Friday, July 25, 2014

Went Up to Boston

Google Maps - Street view
The DIL and the grandkids flew out of Logan last night.

So rather than writing a blog post, I was occupied in transporting them from my AO* to the airport.

We made it with time to spare, but the Ted Williams Tunnel was something of an adventure.

While traffic in and out of Boston in the late afternoon is always a bit dicey, yesterday things did not go too badly. Until we got to the tunnel.

While grandson Big O was continually pointing out his absolute need to take a leak "RIGHT NOW!" - granddaughter The Owl was being most well-behaved for a two year old who has been strapped into a car seat for over an hour.

Then we hit the tunnel.

Big O was now calling an "in transit emergency" and indicated that, while he had no desire to do so, he was in imminent danger of soiling his trousers.

The Owl began a plaintive wail as traffic in the tunnel ground to a halt.

As for myself, I sat calmly in the driver's seat, calmly saying to myself "serenity now, serenity now."

It did not work for Frank Costanza. It did not work for me.

That's when The DIL introduced The Big O to the concept of peeing in a bottle (a skill which will be useful for him should he ever join the military).

That emergency having been contained, we now only had a screaming two-year old and a thoroughly contaminated water bottle to deal with.

Traffic began to slowly move ahead.

Now in the tunnel (at first) there are two lanes. The leftmost takes you to Logan, the rightmost takes you to Southie (South Boston). Guess which lane was not moving?

Yup, the one we were in. The one going to Logan. Whereas the Southie lane was moving along with great alacrity.

As we moved forward, we discovered why our lane was so slow.

Now I'm not going to say that the people who drive in Boston are assholes.

No. I'm not going to say that.

But when you have one lane which is being used by people to zip to the front of the line and then have those same people expect someone to let them cut ahead of them to get into your lane, it gives one pause. Are those people cutting the line really assholes? Or simply uncultured knuckleheads who don't know any better? I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

There was this guy twenty yards behind me who finally made a stand.

I heard many horns blowing and looked into the rear view mirror to see what was amiss.

There was a car straddling both lanes, allowing no one to get past him. The people behind him were somewhat displeased I gathered.

I pictured this dude, sitting in his car, gripping his steering wheel, eyes focused dead ahead, muttering to himself:

"They shall not pass!"

Yes, the drive to Boston is always fun.


*AO = Area of Operations


  1. Driving into (and around) Boston can be trying. Once, in another life, I was in training to be a bus driver for a NH based company. One route was the daily commute into Boston. I drove it 4 or 5 times. I knew I was making progress when I received my first one-finger salute from a local driver when I had to switch lanes. At the end of the work day, a cold beer was always appreciated. (The company suddenly developed financial problems and none of us were hired in the end.)

    1. Sounds to me like that one-fingered salute marked the end of your rite of passage.

      Besides which, isn't it like navigation at sea? The bigger vehicle always has the right of way? (I make it a point never to contest right of way with buses. And semis.)

  2. When u drive in Boston it is about achieving a zen-like state of mind. Or just become like all the other assholes. I grew up outside of Boston and learned how to drive on the mean streets of Worcester, the Mass Pike and Route 93. We are...assholes. It's the only way to survive. And...truth be told...I love that about Boston.

    1. I thought of you as I wrote this post Kris.

      I knew you could relate.

      Normally, when I drive in Boston, it is with a spirit of quiet resignation and the sure knowledge that "this too, shall pass."

  3. It was no better at 2PM yesterday; traffic was standstill from the split on 24 all the way to Morrissey. And southbound was the same, but all the way into the 93 Tunnel. It was punctuated by a similar maroon attempting to bypass traffic on the northbound side by cheating the flow of traffic in the 90/South Station HOV left lane (which I figure you used), only to come two feet from impacting the barrier at the split.

    As to the Williams always being a nightmare, it's been that way since it was completed. You'll recall the ceiling collapse... not two weeks after that event, we were tasked with picking up the mother from Logan, and with Romney having declared the need for a shutdown of flow and inspection, we chose to use the Silver Line to get her, rather than driving the final leg.

