Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shipping Up to Boston

What I-93 in and out of Boston looks like in my wildest dreams. (Source)
So I had to deliver The Missus Herself to Logan International on this Tuesday instant. Those who know me will know that I have no love for actually being in the Greater Boston Metropolitan area. I love the "idea" of Boston. Actually being within the confines of Route-128 (also known as I-95, see the map below)? No, not even a little.

Google Maps

As you can see, 128 skirts Boston. On Tuesday I had to plunge into the belly of the beast and travel up I-93 to Logan, being marked with an "X" on the map. Not sure why I chose a red "X" but those of you who maintained or flew aircraft owned and operated by the USAF might hazard a guess. It was done naturally, without malice aforethought, but was, no doubt, Freudian, slippage-wise.

And yes, I-93 does go under the water, through a tunnel yes, but the tunnel is indeed under the waters of Boston harbor. On a quiet night one can still smell the tea.

No, not really but it sounded poetic, sort of...

Anyhoo.

The trip up was done at or near the speed limit until around Dorchester. Things then got slow, then slower, then (magically) the traffic sped up again. While it was by no means pleasant (driving in Boston is pleasant only if one if heavily medicated or clinically insane) it was, as my old gaffer might have said, "Not bad."

I had no fantasies of firing at the other vehicles with a hand held rocket launcher, nor opening up with a turret-mounted Ma-Deuce (M2 .50 caliber machine gun, if you didn't know). Though one guy did go flying by weaving from lane to lane at a rather high rate of speed (which would have been unsafe had the highway been empty) and I had a momentary thrill thinking that perhaps the guy was a kamikaze and just around the next bend I would get to see him crash his vehicle into a semi in an act of self-immolation which would make the Emperor live ten thousand years.

Banzai, banzai!!

"Honey, shut up and pay attention to the road, our exit is coming up shortly."

"Oh yes, you're an idiot."

"Yes dear."

Walter Mitty lives on.

While traffic was "not bad" on the return trip to Little Rhody (sans Frau of course), it did remind me of this -

(Source)
...chaotic and moving every which way. (That's Your Humble Scribe imagining hisself in good old E5939.)

And as I was forced by The WSO to enter the environs of the capital of the People's Democratic Socialist Commonwealth of Massachusetts ("but Dad the tickets were so much cheaper") you just had to know that there would be some Dropkick Murphys.



What? You weren't expecting that?




I didn't mention the awakening at 0500, at work by 0630, a brisk 3 and a half hours of productivity, back to the manse for to collect The Missus Herself, then up to Boston, into the aeroporto, back out again, a quick stop at the manse (for reasons which there is no need to share but anyone who has ever been on a long road trip with too much coffee on board might relate to), then back to the place of gainful employment for another productive couple of hours. Thus saving Yours Truly from burning any more "PTO*" than was absolutely necessary. No, I didn't mention that.

Oh, you're right. I just did.



* PTO - Paid Time Off, "vacation" days. Though we're not supposed to call them that.

46 comments:

  1. I used to visit Woburn, a suburb of Boston, about every other week back in the eighties and early nineties for my job. Not a pleasant experience. Worst drivers in the world. Not what one would picture as reserved New Englanders. I only liked one person at the company that I was dealing with. Really nice, pleasant guy. Came to find out that he was actually from New Hampshire and commuted to work...................

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    1. I've been through Woburn a few times, interviewed for a job there post-Air Force and was offered a job. Decided to go with my current employer instead. I have never regretted that decision.

      There's something about the Boston area which turns normal people into psychopaths when they get behind the wheel.

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    2. There are no normal people in the Boston area...........................

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    3. And they are damn proud of it!

      Just ask them.

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    4. Good point Skip.

      Normal in Boston is not normal in Omaha. (Said one who knows.)

      All depends on perspective I suppose.

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  2. Debbie Reynolds (doorkeeper)July 13, 2016 at 5:02 AM

    Born and raised in a place where 3 cars and a tractor constitutes a traffic jam...I spent a glorious week in Boston once, with a friend. She's also from a somewhat rural area. We stayed outside town and rode the train to all the sights. And we never got run over crossing the street. But I understood what I'd read a long time ago, that Boston had perhaps the worst drivers in the country. One hand on the horn, the other in the air.

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    1. Riding the train into the city was a wise move.

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  3. "...one can still smell the tea."
    First thought: It's not the tea you're smellin' but what it is rhymes.

    My own experience driving to airports is similar, only it was to Philly, not Boston, from Pottstown.
    I get the same thrill (sic) when driving through Portland.

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    1. Heh (on the rhyme).

      Portland? Not the first time I've heard that. I have no desire (nor reason) to visit Portland, Oregon. But as to visiting Portland, Maine? Yes, good food, good views, great brewery (Shipyard).

