Beware of Bedbugs

It’s moving time again in Boston. Every spring and fall the dumpsters fill up with discarded furniture and the other detritus of migrant student life. Permanent residents pick through the leavings. Neon tickets for overflowing dumpsters collect on the doors of apartment buildings, though how they get back to the absentee landlords is beyond me.

This year, however, there’s a new participant in the dumpster-picking ritual: bedbugs. Allston is the hotbed of bedbug activity, but I spotted the new bedbug warning label [bottom of the page] on a lovely blue loveseat as far east as Back Bay. Somehow I doubt the Allston bedbugs are that close to Beacon Hill.

Gnomi provides a guide to Boston for the newbies, but she leaves out both the bedbug risk and another vital piece of information. As explained previously in this very blog, the wooden ties with long steel rods laid across them are train tracks. Trains run on them. If you are on the tracks when the train comes, you get squished. Surly T employees will have to scrape you off the rails, and that only makes them surlier.

I mention this because a New Zealander electrocuted himself at Haymarket station this weekend. The NZ news and the young man’s mother blame inexperience with the third rail of Boston transit. I fully admit that the DANGER THIRD RAIL signs are small and poorly-lit, and that they date back to a time when Bostonians were expected to read, understand, and obey simple English imperative sentences. Yet the unfortunate Kiwi does seem to have had a rudimentary knowledge of the English language—certainly enough to handle “no trespassing” and “danger,” if not up to the subtlety of “third rail.”

In any event, the argument from ignorance is bosh. Matthew Gallagher died because he was walking on the train tracks. The third rail was merely a complication—a bonus, if you will. The MBTA cannot save people from their own stupidity. Bad Transit should be recommending a Darwin Award for Gallagher, not a lawyer.

13 Responses to “Beware of Bedbugs”

  1. anonomys Says:

    I knew matt gallagher personally, because i went to the camp he happened to work at during the summer of 2004. he is anything but stupid, and this article is completely wrong. you didn’t know him, so you have no right to make judgments on him. he was an amazing person who was probably retrieving the coins for his friend Craig Jonas who was traveling with him in boston, because doing a favor for someone is in his nature, its part of who he was. now, next time you pass judgments on someone make sure they are correct.

  2. Jemima Says:

    How, exactly, am I wrong? I said, Matthew Gallagher died because he was walking on the train tracks. You’ve presented no evidence to the contrary.

    I’m sure he was a nice guy, but that doesn’t make it any less stupid to ignore “no trespassing” signs and jump down onto electrified train tracks for pocket change. If he’d survived, I’m sure he would have admitted in retrospect that it was a stupid thing to do, rather than tried to sue the MBTA.

  3. Carla Says:

    Granted, it’s been a while (1994), but I remember from being a grad student in Boston that the pit in which the tracks are enclosed is deep. Maybe that memory is from the perspective of a woman who only stands 5foot4, and is perverted by time that’s passed…but I don’t think so. Leaping down into that pit for pocket change…that’s a waste of a life, pure and simple.

  4. Jemima Says:

    Red Line pits are pretty wide and deep. I haven’t taken the Orange Line to Haymarket since the renovation, but I assume the pit is the same as at other underground Orange Line stops. Here are some pictures of North Station for comparison; they don’t look quite as deep as the Red Line, yet the vast majority of people manage to stay off the tracks. (The Blue and Green Lines use overhead power.)

    According to the Boston Globe, Gallagher jumped in, got his change, and was trying to climb out when he met the third rail. I think his mother expressed it best: “It was just a dopey thing to do, wasn’t it?'’

