond their control.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Saying the Right Things

As humans we often struggle with the great power we are given: the ability to communicate. Sometimes we isolate ourselves (I work in my own office--the last one in the hall of 25). Other times we jump right into a crowd and pretend all night long that we enjoy being social. Or in fact, on that particular day we might actually feed off the group's energy.

I've been traveling for work since 1999. I work with folks I've never met until I speak to them at an event or conference. It's always been the best part of my job. It breaks up the monotonous nature of working in an office. Plus, I don't travel all year long so it's a refreshing change. Each time I go somewhere new I discover things I've never noticed before. Like in Minneapolis (for the first time this late February/early March) I realized that they are one of the greenest cities I've ever seen. Even my hotel room at the Hyatt had 3 recycle bins (3!) and my food each day was locally sourced (no food deserts there apparently, despite being in the Midwest).

One thing that never fails to surprise me is people I encounter that clearly have no sense of manners. It might be someone that pushes me in line (and nearly knocks me over because I'm carrying a bag, box, laptop case). Or it could be someone that asks me something that is not appropriate or none of their business. I remember when I was engaged to be married and a client stated "Well, I sure do hope you're marrying a nice Jewish boy." (my maiden name is Silver, so I actually got that comment several times while at conferences--and clearly while wearing a name tag).

Recently a colleague told asked me how I was going to start having kids "now, at 35 years old?" Then awkwardly she replied, "Not that it's any of my business..." I told her I was not having my own kids and that here and there we tossed around the idea of adoption. I've been married nearly 12 years and I get that question a lot. I think...I got it twice just last week from complete strangers "And why have you not had any babies yet?" I keep saying I need a snappy reply. Something better than "I don't think my reproductive choices are any of your business."

I know that people mean well. They are just making small talk. The conference attendees that inquired about my fiance at the time were just being polite. They were also being a bit close-minded and were quite shocked at my answer. The same goes for individuals that ask when a woman is due if she's not even pregnant at all. Yes, that still happens. First off, I know women that have had a hell of a time carrying a baby full term or even getting pregnant at all. Can you imagine asking someone "when are you due?" that had just lost a baby?

Please, the next time you want to ask someone (a stranger, a client, a colleague) a VERY personal question--take a step back. I'm also welcome to any type of comeback I can give to someone that asks why I'm not a Mom yet. I've thought about saying "Yes, because clearly I'm not a complete person until I have children." or "Yeah, I lost 2 babies in the past few years. It's been nothing but heart break and devastation. You probably should not ask strangers that question." (totally made up of course, and not making light of women in that situation...I just feel at this point I need a shocking reply to squash that person from ever asking that again (or implying that someone is 'over the hill' at 35).