Thursday, February 25, 2010

Navigating the Boss Town - How Far is 14 Miles?

Today the most spiritual I am going to get, is mentioning the bumper sticker on my Honda DOCH Civic Si. It is a sure sign that it's me if I cut you off.

For a metropolitan area of nearly 5 million, you would think that someone around here would know how to use turn signals.

I have been living and working in greater Boston for over 3 years. You've heard about us on the radio. Songs like Dirty Water (Standells) and Beantown (John Cena) and Skinhead on the MBTA (Dropkick Murphy) only begin to tell the story. We are well known for the Sox, hockey great Bobby Orr, the band Boston, launching a few of the 9/11 terrorists from Logan Airport, the 22 Billion Dollar Big Dig and TRAFFIC.

Boston only rates number 8 in the Top Cities for Traffic Congestion - I am assuming that is on a scale from 1 to 5.

Each day commuters vie for position on the Mass Pike. They have added another Fast Lane on my route. Even with a speed limit of 15 MPH through the electronic toll, my record is 4 MPH with a strong tail wind and distance of 61 feet from stop to stop.

The traffic problem is 2-fold. First there is the road designed by freshman engineering students using Spin-Art. For which one unintended consequence is the Zipper Ride effect at the tollbooths. Cars entering on the right need to pass to the left lanes, and cars entering on the left, need to merge right. The well oiled process goes rather well, albeit slow, until someone from "outta state" screws things up.

For 22 Billion, our commuters save, on average, 1 minute and 40 seconds twice a day.

Personally, my 14 mile commute averages 2.657 MPH on a good day, and 1.903 MPH on a not so good day. That's certainly a safe speed. I just can't understand why my car insurance is $2,000 a year. And should I get in an accident, I have 5 MPH bumpers - that's a pretty safe margin of error. And hell, the airbags don't go off until 20 MPH - my thumbs are safe for now.

I meet lots of folks during my commute and I'd like to introduce them to you. (They are nothing like the ones on I-26 in East Tennessee.)

The Bagel Boy: He is diving a late model blue Lexus, and I often see him spreading cream cheese, on what appears to be a poppy seed bagel. (Probably works in sales or brushes teeth in the men's room) Apparently he doesn't speak Spanish, because at my Dunkin' Donuts, they'll add the cream cheese for you if you make the spreading motion with your hands and say "por favor."

The Blond Snob: She drives a black Volvo XC60. She does the Zipper while talking on the cell phone and brushing her hair. She's a real muti-tasker and probably an idiot marketing executive for some failing bio-tech company.

The Executive: He's driving a silver Mercedes Benz, taking blood pressure medication with coffee and trying to squeeze out subordinate drivers by pretending not to see them.

The Weaver: This is the guy who is new to the game. They drive various sorts of leased vehicles, but it seems that the BMW 325i is the favored model. They may on occasion, pretending to be from Ohio, use that blinding yellow turn signal. He is always searching for the fastest moving lane hoping to trim .006 seconds off his travel time. I know, that was the difference between Bode Miller's Bronze and the Gold Medalist last week. I'm just not that competitive.

The Skeptic: This is one of those drivers over 40, usually in a huge American made car, that just doesn't believe the GPS. (They didn't have computers when he was in High School). He is still out there looking for *cough* street signs in Boston. He can't even decide which lane to use at the tollbooth. And on occasion, our friend is known to use a left hand signal to cross 14 lanes of toll traffic just to make a U-Turn west bound. If I only drove a snow plow!

The College Punk: I am not sure what he drives, it's got so may bumper stickers on it. Some of it is interesting reading, and I don't get the Wall Street Journal any longer. The Darwin Loves You is a bit much. I am scheduled to cut him off on the 23rd.


Tracy said...

Well at least you can see the humor in the frustrating drivers

Tony C said...

If that College Punk has one of those 'Coexist''ve got to smash into him bro!

You should come try the I-26 Death Run. Just make sure it's snowing that day for the full effect.

'adshist' is my verification word...I found that humorous for some reason.

photogr said...

Going thru Nashville Tenn. on I 65 is a real horror story when we travel to Fla. Do they give drivers in Nasville any drivers test before they get a license?

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