September 11, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I had a short argument with one of the bus drivers of one of the buses from Cambridge to Waltham. I had pressed the signal for the bus to stop, and he had gone past where I needed to go and seemed as if he were planning to keep going. I said “Stop! Stop the bus!” He did stop the bus, but he didn’t open the door. I said “Why did you go past my stop?” He said “You pressed it mad late.” Maybe I had and maybe I hadn’t, but I said “OK, but you have to open the door now; I have a curfew to meet and I’m going to be late for it if you don’t let me out.” I was on time that night. However, all of a sudden, last week, the buses seemed to be taking longer to get to the bus stop in Cambridge. There seemed to be fewer of them showing up to go to Waltham. They seemed to be getting to Waltham a few minute later here, and a few minutes later there. I was five minutes late for my curfew for the first time last week. I was on the street that the shelter is on, but I knew that I wouldn’t be there by 7:00 p.m., which is the curfew. I called and said “I’m going to be a few minutes later.” The woman who seems to be the primary staffperson had a very negative reaction to that; she told me that I couldn’t be late. My feeling, to be honest, is that someone has to be more than five to ten minutes late to be really LATE, and that calling if you’re going to be five to ten minutes late is an acceptable way to deal with it. That staffperson is actually quite nice, in my opinion, and I understand that people have to set limits. However, I don’t think that the amount that I was late was unacceptable. She let me in; I was late again the next night, on which the female bus driver had first stopped the bus for a few minutes, just shut off the engine and sat there by the side of the road for a few minutes after the bus was part of the way to Waltham, and had then stopped the bus once it got to Waltham and done or pretended to do something to the outside of the bus. She had gone from her seat to the door of the bus, and put her arm outside of the bus, and then back to her seat, 3 times, before she started the bus again. I called on that night too, and was also only a few minutes late. This is not even to mention the harassment on the bus and the stalking of the bus by other vehicles, the distraction that that causes and the way that there are probably times when they have kept the bus from getting to Waltham at a time when it would be most helpful for me to get there. I had taken that bus at the same time before and not been late; not before I had told that one bus driver that I had a 7:00 p.m. curfew. The same staffperson warned me again about being late after the second time. On Friday, I took an earlier bus, and I would have been at the shelter before the curfew except that I got assaulted and the bus driver had to stop the bus for a significant amount of time so that I could talk to the police. I called on the way to the shelter, and said “I was assaulted on the bus.” When I got to the shelter, there was someone else there for staff, someone who has done things like rub her nose at me and cough at me. I don’t know if I was even 20 minutes late; I know that I wasn’t as much as half an hour late. The only reason that I was late at all was that I was assaulted. I showed her the video of my being assaulted. At no time have I tried to talk to any of the staff at the shelter about guests who cough at me, who say things to try to upset me, who harass me at times throughout the night in my room. I assumed that trying to do so wouldn’t do me any good. I’ve said before that it’s a better shelter than others have been, a more normal place, and the harassment hasn’t been as bad there as in other places, but it has still gone on every day that I’ve been there. I never started any arguments there, although there were people who tried to start them with me. I did my chore the way that I was supposed to. I never left my things around for anyone else to deal with. I kept my side of the room that I was in reasonably neat. I wasn’t a problem guest. Last night, when everyone had gotten on the bus in Cambridge, the bus driver left the bus and went to talk to someone in the office that was across the street. When he got back to the bus, the person whom he’d been talking to left the office went to the bus and they had another conversation. The bus driver coughed at me several times. He also coughed at a woman who almost fell when he lurched to a stop while she was trying to get to the front of the bus so that she could leave the bus. When she turned to him and said “What are you doing?” he responded by coughing at her several times, loudly. There were a few people who harassed me last night, although it wasn’t as bad as it has been at other times. When the bus was almost to my stop in Waltham, there were a couple of people who harassed me whom I confronted. I was talking to them as I walked to the front of the bus; the bus driver then coughed at me when he opened the bus. It was after 7:00 p.m. by then. I called the shelter; the strict staffperson answered and said “This is it. You cannot be late; do you understand?” I said “Yes, I understand.” She said “No, I don’t think you do. You were late on the weekend, too.” I said “I was assaulted on the bus on the weekend; I had taken the earlier bus and I would have been on time except I got assaulted. I told the staffperson who was there that, and I showed her the video of it.” She said that she had to call her supervisor. After we ended our conversation, I saw that Waltham police car #434 was idling in the parking lot of Harvey Industries, where a lot of other vehicles have parked or parked with people in them to stalk me. There was a police officer in the car. I took a picture of the car. The officer was on the phone. When he saw me, he ended his conversation. When he saw me take the picture, he drove over to me, saying “Can I help you?” I said, “No, thanks,” and kept walking. He drove out into the street and then drove in the street alongside me while I walked on the sidewalk. He said “You took a picture of me?” I said “No.” He said “You took video of me?” I said “No.” He said “I think you’re lying to me.” I said “I’m not lying; you’re not in the picture.” He kept driving alongside me. I said “I haven’t committed a crime, so there’s no reason for you to be following me.” He said “I think it’s weird that you took a picture of my car.” I said “It’s not a crime, and you need to stop stalking me.” We continued to this until I was almost at the shelter; then he drove away. When I got to the shelter, it was 7:15 p.m.. I was made to stay outside on the porch while the staffperson said that she was waiting for a return phone call from her supervisor. Finally, she asked me to speak to her in her office. She told me that I could stay one more night, and that I wouldn’t be on the bed list in the morning. I would be restricted from the shelter for 2 days, and after that I could start calling the shelter again to see if there was a bed. It’s a place where you can stay for 3 continuous months, so it’s difficult to get a bed there. It took me weeks to get a bed the first time, which might or might not have had something to do with the fact that I’m being persecuted by the conglomerate and that would probably scare off a lot of people from wanting me to stay at their shelter. After I spoke with her, I called the MBTA. The customer service line closed at 8:00 p.m., so I had 15 minutes to talk to them; I explained that the bus had seemed to be later and later, that I should have been taking the bus that left Cambridge sooner while also calling about the problem, but that what had finally happened was that I was being made the leave the shelter and I didn’t know when I’d be able to get a bed there again. She said, which I didn’t know, that if the MBTA determines that the fault of lateness is with them and not with the person affected, the MBTA can write a letter about it and give the documentation to the employer or whoever it is who needs to know that it’s not the fault of the person who was late. I said “Can you talk to the staffperson here now? I’m going to have to leave tomorrow if this can’t get resolved; they’ll give my bed away to someone else.” She said that she would talk to the staffperson. I went upstairs and knocked on the door of the office. The staffperson said “Who is it?” I said “Lena; I have the MBTA on the phone, and they’re willing to talk to you about the fact that I was late.” She said “I’m not interested.” I said “How can you not be interested?” She said “I’m not interested.” I said “But they’re going to be closing; they close at 8:00 p.m.; they can talk to you now, she’s happy to talk to you.” The staffperson said “I’m with someone now; that’s why I’m not interested.” I had to stop trying to talk to her then; it wasn’t going to do me any good. I talked to the MBTA person some more, who up until then had been very nice. I think that what happens in situations in which someone is being bullied is that seeing someone else do it often makes the next person not feel bad about it. She gave me a reference number for the phone call, so that I could follow up about the lateness question; the reference number was 3480915.

This is how the page that I wrote transferred to my blog; I can’t fix it now, I’m not going to have time.

Copyright L. Kochman, September 11, 2012 @ 2:18 p.m.


September 12, 2012

I’m adding this photo gallery and have made some additions to the title.

Copyright L. Kochman, September 12, 2012 @ 8:52 a.m.