Friday, 22 April 2011

An open letter to the people of Boston

We just got back from a very enjoyable visit to your fair city. From Marathon Monday through to Thursday we experienced your burg and did the marathon (spousal unit only) and tourist thing, enjoyed the sights, the history, and the pubs, all the while keeping an eye out for those missing R’s. (I knew it was time to leave when I was beginning to sound like a  local: “Is theah a place heah wheah ah can pak mah cah?”)
Unfortunately, except for Marathon Monday, the weather was terrible, but you can’t be held at fault for that – even the combined intellects of the 287,361 university and college professors who live in and around Boston isn’t enough to control the weather. Nor predict it, as each day was a fresh surprise.
But I do have a couple of observations and suggestions related to your driving habits.
When you took delivery of your new Volvo, the sales rep probably pointed out that lever just to the left of the steering wheel. That is a turn signal activating lever, intended to be used to advise other drivers and pedestrians of your intent to change directions. It is NOT a handy hook for your man purse.
Second point, once accidentally activated by placing your man purse on the lever, it is customary practice to remove said purse and cancel the flashing signal light before the fourth intersection in which everyone around you expected you to turn left, only to be disappointed and surprised when you drove straight through that red light.
Red lights. In most jurisdictions with which I am familiar, the approved signal for accelerating (i.e. “flooring it”) when approaching an intersection is a yellow light, usually a stale yellow, but definitely not red. I’m sure you can appreciate that if red didn’t mean STOP then there would have to be another colour for that, and I’m also reasonably sure your signal lights didn’t offer a 4th option. So try to stop on a red light; the life you save may be mine.
And one last item. When you pull out in front of another driver in a 40-mph zone, causing that driver to smoke his tires to avoid an overly intimate encounter, it is customary to get up to speed quickly and not take 3 blocks to do so. I know you are environmentally conscious, but trying to save gas by letting your Mercedes idle up to 40 mph just doesn’t work. German engineering is not THAT good.
So in my personal (and very unofficial) ranking of North American drivers, Boston has now surpassed both Toronto and Montreal for the worst drivers honour. Whereas Toronto drivers are totally unpredictable and Montreal drivers are overly aggressive, Boston drivers combine both traits, being simultaneously aggressive and unpredictable. Obviously a source of pride to some, it’s also a dangerous combination.


  1. so sorry to hear this, but i am glad that you have returned home unscathed (i presume).

    well????????????? please tell, how did mrs canajun do in the boston marathon? :)

  2. Brilliant! But you've totally misjudged your audience as mq01 infers - your infinitely better half deserves first mention for all her efforts!

    I thought Bostonians were supposed to have an accent bordering on Posh English? At least, that's what I perceived from Charles Emerson Winchester 3rd from MASH :-). An Old Money Bostonian if ever there was one.

    Perhaps your driving experiences were simply because they had you sussed as a non-local and therefore not worthy of consideration? Does the aggression of Montreal drivers stem from their French heritage?

    Questions, questions...., but enjoyed the post immensely.

  3. I enjoyed this post as well. It is brilliantly written, with a huge dose of tongue in cheek. I didn't find Boston drivers too bad, so maybe they were just after you....? I agree with the others.... what about the race???

  4. Okay. In response to popular demand here's how the missus did: 4:33 - placing her 87th out of 175 in her division (top half!). Not quite as good as her qualifying time, but Boston is a hilly course, so she's very pleased. And deservedly so; that's quite an achievement for someone who started running only a few years ago.

  5. Ugh. If I never have to live in a metropolis I'll be a happy man. How the hell people deal with this on a daily basis is completely beyond me.

    I do like all the stuff going on in the city, though. I used to live in Minneapolis and have found that having a friend there is enough for me. All the fun, none of the stress. Let someone else do the driving cause it doesn't make any sense to me.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycle and Life

  6. Brady - I'm with you there. And if I can find a park-and-ride and use mass transit while in town, that's even better!

  7. Nicely done. Could I have a copy of the letter and insert please. Not using the indicator (or permanently 'blinking', also when turning the other way), needing four blocks to accelerate, (that is once you have noticed that the traffic lights have changed) is exactly what I experience every day. On top comes the inability to notice and respect two wheeled vehicles as participants in traffic...
    Thank you for making me smile today.

  8. I meant insert "Vancouver"...

  9. Sonja - Feel free to help yourself. :)

    It's been quite a few years since I last drove in Vancouver. I can only imagine it has become worse with all the growth out there, so I don't envy your commutes. On the other hand, being an hour away from some of the greatest riding in the country would go a long way to make up for that.

  10. If you didn't like Bahstn, you won't like Denver, where the main driving skill seems to be cutting accoss 4 lanes of traffic to make a right turn at the last possible nanosecond.


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