I went to Massachusetts on a business trip. Having only been to New York City and Staten Island on the East Coast this was an adventure! As with any of my trips, big or small, I have a handful of stories that I would like to share. My plan is to break them down into a few posts so they are quick easy reads rather than me droning on and on and on…
I will start with Uber…the modern taxi. Up until this trip I have had limited experiences with Uber. Most of our trips are road trips so we take a vehicle with us or they are tropical and we take a cab to our destination and enjoying doing NOTHING or on a rare occasion we take a tour bus. When we plan nights out downtown we always have a plan in place to get home, usually one of us is the designated driver, which works well since we aren’t big drinkers. While in the Boston area I had a wide array of experiences using this service. First and foremost, it is quick and convenient in a larger city than Madison. The wait time is generally under 4 minutes (at least when at the times I needed to call on one). I did notice that the average fare was quite a bit higher than ours, but taking in the cost of living out there it makes sense.
My first ride to the hotel was terrifying. The driver not speak – at all – ie this is not a language barrier, it was a wall of silence. While absorbing the silence and trying to be a tourist by watching out the window I was abruptly introduced to Darwin’s evolution theory. Boston is nothing but Survival of the Fittest in action. I got to witness this first hand. There was driving like I had never seen before. High speeds, narrow roads, construction and an absurd amount of vehicles. Aggressive driving is an understatement. It was ‘Get the F out my way driving’. Whatever leading company in Boston replaces rotors and brake pads must make a fortune! Everyone merged without checking to see of they would be let in. It was implied that they would get in or your car would be wrecked. There was literally a foot or two maximum between any two vehicles in ALL directions.
Then there were the cyclists. The bicyclists cut off cars and weaved between vehicles at lights. It was almost as if they were all stuck in that adolescent mind frame of invincibility. There were quite a few places where the bike lanes were closed or non-existent. I was so nervous for their safety, but was shaking my head at some of the maneuvers I witnessed. The pedestrians were worse than college students on campus. They walked into traffic without so much as glancing up to see if they were about to die. This happened with individuals and groups. It didn’t seem to matter if there was a corner or cross walk, they just continued towards their destination hoping for the best.
Below is a picture of a Bicycle School. Apparently they give classes on how to bike??
Anyways, back to my first Uber in Boston…I was glancing around sure I would witness someone’s death. Then we merged onto a highway. We were within view of the hotel when the highway forked off into two directions with a cement divider and cement post in the middle. We followed the lane to the left. Uber’s navigation system notified the driver of his error. Suddenly the driver slammed on the brakes – he realized he should have veered right. So instead of continuing to the next safe place to double back – another decision was made. He hastily put it into reverse and weaved between speeding cars until he could cut off a truck and go down the fork to the right. I must have held my breath the whole time because all I could think was “I can’t die being rear-ended on a highway in Boston. You’ve got to be kidding me.” As we pulled up to the hotel I quite literally leaped from the vehicle taking deep breaths as I grabbed my luggage.I honestly don’t even think he realized how close of a call that was or even that he near gave me a heart attack! Needless to say, he got less than a 5 Stars review.
Another notable Uber experience I had while in Boston was with a delightful driver. As a few coworkers and I took an Uber we discussed how we liked Uber better than the traditional taxi. The perception of safety is greater with Uber since you have a license plate number and name of your driver before they arrive. You are also able to watch your trip in real-time on a map. Our driver chimed into the conversation letting us know that many of the smaller cab companies have gone out of business since Uber and Lyft. As this conversation is happening I brought up how cabs always make me think of the movie The Bone Collector. Our driver laughed and noted how he loved my thinking and that when he says stuff like that his wife just thinks it’s creepy. Just as we were having this conversation we turned on a road where off to my right was an overpass with a railroad track (that looked abandoned) running underneath it. There was even an old chain link fence separating it from the road. I pointed out how that would be the perfect place to find the body. I was amused, my coworkers less so.
I also saw a few fun vehicles while in boston. Above is a sweet Jeep all decked out that made me think my dad in his Whoop De Doo Subaru that is decked out as well.
I will continue to post about my trip over the next few days and link the corresponding posts below as they become available.