Tuesday, September 20, 2016

19 days in

Do you know that strange sensation of feeling both like you've been in a new place (or known a person or been in a job, etc. etc.) roughly since the Jurassic Period but also only since about 3:47 yesterday afternoon? That's where I am right now. It's been almost 3 weeks since I moved to Boston, and I feel both like a seasoned vet and like a total rookie. (But let's be honest: I'm a rookie and will quite possibly always be a Boston rookie.)

Let's analyze the ways in which recent events and experiences have contributed to my dual status as a Boston vet and Boston rookie, shall we?

Spotting Keytar Bear

On my second day of class, I hopped off the Red Line at Park Street, and there was Keytar Bear. KB (now that I've seen him, I feel qualified to nickname him as I so feel inclined) is exactly what he sounds like: a bear playing the keytar on street corners and T stops with an amp by his side. He is somewhat of an iconic figure in Boston, from what I understand, and he seems to have a burgeoning career as an internet star.

Veteran: Obviously seeing KB is evidence of Boston having accepted me as one of its own. Right? I mean, rather than being an interesting bit of city flare that I've heard about, I've actually seen (and heard) him with my own eyes (and ears).

Rookie: I was totally freaked out by him. KB really shouldn't take this personally, as I'm just quite apprehensive of all mascots and mascot-like characters. Something about knowing there is a person in there who can see me but I can't see them? I'm just not a fan. At every BYU event ever, it seemed to be everybody's goal to get up close and personal with Cosmo, but my goal was to stay far, far away.  I did have one encounter with Cosmo at the Provo Spring Festival a couple years ago, and when my friend posted the photographic evidence, it was captioned: "Madeline conquering her fear of mascots." If you'll notice below, I still refused to stand directly next to Cosmo, and what you'll not notice (due to the fact that photos have not yet managed to display vital signs...technology, amiright?) is that my heart was pounding uncomfortably at the time. It's clear from my encounter with KB (I had to wait to cross a street and he was right there, and I was just so uncomfortable, so I stood as far away as humanly possible, and then thankfully a couple of other people filled in the space between me and KB. #blessed) that my fear has not been conquered. It was a valiant effort, though.

Driving in Boston

The internet once told me that the streets of Boston were patterned after cow paths. Whether this is truth or urban legend is completely irrelevant to me, because I 100% believe it is a possibility. Driving is one of (if not the) most stressful adaptations for me thus far. The roads are bizarre, there is a lot of construction around where I live, and the drivers are the worst. I used to think that Utah drivers were unbearable, but Boston drivers are in a whole different ballpark.

Veteran: I've stopped taking it personally when other drivers honk at me. Being honked at is a weird driving insecurity I have (along with my windshield wiper speed, but we're not talking about that, okay?), but I had to toughen up quick. This is because Bostonians just honk all the time. You'll get honked at when you're driving responsibly in your lane, when you're sitting at a red light waiting for it to turn green, when you're already in a traffic circle and somebody trying to merge in has a problem with that, when slowing to avoid hitting pedestrians, the list goes on. Basically if you're living, breathing, and driving, you'll get honked at. And I'm not talking a quick little beep to get your attention—this is full-out laying on the horn. It was bothersome at first, but I've come to accept that it's just a thing that's going to happen regardless of how well I follow traffic laws.

Rookie: There are exactly 3 places I am 100% confident driving without using GPS: the grocery store (not a feat—it's about 3 blocks away), the house where I work (I'm a nanny), and Target. I think I know how to get to church now, but I've never actually done it. I know how to get home without GPS, so I'm assuming I can get there? The one time I drove home without guidance, I came straight from work so there was no way Jose I could figure out how to get there on my own. My dad was once nicknamed Garmin, because he can navigate anywhere like a pro; I definitely did not inherit this skill, and I have a feeling it will take me a while to really get the lay of the land here. Because, you know, the whole cow path road thing.

Navigating Public Transportation

Because my school is downtown, ain't no way I'm going to drive to class. Driving there would be a chore in and of itself, and parking would be a nightmare. I'm barely surviving driving in the area I live, so driving in the heart of the city is a no go. And that means public transportation.

Veteran: I can get exactly where I need to go (to work by bus and to school by bus/subway) without a problem. And I even had somebody ask me a question at a T station the other day, so I must be exuding some sort of experienced T rider vibe. Full disclosure: I didn't know the answer to the question, which was about special weekly passes and how far they extend, or something like that. Regardless, I felt like Rory Gilmore being asked for directions at the Greyhound station that time she went to NYC to see Jess. And I take comfort in the fact that Rory also didn't know the answer to the question and that unlike Rory, I didn't go ahead and give them false info anyway.

Rookie: There were a few missteps for me to get the hang of it. Namely getting on the wrong train. Twice. The green line is weird, okay? But I figured it out now. That being said, I have zero expertise in anything public transportation related that extends beyond getting to work or to school. Have questions about the orange line or....the other colors, and I'm useless. I don't even know what other colors there are. I know there's red and green. I feel pretty confident about orange. And maybe blue? I'll look into that.

So that's where I am right now: alternately feeling settled in and like a total fish out of water. I'm sure things will continue to smooth out the longer I'm here, but I have no idea how long it's going to be until I really feel like I belong here. Maybe never? But I'm definitely hoping that's not the case.

COMING SOON: a post detailing some of the totally weird and random things that have happened over the past couple of weeks that didn't fit into this particular post. Are you entertained by destruction of property for a good cause, dogs causing traffic jams, and strange coincidences? Then stay tuned, because these stories are for you!

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