The title of this Frivolity is not about the Boston Tea Party. It is, nevertheless, about Transit in Bahston.
As a project devised to utilize time during COVID, Sue and I have embarked on a long delayed task of “organizing” the electronic pictures of our vacations. This process has inspired us to recall particular memories about certain pictures. It has also prompted me to share an excerpt from our 2002 trip to Boston.
Out east, there are signs to indicate a “Rotary” is ahead. Mind you, it is not alerting drivers that a Rotarian is up ahead, seeking donations. Around here, we call them “traffic circles”. In the east, the term “Rotary” is loosely applied to everything from a flag pole in the middle of the street to a circular traffic jam.
I believe “traffic circles” in Michigan are strategically placed at busy intersections to efficiently maintain smooth traffic flow. At least that is their intention. Out East, they seem to be whimsically placed—often in defiance of strategy and logic. They were frequently at the center of small towns where the majority of traffic was circling to the drive-thru at Dunkin’ Doughnuts.
We also found rotaries in large cities, as hubs, branching to a half dozen streets, …many of which barely had sufficient width for parking. Once, we even encountered a pair of rotaries. They were practically side by side and served as a multi-highway interchange. I swear, those two rotaries had outlets to 3 or 4 highways each. Most drivers were careening around in a virtual figure 8 at 45-50 mile’n’hour. I’m tellin’ ya, there was more honkin’ than a gaggle of geese over a corn field.
But our absolute greatest calamity, involving a rotary, was in Bahston. Of course, that’s not too surprising considering that all sage advice is to NOT drive in Boston. Okay, so I thought sage was a spice and ventured into the Bean Town commuter melee.
After traversing the entire city on Interstate 95 looking for an exit to “Boston Commons” (or for that matter, any street on one of our 3 maps) we exited to a State Police Post. I’m not entirely sure if it was because of our Michigan license plates or the fact that I, a man, would succumb to asking for directions. Whatever! The two officers I asked for help, seemed almost as confused as I was. However, following considerable debate between them, they settled on; “Take Columbia Road to UMass and UMass goes right to the Commons.”
We found Columbia, no problem… then it entered a Rotary. Around we went seeking the continuation of Columbia, yet all we could find was Columbia going back the way we just came. Around we went again, hoping for the outside chance of finding UMass.
Nope… the only “U” we saw was on the sign ‘No U turn’. Helloooo, what else can you do on a rotary but turn? How much difference is there between turning O and U? Once again, there were those plagued honking geese. Either they were following us or they hover over the rotaries. Seems like wherever we went, there was honking. Everywhere, that is, except on the T. That’s the Transit system throughout Boston. That’s the system we opted for the next day.
We bought a pass to ride the all forms of the T for a fabulous day in Boston. At the Commons, we also bought a pass for a narrated trolley ride. Note: the first letter of trolley was not T. The rides was a very informative, entertaining trip around this historic city. Following that whirlwind tour, we rode the T busses, to the USS Constitution, Paul Revere’s home, Old North Church, and many other beautiful sites and historic buildings. Oh, yes, shopping and dining at Quincy Market. A day packed with memories, for sure. Ahhh, but the climax memory of the day was exiting the T subway.
Upon exit from the T to return to our car, I flashed the “daylong” pass, just as I had all day long. “I’m sorry sir, that’s not the correct pass to let you out”. Point of fact. For Inbound trains to Boston, you show your pass when entering. For Outbound, you have to show it to get out of the station.
“What?!?! I bought this pass here this morning and it’s supposed to be good all day”
“Not that pass, sir, 4 bucks please”
Oppps, I had shown the trolley pass, not the T pass. Point of fact. The trolley pass should NOT have worked for T travel on busses, yet it did. Now we want to get off the T and I can only find the trolley tickets. As I frantically searched my pockets, I could almost hear the Kingston Trio; “…did he ever return, his fate is still unlearned, will he ride forever ‘neath the streets above…,”
Whew, Sue saved the day. She found our passes to freedom tucked in with a host of souvenir pamphlets she’d collected throughout the day.