As a resident of the greater Seattle area, you know that there is no better place on Earth than the perfect paradise we live in here in the Puget Sound.
While traveling outside of our green and blue utopia is a decidedly bizarre and unnatural course of action, it is understandable that you might sometimes find yourself wondering what life is like for the unprivileged masses that are doomed to live in the less desirable 99.999% of the planet.
Thankfully for you, The Naked Loon is rushing to your aid yet again, going places you don’t want to go and coming back to bring you all the disturbing details. This month’s punishing journey takes our roving reporter 2,500 miles away, clear over to the shriveled husk of an allegedly-once-great city: Boston, Massachusetts.
Boston has Starbucks, although from most places in the city I found that I had to walk well over four blocks to find the nearest one. They’ve also got some water, and it even rained some during my five-day stay, but not nearly enough. There was quite a bit of green, but not very many evergreens, despite the fact that there’s a giant golden pine cone on top of the state house.
I was rarely accosted with friendly glances or smiles from strangers passing by as I walked the streets and rode the public transportation of Boston, which was really nice. With all the universities in and around Boston, the city also has a delightful air of intellectual superiority about it.
Where to begin… Due to a disturbingly efficient public transit system (who runs this town, Mussolini?), I was unable to spend any of my time in Boston enjoying a favorite Northwest pastime: sitting in traffic. Furthermore, as I was walking around in the downtown core, my city experience was continually broken up by bothersome parks, inconveniently placed right in the middle of town.
After spending hours poring through the various tourism brochures at a visitor’s center, I came to the conclusion that Boston definitely does not have any buildings as futuristically sweet as the Space Needle. They also lack a giant hammering man, a red neon public market sign, and a pair of next-door-neighbor corporate-branded sports stadiums. How depressing.
From what I could tell during my visit, Boston appears to be some sort of mysterious island where the miracles of modern technology are merely fanciful myths spoken of in wistful tones. For example, while riding the packed and creaking subway into town during rush hour, there was nary a pair of white iPod earphones to be found. Rather than jovially jamming to their own private pocket DJ, the majority of Bostonians were relegated to the plebian pastime of reading. And I don’t mean e-books—I mean actual paper—magazines, newspapers, and even books.
Furthermore, although their street corners appear to have button-activated crosswalk signals, it became apparent that the installations were merely non-functioning models. No one ever bothered to press the buttons so deceptively labeled “push to cross.” Instead they stood at the corner waiting for a brief pause in the passing carriages, at which they dashed bravely across the street without the aid of any fancy “crosswalk signals.”
Imagine taking a bite of a slightly rotten nectarine. Sure, it’s good for you—all the nutrients are still there—and maybe you’ll even go ahead and finish it since you’ve already picked it up and taken a bite. But later, when you sink your teeth into a perfectly ripened organic nectarine and the delicious flavor fills your mouth, you appreciate it all the more.
Visiting Boston is like that.