There were National Guardsmen in the T stops today. They weren't all that obtrusive, but they were there, in BDUs, keeping an eye on things. Bags were being checked at Harvard, and probably all of the other stops that are too busy for the transit police to eyeball everyone coming through fare control.

If this were Phoenix, I think I would be more scared of the law enforcement than anything else. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department have a reputation for being sexist, racist assholes who think that "civil rights" is remembering to mirandize you in a language you actually speak, without using nightsticks for emphasis. (It is not an accident that the original case that requirement resulted from was Miranda v. Arizona.) I have great sympathy for anyone trying to be a decent cop in among that lot.

If someone was hoping for long-term chaos, they must be very disappointed right now. The city still runs as it always has, less one fare lobby on the Green Line. The T was opened back up within hours. The people here have a kind of faith that the government exists for their convenience, rather than as a gargantuan shadowy entity trying its best to keep them oppressed. They say thank you to the transit people here because that guy isn't "just" the bus driver, he's the guy who drives the bus that means you don't have to walk four miles to your job every day, and you generally get there on time.

There was no panic in the subway on Monday because everyone assumes by default that the MBTA's job is to get you where you're going -- including the MBTA. That's why the default failure mode for the T, barring some kind of catastrophe on the track or with the rolling stock, is "just get on the train". Your card doesn't work, their card reader doesn't work, the vending machine eats your money, you're unexpectedly short a quarter, whatever. Just get on the train. Arguing with you is not their job. Getting you from point A to point B is. Everybody's "point B" happened to be "far the fuck away from downtown" that evening, and they did their best.

The Red runs at a pretty high capacity during rush hour normally; there are standing-room only cars, express trains from the commuter rail stations, and even with locals stops there's usually a train out to Alewife every five minutes or so. I don't know what kind of magic emergency block signalling they have in place for evacuations, but there was another train coming in at Porter before I could even get up the stairs to the top platform. Whatever the MBTA is paying their people, it's probably not enough.

I think the nice lady at MGH will forgive me for taking a little more Xanax than normal these days. I do not think she's worried. She gave me 0.25mg tablets, and I don't think they make any smaller ones. She was actually making noises on Monday about maybe I should not wait to get them out until I start to freak out, which I think means, "please take one before you do something nerve-wracking," but I can't always tell what will set me off, and even half of one makes me want to lay my head down on the desk and nap. And I think it might kind of backfire if everything is nerve-wracking for a while. 'Rebound anxiety' is a thing, and it does not sound fun.

To be quite honest, I really don't care if I periodically end up on a low level of benzos for the rest of my life, in much the same way as I don't really care if I need a low level of caffeine when I wake up to make my head work. It's just that if I run out of caffeine, I get headaches and the inability to finish anything until I can walk down to CVS to buy more, but if I run out of alprazolam, I may have panic attacks and/or crippling seizures until I can get someone with a DEA license to listen to me. The drugs don't scare me anywhere near as much as the gatekeepers.


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