  5. Stuit Says:

    Hey i am Matts cousin sitting in Auckland trying to find information on the internet about my cousin as i am trying to find life in itself and felt guilty of not thinking about him for the last week. But then i found this website and i am highly upset with the article and comments on Matt. i do realise that it was a stupid thing to do but correction he was not walking on the train tracks to my knowledge. In New Zealand we have a normal well what i thought was normal until last year a train that runs a long a train track with only two tracks and runned by deisel. We know nothing different. Matts life was lost but he had the life that i am sure everybody would dream about. He had a huge awesome family, a girlfriend of three years, a extremly cool group of close friends and crammed so much into his life more than what anybody else I know. we waited I think around 7-8 days for Matts body to be returned to us in Auckland New Zealand. It was the hardedt time of my life just waiting. carrying on with exams at High School and trying to find answers. My Aunty Gay had the phone call that Matt had died on a Friday late at night but I was told early the next day. I was hard for me but I cannot comprehend what my Aunty, Uncle and my other cousin Matts sister went through that night. Matts death has however brought my family closer than ever so that is the positive side to this. But we do not need people hyperbolating about what exactly happened. It has almost been a year since Matt died but I do not think the shock will ever leave me. Our family has had so much support from people all over the world and I thank them but wish that the people who have made comments on this page and thought he was stupid for not reading the signs never do anything stupid themselves because they will have comprehend what they leave behind as in family trying to deal with thier loss. I know people will probabaly never read this but thanks for listening. I now hope that Matt is up in the skys with my Great Grandfather and looking down on me and the rest of my family.

  6. Jemima Says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, but your cousin did make the somewhat difficult effort to get onto recessed train tracks in a station where he knew trains were coming. Even people who know better than to step on the third rail get squished that way; one got squished on the Red Line just last week. Whether you want to call jumping into a pit and walking around on the tracks long enough to step on the wrong rail “walking” or not is up to you; I call it walking on the tracks.

  7. Stuit Says:

    Jemima your really starting to upset me. you have heard the media side to this tradgey. Were you there when my cousin had 600Volts going through his body? NO! so don’t even try an comment on something that you dont have all the fact for. i pray for you for being so little minded and not wanting to find out the full story. i hope nothing ever happens to you or one of your family members and finding out that people are commenting on the death with the wrong story and making judgments on what happened and what that person was like. grow up and stop making judgements till you know the full story.

  8. ANONOMYS Says:

    I think that this website is a load of crap. Jemima as stuit said you are little minded. i am a close friend of stuits and his family. mathew was the nicest person in the world and i cant beleive that people like you Jemima are talking about him like you know him. the greif that mathews family has gone through is massive. and they have spent the last year of their lifes trying to rebuild their lifes and ajust to living it without mathew and it has taken a toll on them i have seen the effect it has had first hand on the family and i wouldnt wish it on anyone. these comments may seem a bit rash but thats because unless you know the person and have all the information dont talk about it. Mathew made a mistake im not going to say he didnt but people make mistakes all the time unfortunitly for us mathew made a mistake that got his self killed. i dont agree with what has been said about mathew on this web page. and the comment about the Darwin Award is not only affencive but uncalled for. if mathew was a member of your family or a close friend of you would feel the same as i do. all i am asking is that you put yourself in our shoes and think about how the loss of mathew is effecting his family. Jemima i wont you to do me a favor until you know the facts DONT COMMENT.

  9. Jemima Says:

    The facts are a matter of public record, so I know them. Thank you for your kind permission, therefore, to post to my own website about events in my own city. Please come again.

  10. Stuit Says:

    You are a complete twat you should stop commenting on things that you do not know or have the experience about. Jemima your a loser if all you can do all day is sit at a computer and suggest my cousin is stupid and comment on other current affairs you really must be little minded.

  11. Jemima Says:

    The facts are a matter of public record. What your cousin (if you are indeed his cousin) did was stupid. It certainly didn’t take me all day to note it.

  12. Jemima is a loser Says:

    this website is a load of crap. Stuit is fully right Jemima is a loser

  13. Jemima Says:

    The facts are not “crap” but a matter of public record. Since recent commenters have been neither rational nor civil, and have in several cases been trapped by the spam filter for profanity, I will be closing comments for this entry. Please come again.