There’s a block of land in my hometown that, to this day, I cannot navigate. I’ve lived in that town practically my whole life and driven there since I was 16 and I still get lost in that one area. The streets twist and turn, branch off suddenly, and change names halfway along them. It is entirely possible to enter this rectangular plot of land and not be able to find your way out for hours (slight exaggeration).
All of downtown Boston is like this one plot of land in my hometown.
I ventured into the heart of the city for a dance class the other night. Google maps said 15 minutes, so I left myself half an hour.
Forty-five minutes later I was sitting in traffic, still a mile from my destination, due to a road race or something.
As I approached my destination, a parking garage, my GPS ceased to function. I’m pretty sure the tall, tightly packed buildings of the city interfered with reception. Which would be all well and good except I had no idea how to get to where I was going. I found myself driving aimlessly along streets searching fruitlessly for my destination. I had no idea which way I was supposed to be heading, only that it had to be nearby.
In New York at least, all the streets are numbered. It’s a logical grid pattern, one way streets on every other, and navigating your way in vehicle is not all together difficult. The person who designed Boston’s roads must have been drunk and had a deep-seated hatred for all future Boston residents when he conceived of the city’s layout.
Or at least that’s what I told my boyfriend on the phone that night. He then informed me that the reason Boston makes no sense as a city is because it wasn’t designed to be a city, it just sort of evolved into one. New York, on the other hand, was always meant to be a grand metropolitan city and was designed as such.
While lost in the middle of the city’s web of streets without a functioning GPS, late for a dance class, I pondered these things.
I also got lost on the way home since, obviously, my GPS couldn’t get me started in the right direction while Boston’s buildings blocked reception. I knew what road I eventually needed, but had no idea how to get there (and no, I wouldn’t ask for directions). I drove in what I hoped was a Western direction while my GPS endlessly searched for satellites and recalculated.
When I finally did find the road I needed to get home, I took the entrance ramp, had to take the first exit when I realized it was the wrong ramp, and circle back around again. Apparently when my GPS said “turn right” it actually meant “turn right after this first right that is also a ramp to a highway, just not the one you need.”
Luckily, I’ve mastered my drive to work and haven’t found myself unexpectedly forced to take an exit because I was in the wrong lane since last week. I suppose it’s time for me to learn the T and get a Charlie Card.