TRAIN OF THOUGHT
Thanks so much for running Jim Braude’s piece urging our government to really, finally get behind high-speed rail, which is so long overdue here (Perspective, November 24). Every time I travel in Europe, I wish, so fervently, that our train travel were as easy, efficient, and enjoyable.
As someone who has traveled from Boston to New York City over the past eight years for work, I find that the Acela has delivered the most civilized and economical mode of transport. Braude has built an excellent argument for the commitment to fund and build high-speed rail transportation, and savvy travelers figured out the pros and cons of trains vs. planes a long time ago. But how fabulous would it be to get to New York City in 90 minutes or Washington, D.C., in three hours? Very. Airlines would probably lobby hard against it, as people would have less incentive to fly, but I can’t think of another group that would not benefit. Not only is the train less expensive and more comfortable, with plush seats, plenty of legroom, free wireless, and decent food and cocktails, but it is also reminiscent of an earlier time, when everything was not on fast-forward. People would have a chance to relax for a minute, take in the landscape, and breathe. Now that would be a good use of federal money and time.
At first I was not sure whether Kara Baskin’s essay about instituting a waiting period between open houses and buyer offers was on the level or tongue-in-cheek (Perspective, November 17). There’s no doubt that the Greater Boston real estate market has rebounded. Sellers, indeed, do have a distinct advantage over buyers in the negotiating game. This is the polar opposite of 2008 onward, when financially strapped owners or aging seniors needed or wanted to sell their homes and didn’t have a chance. I would be in favor of Baskin’s suggestion as long as when it is a “buyer’s market” everyone is required to make an offer the day of an open house. I would also suggest that sellers are not that terribly concerned about an accepted offer falling off because of buyer’s remorse, home inspections, or an inability to obtain financing. The multiple listing service statistic of average “days on market” belies that. Lastly, enforcing her suggestion is impractical. You can be guaranteed that buyers will be making verbal offers over the phone, only to present the formal written one when the cooling-off period expires. Yes, for Baskin and her fellow buyers it is tough out there. But let’s wait to hear what she has to say when she is the one hosting the open house.
LET CUPID FLY
Every Sunday my boyfriend and I start our day with coffee and Cupid. What used to entertain has since left us shaking our heads in disbelief. Have we really become a society so void of class, respect, and manners? Is it so hard to exit these dates with, at least, some sense of dignity? The final straw was Dinner with Cupid on November 17. The gentleman (and I mean that loosely) was rude and classless, and the lady rated her experience as an A-. An A-? Really? From the reader’s perspective, the Globe is wasting money on free meals for people who have no intention of putting forward the effort needed to make a true connection. Wouldn’t these free meals better serve the less fortunate? I’m sure they’d be more appreciative.
HERE’S A TIP: NO EXTRA TIP
Usually, I love Miss Conduct’s comments and judgments, but I think she’s way off base on this one (November 17). Leaving an extra tip after a meal could, if not would, offend, and it flies in the face of whatever arrangement the host might have made with the cafe. In any case, you don’t know what the arrangement was or the amount of the tip the host provided. Leaving an extra gratuity will absolutely give the impression that the host is cheap, socially inept, or something equally offensive. As a parallel, would anyone ever leave an extra tip at a wedding reception? I think not.
HOP, SKIP, JUMP
Claire Curran-Balquist’s essay “Learning to Skip” (Connections, November 10) brought me back to 1948, when my mother taught me to ride a bike on our long driveway. All of the other kids in our neighborhood, including my younger sister, were riding. My mom chose a time when the neighborhood was still asleep, saying: “Of course you can ride too. Stay outside and come in for breakfast as soon as you can do it.” And I finally could ride! Later she told me that it broke her heart to watch from the kitchen window as I repeatedly fell down. She and I would be proud of that morning for the rest of our lives.
I remember learning how to skip when I was a young girl growing up in the Bronx in the 1960s. My teacher was my best friend, Anne. My family was not as well off as hers, so I lived vicariously through her. She had everything a kid could want: a bicycle, Barbies, and a grandfather who gave her a quarter any time she asked. On the days when she got a quarter, I would escort her to the local grocer and help her decide what treats she should buy. After her purchase, we would leave the store and skip around the corner and up the block to her front porch. There she would share her treats and life would be good. To this day I cannot skip without a smile on my face. I don’t think anyone can! Thanks for rekindling a tender memory and for putting a smile on my face.
Globe Magazine readers (anonymously) weigh in on Melissa Schorr’s “The State of (Extramarital) Affairs” from the November 17 issue:
> Melissa covered so much about the long-lasting ramifications of infidelity. As a survivor of infidelity, I appreciated this article. Thank you.
> I am astonished that there is not so much as a mention of homosexual affairs, which may indeed have all the trappings of opposite sex affairs — or none. If the number of extramarital affairs is increasing, I think that the number of same-sex affairs is exploding, especially among men. Looking at the men-seeking-men category on Craigslist is only the tip of the iceberg.
> It seems surprising to me that the writer did not even consider the diminishing stigma of gay sexuality among boomers (and others) as a reason for infidelity. On many gay dating sites, I am contacted by men who are not ashamed of their marital status but insist on discretion when it comes to trysts. . . . It is apparent to me that morals (and not the religious kind) and ethics are becoming obsolete.
> My hope is that people who may commit adultery by having affairs with married people read this article and have a change of heart as a result. . . . It is now about 15 years since I came to grips with the reality that my former spouse was cheating on me. . . . So, can we please send the message to everyone who will hear it, that if you are thinking about having an affair with a married person, don’t do it!
COMMENTS? Write to email@example.com or The Boston Globe Magazine/Comments, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.