Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I've now officially visited Boston five times now. Each time I go I feel like I get a little more familiar with the place.

That said, I've never been there for vacation or anything. Every time I'm there it's for PAX. Still, even though I spend most of my time in and around the convention center, I feel like I've seen enough to form a few opinions.

First, driving there is awful. The first couple of times I went to Boston I drove there in my car (my opinion of flying being well documented at this point), which involved driving through the streets of Boston at some point.

Driving through Boston on the freeway is pretty bad already, but that's to be expected. There are worse cities to drive through on an Interstate. Not many, but they exist.

The worst part is actually driving in the town itself. It's very crowded, and there are lots of one ways and dead ends, misleading streets, and, worst of all, streets on top of streets, which really screws with a GPS service.

Driving through the city was also stressful at first because it felt like every person around me was always honking, as if I wasn't going fast enough in the bumper-to-bumper traffic. But then I realized that honking meant something else on the streets of Boston than it does in other places I've driven; whereas turning on a blinker and trying catch the eye of another driver is how most people attempt to merge, Boston folk instead simply announce their attempt to merge with their horn. With that fair warning in place, they will proceed to edge their way into your lane.

This realization told me a lot about the people of Boston: there's something about the attitude of distinctly Boston people that makes them seem rude or pushy to people from other places, but in fact that gruff demeanor is simply a part of how they communicate. In a town where everyone is always in a rush, it makes sense that people would learn to cut through the nonsense and get down to business as efficiently as possible.

That said, it can be pretty jarring, and it also makes it difficult for me to know whether someone's actually being rude, or if they're just being Boston. So, I'm forced to just always assume the best, which is kind of nice in a way.

An unfortunate aspect of Boston is how almost everything seems to shut down at a certain time each night, usually concurrent with the time the public transportation stops running each night. This usually isn't too bad, since we shouldn't be staying out too late during PAX anyway. However, I do remember this one time when we were walking to our hotel one year (before we started booking at the hotel attached to the convention center), and some of us really, really needed to find a bathroom. However, there was simply nothing available, and we just had to deal with it for the half hour walk.

Anyway, Boston is an interesting-looking town, but I doubt I'd visit it as a tourist. I appreciate the city's storied history, but I'm just not much of a city person. It can definitely be a pretty place, though. If you have an interest in historical cities, I'd definitely recommend visiting Boston sometime.

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