    Unbeknownst to us, the Silver Line trains still had permission to access to the Williams extension, rather than needing to take surface roads out.

    Thus, imagine our immaculate joy at having our particular Silver Line electric/CNG chariot *fail* not a half mile after the switchover.

    Not a hundred yards from the exact location of the ceiling collapse. And then be asked to dismount while waiting on the replacement shuttle.

    Suffice to say, in the event of strange noises, we were going to make ourselves as small as possible at the nearest recess. My person, chivalrously, on top.

    Get your mind out of the gutter- I was to be a HUMAN SHIELD...

    1. I was hoping you'd chime in with a "trip to Boston" anecdote.

      Human shield, yes, that was my first thought. Seriously.

  4. Mass. Drivers are the worst I have ever encountered (and my Mass. friends are proud of this) but that lane crap happens in every state that has traffic jams!

    1. True. On both counts.

      I have some stories about the Turnpike you would no doubt recognize.

  5. Off topic. What happened to that IQ test you posted months ago? You buried it.

    1. I'll have to hunt for it. I do recall that topic, I just need to remember where I put it.

    2. I checked the link from that post, seems that website is defunct. Sorry...

    3. I blame the copyright troll.....

  6. Ahh well, it's not much different in the big cities around here. I have a 60 day Drive through Austin Currency requirement just to remind me why I live in a small town. I survive the ordeal by occasionally turning to my wife (I never fly solo through Austin) and say "Honey, have I mentioned how much I hate driving through Austin?" She's a saint!

    1. My co-pilot's response would be "Just shut up and drive."

      All big cities have traffic systems designed by sadists and used primarily by the intellectually (and morally) deficient.

      At least that's how I see it.

    2. ...just to remind me why I live in a small town.

      I hear THAT. "Traffic jam" in my neck o' the woods means THREE cars waiting to get through a four-way stop. P-Ville has a grand total of four traffic lights (one of which being "out of service" for about the past year) and you can drive from one end of town to another in about five or six minutes. I can, and do, live with that. Quite easily.

    3. Yep, and since I don't actually live IN the small town, my traffic jams usually involve weaving my way through nursing calves without annoying the mama cows. Somehow that is a bit less stressful.

  7. I can tell a quite similar story about drivers on 101 transition to I-80 in SF
    @$$#0|e$ are everywhere

    1. I've been on that road. My son was driving, his reactions to the other drivers was much like mine would have been.

      Yup, they are everywhere.

  8. Driving with 2 year olds, "she never learned those words from me!"

    Last month I went from Newport, RI to Maine through Boston---never slowed down below 70mph. So, pick your time and it's a breeze. We went through at 0800 on a Saturday.

    I went to the market here last week and we had construction with a lane closure. One of these G*#%! da#%#H S3@Y OF B#^^$#T just flew up the lane that all others had politely shuffled off of because that is how adults drive and then that evil vicious mean person was let in to the lane by the driver ahead of me, where she promptly turned into her driveway. I felt like an idiot. :)

    I don't miss the I-5 commute to Solana Beach at all. 12 lanes merging to 3.

    Where do two year olds come up with all that naughty language?

    1. Heh. I did manage to control my language on the trip.

      Amazed myself I did.

      Definitely need to pick your times when transiting Boston.

  9. I would venture that it's that local accent that differentiates the Masshole from the rest of the idiots.
    We could argue about whose @$$holes are the worst all day and never come to a decision.

    1. It IS the accent, has to be.

      Well that and returning Ted Kennedy to the Senate time after time...

  10. Years ago I found that driving in and around Boston an opportunity to unleash every bad traffic habit I had learned; cutting people off, gesturing, crowding over into another lane, honking, if I didnt look at the other guy then he didn't exist-full speed ahead! . It seemed like the only way to survive......but not anymore, guess I'm mellowing..or maybe my wife wont tolerate my craziness....

    1. Hhmm, were in the Boston area yesterday by any chance?



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