I went last weekend, after umpteen years, to Boston. It was not the real purpose of the trip, but a side visit, to my cousins condo. Ophelia has lived there for several years, I think it’s about 6 now but I could be wrong. She moved there when she, a rather ironic sidenote, got evicted from her apartment in Charlestown, in the Italian North section of the town, near the Navy Yard. I was there, just once.
I mentioned Ophelia a long time ago on this blog, even I do not know know exactly when, but I doubt it was favourable even then. She is at best a difficult lady. At worst she’s a total narcissist.
I did not realize, and no one mentioned this, that Springfield Mass, my real destination for this trip, is 90 miles away from Boston. I had thought about 50 and so was willing to make the journey. Once I heard 90 I was rather peeved as that was almost halfway back home, but I was committed to the trip so I went.
I got committed because Ophelia was supposed to just meet me in Springfield and bugged off suggesting, very nonchalanatly, to come and visit. She put it so innocously that I figured it was a short hop. She didn’t mention time or distance, so I thought it made sense. So instead of Ophelia meeting me in Springfield, she got out of that, and I already driving 4 hours was now going another 1.5. Of course the logic sounds dicey, but if no one tells you, how would you know? Everything was so trivialized that objections sounded outrageous and I found that they just wouldn’t come out.
So I drove to Boston.
It seemed like an easy drive, straight across Massachusetts, on the Pike. No problems right? Well TomTom started giving me troubles halfway there, blinking in and out, but I ignored it as I figured I knew the Pike and by the time I got actually to Beantown, it would be recharged. I was thinking that the cold got to it. Another bad idea. By the time I got to Boston and paid the omnipresent EasyPass Tolls, TomTom was no longer recalcitrant, it was dead. Black as night, with the charger staying “Green” I was stunned. I noticed that my phone was also dead, so I unplugged the TT and put in the SamSung and looked for signs saying Brookline. Zip. I was not sure if that meant I was so farawy that it was not yet pertinent or that I was there. With no GPS, no 4G and just a tunnel in front of me, I couldn’t tell, so I took it.
The tunnel is great. 3 lanes and brightly lit. NYC should have something like this but some Nixon appointed fool from Upstate felt that the darter fish would be threatened and we did not get it. I guess Boston does not have a darter and so instead they have the Williams tunnel. I do not know who Williams is. They never told me that either.
Out of the tunnel and into dark Boston and really no signs and really no exits either and with the final blow to my independence, I was running low on gas. No filling stations either. I must have passed the Boston Conservatory 3 times never seeing Fenway next door (she claimed she lived near that), because it was dark and unlit. I drove up and down always stopping at the tunnel and making another round while my phone charged. With no traffic on a Saturday night a trip up and down that highway can go pretty quickly, which was another thing that got me — all these brand new roads and no traffic. NYC has antiqudated roads and lots of traffic; Boston has the good life with I think one-tenth the population and no darter fish to boot.
Life is good in Boston except for one thing, I noticed, of course as always comparing it to NYC, there are no filling stations, and no houses. Zip. There are high rises but further in land, along that highway there is nothing but bit commercial enterprises one after another. No stores either that I could see. Signs to hospitals, to universities, most of which I did not recognize, and most of them all new, but where did the people live? It was not until I got off the highway and took some road going to the Charles River that I saw horrific apartment complexes, tall mega skyhouses, row upon row, with shorter and smaller hotels near by, that I realized that this was the Liberal Dream that we all live in these megapolis buildings, cities unto themselves, in 1000 square foot rooms and I remember the distinct feeling of panic. This was not the Boston I had known and to be honest, this was not a Boston I would like to know. It felt too claustrophobic and too controlled and far too new clean and neat. There were no vagrants, no litter and nothing nothing old except for squat buildings on the other side of the Charles.
I should have left right then and there, but I didn’t. Instead it was 5:30, I was tired and feeling very lost and dropped into the DoubleTree Hotel at Cambridge…another mistake but minor in the scheme of things, in retrospect what I should have done was gone in and gotten wifi so I could have some sense of my location, but I didn’t and stayed in the back parking lot and waited in the dark.
Pictures of the hotel , are here thanks to TripAdvisor. Alas there is no parking.