Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fun Driving in Boston

Now that I have some laundry started, it's time for me to write a little bit about my trip to Boston.

I can't remember whether I've mentioned this here before, but I really like driving in Boston. It's challenging, with its maniacal drivers, its overabundance of one-way streets and the occasional unlabeled intersection. Lanes are almost optional due to people's parking in them and many of the lanes aren't marked with lines at all. Someone once told me that that every car in Boston has a dent, so I'm always happy to be driving a pre-dented van. Boston drivers expect you to suddenly pull in front if them, because you can't get anywhere if you don't. Boston drivers, for the most part, are alert because of that. You have to think and react quickly.

I get the impression that over half the people in the Triangle aren't even paying attention to the fact that they are in a moving vehicle while they are talking on the phone, much less trying to drive it somewhere. My brother assures me that some Boston drivers don't pay attention either, but it's got to be the exception rather than the majority. On my morning commute from Hillsborough to Durham a lot of the drivers drive way below the speed limit, because they either don't have a clue or they are engrossed in their conversations. I'm not saying that my driving is perfect here, particularly when I'm talking to a passenger, but I do think I'm pretty alert, for the most part.

Now, it's not just that I like driving in the city. I've hated driving in D.C. every time I've been there. While many Boston drivers were polite and even waved to let me in, I've experienced many cases were drivers in D.C. were rude or made what I considered to be dangerous maneuvers. Of course, just a few experiences can color one's perceptions strongly, but I really get the sense that there is something pathological about driving in D.C. I was in stop and go traffic on the D.C. Beltline on Saturday and someone just stood on his or her horn when I was changing lanes. I was using my turn signal. I don't recall my being honked at once while I was in Boston.

One bit of excitement was when I was driving down Mass Ave., toward downtown Boston, and I had to go through a tight squeeze. I should have slowed down more, but my side mirror hit the mirror of a truck that was parked on the right. It knocked my mirror out and the small-domed wide angle mirror popped off of that. Driving without both mirrors would be impossible. The main mirror was just a pressure fit, but the smaller one had been put on with double sided tape. I noticed that we lucky enough to have this happen just across the street from a convenience store, City Convenience. My dad ran across the street, got some double sided tape and taped the small mirror back on. The driver of the truck could have complained about the slightest scratch, but he was very nice and just made sure that none of the flying parts belonged on his truck.

Boston is notorious for being a horrible place to drive, so I'm probably just deranged. I'm not sure my readers needed more convincing, though.

1 comment:

  1. That's certainly the first time I've heard anyone enjoy driving in Boston! The one trip we were forced to drive while there, I spent the whole time being grateful that Steve was willing to do most of the driving, and was just enormously relieved that we made it out in one piece.