One my least favorite activities on the MBTA is to lug my bike and full panniers from Cambridge to Boston. Last night was no different so, as I stood swaying, gamely holding fast to a break lever to keep the bike from rolling, I amused myself with memories of strange, bygone rides.

I’ve had no less than three silent rescues while riding the Green line back in my Allston days:

1.) Struggling to open a GIANT binder clip (see illustration above) while shoving a fat stack of papers into it’s metal maw, I had a male rescuer look on with what I can only assume was amazed pity. Naturally, he stepped forward on the crowded D-line train, oddly silent, and gesture for me to hand him the clip. I did. This resulted in me holding my clip-captured papers on my lap as I tried to decide if I should be amused or embarrassed.

2.) Waiting for a B-train in Park Street, I struggled to open a glass juice bottle.  I tried with both hands, using the cloth of my shirt, grasping the bottle between my knees.  Just as I reached my highest level of voiceless frustration and gave up, a man (notice a trend?) stepped forward and held out his hand.  In silence, he proceeded to open the bottle with a crisp pop and hand it back.  I almost didn’t want to say thank you.

3.) Rinse and repeat #2.

Now, I’ve tried on myriad occasions to assist fellow T-passengers, elder women lugging carts, parents with strollers or pack carriers, people who’ve dropped articles of clothing.  Often, my assistance is declined.  So -combined with the above I can only conclude that, going forward, I should either a.) suddenly become a tall, silent, white man or b.) stop asking and just start helping.