      But the one in Oregon? Nope.

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    2. The upside to Portland Oregon is they have a good light rail system and possibly the best independent bookstore in the West.
      The food scene isn't too shabby either.

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    3. So if forced to visit Portland (OR) I can ride the light rail, visit the bookstore and get a good meal.

      Good to know, just in case.

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    4. Also, OAFS, remember that I have invited you to RON at my casa, with a beverage of your choice. I live just outside Portland, OR. And yes, the drivers here are as bad as you have heard. I go by way of Uber.

      Paul L. Quandt

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    5. Ah yes, I DO have a reason to visit Portland.

      You had me at "beverage of choice."

      Uber is good, use it all the time in the DC area.

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  4. So, what's this about referring to I-95 as "the 128"? Disinformation so Tourists will self-Identify?

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    1. Hahaha!

      In my experience many interstate highways will, in some locations, follow the path of a pre-existing road. In that case the interstate has it's number plus the old state or local highway number for that stretch of highway.

      A fellow familiar with the area tells me that it's only a short stretch where 128 and 95 are the same. To a non-Bostonian, non-flatlander, it's all the same to me.

      Many things in New England are not on the map as the locals call them. Rhode Island is particularly bad for that. Just try and find "South County" Rhode Island on a map. No such critter. But it's what many of the locals call Washington County. It's the southern-most county in Little Rhody and includes Block Island.

      I don't understand it, it is what it is.

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    2. No, there's a short stretch where I-93 North and 128 South are the same. I-95 and 128 are the same road from Norwood/Canton up to Peabody.

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    3. Absolutely correct Comrade! A denizen of that region explained that very same bit of information to me over on the Book of Face. I meant to relay that information to the readers here, and, as I am wont to do, completely forgot. Many thanks!

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  5. Boston! . . . therein lies a tale (or two). Having been stationed at Fort Devens (thrice) Boston was the siren's lure that called us to wrack and to ruin on the shoals of the Combat Zone. Then too, there was profit to be made if one had a car. Every week-end found GIs who needed a ride to Logan airport, and at five dollars a pop a tidy sum could be amassed. (Consider that an E-3 made around $125 a month back then.) There was a Grayhound bus but it had a schedule to keep and too many times their schedule and the First Sergeant's didn't mesh. Your ride would wait for you.
    Later in my life, years after life at Devens, I was living in New Hampshire. I was in need of employment. I'd driven a tour bus in Berlin on a part-time basis and Concord Trailways was hiring. Their commuter run was Concord, Manchester, Nashua, Boston . . . and back. I entered their month-long training program. Knew I'd mastered the art of maneuvering through Boston traffic when I received my first one-finger salute on I-93. After the month of training, however, the entire class of trainees was dismissed. The company had fallen into financial hard times. Such is life. (And, actually, I don't know where I'd be today if the job had come through and I'd settled in NH for good.)

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    1. Correction - That was "Concord Coach," and they are still in business. I just Googled them.

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    2. You were able to drive a bus in Boston?

      Amazing!

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    3. I remember the Combat Zone. Never been there, had no desire to do so. When I was younger we managed to find enough trouble to get into out in the boondocks where we lived.

      I wonder if that still exists?

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    4. I've read reports that the Combat Zone is no more. Boston cleaned up her act . . . much like New York did.

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    5. Odd you should mention that Snuffy. Right after I pondered the existence of the Combat Zone, I realized that, through the magic of Google, I could get that answer.

      Yup, I checked around the Web of World-Wideness and discovered that Boston had indeed, cleaned up her act.

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  6. Drive in Boston! Are you nuts? Only crazy tourists and bedroomite commuters from the suburbs drive inside 128. Bostonians take the "T".:) 29 years later retired and returned (to the Cape). If we couldn't fly out of T.F.Green we took the bus to Logan or got off at So.Station to sight see.

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    1. The Missus Herself deserves special door to door service for her raising of the progeny (all of whom grew up to be Officers in the Naval Service) and for her care and feeding of Your Humble Scribe.

      I will drive my wife to Logan as that's where The WSO decided she would fly out of. As it was The WSO who paid for the trip I didn't really get a vote.

      But I do get to bitch about it and hey, I got a blog post out of it.

      The things I do for love...

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    2. I was wondering what it is about the USAF that all your offspring choose the USN; then I decided that perhaps it was that they wanted to be in a military organization.

      I am allowed to say that, having served 16 years as an USAF brat, almost three and half years on active duty USAF, and some number of years in the USAF ( RES ). I earned both of my national defense ribbons in the USAF, Viet-Nam and Gulf I.

      Paul L. Quandt

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    3. Juvat - behave. (Truth hurts...)

