Sunday, February 27, 2011

...I clearly have no idea how subways work...

Subways are a wondrous and beautiful method of getting a bunch of people from point A to point B. I hate driving in the city, so I take the subway whenever I can. I love the idea of being able to swipe my card and take a subway to wherever I want to go in the city of Boston. And seeing as it is Boston (and everyone in Boston is trained to drive like an asshole, including yours truly), being able to circumvent all of that traffic-y bullshit is more than a welcome change. But taking the subway so much has had eternally skewed my perception of reality. That's right, riding the subway has fucked with my mind beyond the point of repair. Somewhere, down in those deep dark tunnels below the streets of Boston lies my sanity. Ok fine enough whinging, I'm sure you just want me to get to the point. Well the point of all this is that I have ABSOLUTELY NO idea how my dear beloved city is laid out.

That's right I've lived in Massachusetts my entire life and I have zero idea how one thing connects to another in the place where I grew up.

When I was younger, I would always take the subway into the city with my mom. We would get on the train and it would plunge into the darkness. The lights would flash by and suddenly I'd be in another station. I would peer on, my face pressed against the glass (much to the chagrin of my dear mother), watching the lights speed on by. Eventually I grew out of preschool and my family moved out of our house right outside of the city for one further away (but with a better school system...that's how I got to writing all edumacated and shit). Once I reached high school and got to driving around (and got into that whole I'll go wherever I want to phase) I began venturing into the city again. And so once again I got to ride that magical steel contraption.

Then epiphany struck years later when I was in college. During one of my numerous visits home (to do laundry and steal free food naturally) that we were driving back from Boston. Very typically, during these trips, I'm snoozing in the back, paying little to no attention to the things around me. Well this time (likely because I was still mainlining energy drinks like it was my job) I managed to stay awake. We took a wrong turn somewhere, because our TomTom GPS cleverly named "tomtom" (my mom's creative naming technique). Finally we make it to a road that I didn't recognize, but clearly my mom did. Well this road took us over the Charles river (those who aren't familiar with the layout of Boston, this is the river that essentially separates the "Boston" area of Boston from Cambridge, Boston's slightly cheaper, slightly uglier sister). We proceeded to drive through MIT, Harvard Square and a bunch of my other old high school stomping grounds. Now needless to say, this set off one huge fucking lightbulb over my head as I realized that not only were all those places connected, but they were actually all pretty close to one another. My immediate next thought was, "Fucking hell I'm dumb"

I had yet another such experience this past weekend as I was driving my friend into Chinatown so that we could get lunch. We took one of the two larger roads that ran along the Charles River (remember what I said about it above?) on the Boston side and pulled off somewhere near Beacon Hill (a very hoity toity area of Boston that looks like it should be pretty cheap to live in but is actually REALLY expensive...I guess that's what you pay to live in an old apartment on a stupidly narrow street on an impossibly steep hill in Boston). Suddenly a couple turns later and we were in Chinatown (I say a couple turns...more like several turns because I had to make another loop around Boston Public Garden...BECAUSE I SUCK AT DRIVING ALRIGHT?). Again, my head spun as I realized that ALL of these locations were SO close to one another.

Apparently my time spent underground (along with my watching WAY too much Star Wars as a child) had clearly convinced me that somehow, the riding the subway was akin to entering a mystical portal that had the ability to transport you from one location to another that is a HUNDRED THOUSAND LIGHTYEARS AWAY and the ONLY way of getting there is by paying the T to take you there. I'm sure that once I move into the city, I'll be able to figure all this shit out...but for now, I will still have absofuckinglutely no idea about how Boston is laid out. Thank god for mass transit.

...And that's what I learned today.


  1. oh wow, this is all so true,
    specially the hoity toity area of Boston part

  2. You should ride a bike in the city once it gets warmer. Makes learning the setup a lot easier.

  3. If you've ever read Neal Stephenson's book Zodiac, he does a good job describing how Boston feels a bit big and overwhelmingly complex, until you get in a little boat in the harbor and can get anywhere in 5 minutes.

    I can relate to this somewhat, as I made a point to occasionally walk between T stations when I had a lot of time to kill. Taking random busses that hop between stations is another good way to be like, "wait, that's HERE?"

  4. I thought mainlining energy drinks *was* your job...

  5. Damn, son, you're dumb as fuck!

    Somebody must have put stardust in your baby bottle, because that shit is the flagrant skippy-dippy. I was eating a soft pretzel on the Common once after seeing Terminator: Salvation and pelican with tiny feet landed on my shoulder. His mouth was full of fish and ideas, and he said: "Dude, the world is a subway. You are a skylark."

    Ever since, I only travel by Aluminum Falcon when I'm downtown.