Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Walking in Boston

Walking everywhere can be nice and relaxing. I’m always noticing the sound of the birds, and how pretty the raindrops look on branches and shit. No, really – you gotta watch out for the shit on the sidewalks. It’s everywhere. Seriously though, I really do enjoy walking to and from work when the weather isn’t too bad. After sitting at a desk for much of the day, walking the two miles home is a great way to destress.
I think people all over the world heard about the insanely cold and snowy winter that Boston had this year. As a pedestrian I had it quite easy compared to people with cars, or the poor people that depend on public transportation. And god bless the souls who rode their bikes around here all winter. The only thing that was challenging for me, other than having to dress up basically like an Eskimo every day, was maneuvering the sidewalks. There were times when I wished I had snowshoes or those traction things that mountain climbers wear on their feet. On my way to and from work sometimes I’d have to stand and wait for a minute for someone to come up the extremely narrow path on the sidewalk. This was actually quite nice because I’d get to do something nice for a stranger or neighbor I didn’t know. The nice people would always say “thank you”, or we’d strike up a brief conversation. You’d get to see people walking their cute dogs wearing adorable jackets with little hoods on them. Or a lady with a little kid strapped to her back. Kudos to the lady I saw do that every day in below zero weather.
The only thing I truly dread about walking in the winter, other than non-existent crosswalk entrances, are when these spots have epically long and deep puddles, and there’s really no way around them. One time when I was approaching one of these lakes at Beacon Street, and was considering how to get through it, a guy suddenly ran by me – this was a tall and very husky young guy, I mean running like he was in the Olympics – and his did this amazing hurdle jump over the puddle. I was so excited for the guy, I’m pretty sure I went, “YEAHHH!” He turned around and looked like “Did I really do that?” Unfortunately I wasn’t so successful with that puddle. I tried to do a jump, and missed by about a foot. It didn’t really matter though, since I had my ugly boots on. These boots are so ugly that no one else would be caught dead in them, but they always keep my feet nice and warm and dry. I’m not talking about Ugg boots, by the way. I would not be caught dead or alive in those things.

The thing that can be really annoying working and living in a place filled with students and tourists is dealing with people who don’t respect the rules of the sidewalk. These rules are (according to me): Always keep to the right; be respectful of others and not take up the entire sidewalk, and don’t stop suddenly. The first rule about keeping to the right was something I was taught in the first grade. Our teacher took us for a walk through the school, and taught us some kind of chant about keeping to the right  So this was ingrained in me. For some reason, people don’t know this rule. When I’m feeling particularly bold, if I see someone walking towards me, and not move out of the way, I’ll imagine a force field around me, and force them to move. Other times though I wimp out, and think, “whatever, dude”, and let them go on their oblivious way on the wrong side of the sidewalk.

I get super annoyed with groups of people that not only take up an entire sidewalk (no matter how wide it is, it doesn’t matter to them), but they go s l o w. I love rainy days when this happens so I can hit them with my umbrella. I’ve only done this a couple of times, but it was extremely satisfying. Hey, I can’t be nice 100% of the time.

The people who are walking in front of you, who have a momentum going, and then suddenly stop need to be kicked in the ass. I’m sorry if you suddenly got a wedgie, or whatever, but don’t be doing that unless you want to be bodyslammed from behind, buddy. The people who have done this in front of me have so far been lucky. Most of the time it’s somebody who’s looking at their cell phone, and just not aware of anything around them. People. Be aware. The end.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bikes in Boston

So walking around Boston all the time, you see a lot of people riding bikes everywhere.

A lot of girls for some reason ride antique bicycles . . . they’re usually bright powder blue, and make clunking noises like they’ve never been upgraded to the 21st Century. Whenever I see one, I’m like, “cool! That’s a cool bike!” But then I see the girl’s face, and she’s making a scrunched up face like she’s severely constipated, and grunting.

I got a bike about five years ago, because I thought it would be fun to ride a bike for the first time in about 25 years (eye-roll). I also thought, “Hey, I’d never have to ride public transportation again!” Yeah, that lasted for about a year and a half. My blood pressure couldn’t take it. Don’t get me wrong, once I got my bike muscles used to it, it was kind of fun . . . when there were no cars or no people or no other bicyclists . . . which was like, never.

Seriously, I would get terrible road rage. Now understand that I wasn’t one of the many Masshole bicyclists who do whatever they want, running red lights, or riding on the sidewalk. I stopped at every light and every stop sign. I always rode in the bike lanes whenever there were bike lanes. And Boston & Cambridge has quite a few of those now. But anyway, cars would sometimes randomly veer over into the bike lane right in front of me, or right next to me. I’d ding my little bell – ding ding! Yeah, that bell didn’t do shit. Pedestrians would appear out of nowhere by parked cars and run in front of you. Those people suck. And don’t even get me started on some of the other bicyclists.

One time I was riding home from a long day at work, and I was in Cambridge over by the Stata Center, which is a fancy building designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry. It’s on the MIT campus, and attracts a lot of tourists. Anyway, I was in the bike lane, and there was a middle-aged woman just walking right in the middle of it. As I approached – ding ding! Ding ding! Ding ding! She doesn’t move.  I got very angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. I start yelling, “You’re in the bike lane!” She turns around and screams at me in a Southern accent, “I’m not from around here!” Me again: “Get out of the BIKE LANE!” Her: “I’M NOT FROM AROUND HEAH!” I’m not sure what else I yelled at her, but I’m sure it wasn’t nice. I should have just calmly ridden around her, but I totally lost it. Why can’t people read the giant picture of the stick man riding a bicycle and the word “ONLY” on the bright blue painted lane? (Takes deep breath). Anyway, I hope you like my picture I took two winters ago of the parked bicycles outside the Stata Center.