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    4. Paul - My son, who had in hand three ROTC scholarships (Army, Navy, and Air Force) for college, AND acceptance at the Trade School on the Severn, came to me, the Old Man, and asked "So Dad, should I go Air Force? What do you think I should do?"

      First off we discarded the idea of Army ROTC right away. They only offered a three year scholarship, I saw the logic in their stance but not to the point of ponying up thousands of dollars for The Naviguesser's freshman year. As to the Air Force, we had this conversation -

      "Son, you wear glasses right?"

      "Yes Dad, obviously."

      "Who do you think runs the Air Force?"

      "Pilots?"

      "Yes, sometimes navigators. But yes pilots, quite rightly, run the Air Force. I mean it's right there, in the name, Air Force. Can you be a military pilot?"

      "Well no, because I wear glasses." (At the time corrective surgery to improve vision was taboo.)

      "So, just how far do you think you could rise in the Air Force? As a non-pilot."

      "Not far?"

      "Indeed, not far. Oh, you could make a contribution but..."

      "Yeah, I see. So I should probably go Navy."

      "That's my advice son. Go Navy. So, the Academy is pretty prestigious and..."

      "Dad, I'm not going to the Academy."

      "You're not?"

      "No. After four years of Navy ROTC I get a reserve commission. Same thing if I do four years at the Academy. Big difference is, in Navy ROTC I can have a life for those four years. At the Academy..."

      "Point taken son. Navy ROTC it is."

      So that's why all three kids became Officers in the Naval Service.

      That and the fact that they are way smarter than me.

      But don't tell them that. Especially The WSO, she would never let me forget that.

      Oh wait, they read the blog...

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    5. Academy graduates only get a reserve commission? When did that happen? and why?

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    6. Not sure when that happened, I just know that it was in effect (and still may be) when my kids were commissioned. Back then in order to get a regular commission you had to "compete" for it sometime before putting on O-4. Not sure of the why of it.

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    7. I was selected for regular when I made O-3, which I think was when most reservists get selected. I find it amazing that the "Perfumed Princes" allowed that to happen. I suspect Goldwater-Nichols had something to do with it.

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    8. I knew a guy in Germany who was selected for regular at O-3. That would have been around '95 I think. He was a shoe clerk. Totally. Though not a bad guy, just not a fighter pilot, you know the type.

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  7. Thank you for the honor of a reply. Your son's points make good sense. I tried for the Navy after college, but they decided that they could do without my services. Perhaps a loss for both sides, perhaps not. At any rate, life went on and my two children and wife would not have happened had the Navy taken me.

    Paul

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    1. There are many times in life where we must choose a path, or perhaps be denied selecting a certain path. The end result is where we're at. There are times I ponder my choices. In the end though, I'm glad that I did what I did. Would I change anything, not knowing how it would affect me in the long run? No, I am content with where I'm at.

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    2. Yeah, it's easy to "woulda, coulda, shoulda" yourself into the grave. The only thing I regret is not asking my wife out a lot sooner than I did.

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    3. On that front, I fell in love with The Missus Herself the very first moment I saw her. It was the lightning bolt for sure. I struck while the iron was hot. It was a long siege but she eventually yielded to my charm. Perhaps she was just tired of trying to get rid of me.

      I can be tenacious when it's a good cause.

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  8. I lived outside of 128 for awhile. I had to drive up the VFW Pkwy though some nasty rotary at JP, which was still better than the Central Artery. I left soon after the Big Dig began.

    Anyway, I went into the Navy when the requirements for going to OCS were a college degree and a steady pulse. I'll bet they're a lot more selective, now.

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    1. Oh dear, rotaries. Hates them we do.

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  9. Don't know who laid out the streets in Boston but Seattle and Portland, OR streets were created by a bunch of drunken (but I repeat myself) Scandihoovian loggers. Since 50% of the population are California transplants it is hard to place blame or bad driving.

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    1. I think the streets in Boston weren't exactly "laid out," they just happened.

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    2. Most people have forgotten that 18th Century Boston was, effectively, an island connected by a natural causeway. Dorchester Heights, where Frank Knox's guns were placed, overlooked the town. Faneuil Hall was on the waterfront.

      They tore down the Heights and filled in around Boston and created the Back Bay area in the 19th Century. So the streets of the newer areas are (mostly) laid out in a grid pattern, while the streets of the older areas, as you say, just sort of happened.

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  10. I like Robert B. Parker's version of Boston.

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    1. Indeed! A most excellent version.

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    2. I miss his writing. The new "Spencer" novels are missing something intangible. OTOH, the "Jesse Stone" ones are pretty good.

      Though, to be fair, a number of his books from the `80s and early `90s probably should not have seen the light of day.....

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)