Monday, October 24, 2005

Tea Party in Central Parking

I am a huge advocate for the city of Boston. I come to her defense quickly when someone puts her down (similar to my endless support of iceberg lettuce. What? This lettuce isn't good enough for you? Not fancy enough for your distinguished palette? ). I had the pleasure of living with a transplant who beat me over the head incessantly with the fact that the city is racist. I have gone to great lengths to unveil all the remarkable work that anti-racist groups have done in the city and I've cataloged these findings not just for him, but for myself. To remind myself that this city has come a long way. I mean, just because you live in a diverse community, doesn't mean it isn't riddled with racism and suffering from great economic injustices. It just means that there are fewer white people. (I am not absolving Boston of racism. It's here, like everywhere - alive and well.)

Then, there's the driving issue. I know that driving in Boston is a challenge. I've dealt with this and I've overcome it and I'm pretty darn proud of my ability to seamlessly navigate around the city. No one ever said life was easy. So, if you aren't here often, you might want to repeat this to yourself a half a million times as you work yourself up into an uncontrollable fit of rage. When you get to your destination, a little part of you will feel good that you succumbed and that you were victorious. You earned that mother f'n parking spot.

I have always wondered how some Red Sox fans can embrace the team, but hate the city so.

I was Logan Airport's biggest cheerleader. I have been on the receiving end of countless bitter complaints about this airport. From getting there to parking, the list is endless. Legitimate 911 criticism aside, I really find no difference between Logan and other airports, except for a little less signage. And seriously, who needs a playschool-style airport? Are we infants?

All this changed on Saturday morning. I had to pay the airport a visit to exchange a voucher for a ticket to California so that I can attend a post wedding party in November. I zipped on to the artery and flew down the lower deck like a knife spreading butter cream frosting on top of a cake. I sang and tapped my foot along to the White Stripes CD and relaxed with a fresh cup of Dunkin Donuts hazelnut. I sashayed into central parking with no problem whatsoever. This is where the story takes a drastic turn. The lot was packed. And when I say packed, I mean PACKED. Where there weren't cars nestled against each other, there was caution tape and cones and orange and white barrels. I went up ramps and down dead ends and could not find a spot at Terminal B. I had to venture into Terminal C. Nothing. Then, finally, I was afforded a space I could barely maneuver my car into (I affectionately dubbed it the "reject spot.") at Terminal D. After squeezing in, I was wise enough to write my location down on my garage ticket. I then left and tried to figure out how far I was from Terminal B and how to get there.

I found the elevator and pressed both the up and down buttons. They each lit up, and then, after 30 seconds, the lights turned off. The elevator made no sound. I looked at the sign next to the elevator and it clearly said "Pedestrian Walkway, Level 3." So, I decided to take the stairs. I got to Level 3, and started walking in the opposite direction, toward where I thought the walkway might be. That's when I encountered a scary looking white tunnel, like a covered wagon had mated with that thing at the end of E.T. There were men on ladders in front of it, but I decided not to ask them for assistance. I walked through the tunnel and took a left, following a sign that said "To All Terminals." This lead me to another elevator with buttons that didn't work. I fled this area and went back down to Level 3 (listening to Vincent Price laughing in my head). I swear, I went to all the corners of the level and saw no way into the airport. Eventually, I ran into a guy with a suitcase and thought: He just came from the actual airport, so the way in must still be fresh in his mind. I asked him. He instructed me to go back to the covered wagon walkway and take a right instead of a left and keep walking. So, I did as he told, shielding my face from the construction workers on ladders in sheer embarrassment (I may have gone past them a few times at this point). Finally, I got into the airport at Terminal C. I was able to get to Terminal B easily from there, but I was pretty annoyed by this time. So, if anyone from Massport is reading this: PLEASE IMPROVE THE NAVIGATION IN CENTRAL PARKING.

My mood was mellowed by the Mayor's sweet voice welcoming me to the city of Boston (and telling me about all her offerings) as I descended the escalator stairs. Long live the Boston accent. If you don't like it, don't listen.


At 2:28 PM, Blogger Jere said...

Wait, there are parking spaces in Boston?

I think even die-hard Boston-haters still have to like the accent.

At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur wholeheartedly about your views on Boston, but please, please give up the defense of iceberg lettuce! It has no nutritional value and is just a waste of stomach space propped up by the International Association of Salad Bar Owners to prevent you from taking too much of the delicious hard-boiled eggs and cubed processed ham and turkey.
Yours Truly,
The Romaine Lettuce Lobby of America

At 5:48 PM, Blogger Bumpus said...

You want racism? Visit D.C., baby. What you talkin Romaine. You ever have an extra crispy on Romaine? Iceberg where it be, Jack. Don't take no fool know that. Get off that kick.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger 01245 said...

Jere - You'd be surprised how much I've taken for having a Boston accent. And hey, you always get rock star spots near Fenway, so ...

Anonymous - I'm sorry, but I cannot give up defending iceberg. It's really not the lettuce's fault that it gets pushed in the salad bar. That's lettuce abuse. It's really just trying to make it in the world and rise above all the other fancier lettuces. The ones that likely speak romantic languages. And for your information, iceberg is loaded with fiber. Romaine has its place, but please don't put down the refreshing crunch of iceberg.

Bumpus - I've been to D.C., but as a white person, I don't experience racism in the same way. I lived in Nashville for a little while and that was pretty bad (white people throwing the n word around casually - it was culture shock for me). To me, racism is like a machine that runs on autopilot and I've seen evidence of it everywhere - including the City of Brotherly Love. Thanks for sticking up for iceberg, by the way. You are so right - field greens just won't cut it on a McChicken.

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Jere - you'd be surprised at how anti-accent a lot of people off the East Coast are. Which I find bizarre, because even if you don't think it's the most interesting accent in the world, it's got to be one of the funniest. And you can't hate the funny. They even laughed at the Boston accent in Toronto. Toronto! These people have one of the most made-fun-of accents in the world!

WCSG - what I find amazing about Logan - and this is a compliment wrapped in an insult - is that despite long and costly attempts to improve the navigation of it, it still remains hopelessly bizarre and convoluted. I had to pick somene up there a couple weeks back; it was my first time driving Logan post-Dig and the number of times I had to cut across several lans of traffic just to go around the loop again was nutso. But I kind of like having an airport whose streets are as bizarre as the city's, so.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Bumpus said...

Yo, Witchy. I spent time in the South, too and at the least they have the decency to cuss the N-bomb up in my face. Up north it is behind my back -- which is worse, right? Besides, have you been to the South lately? My beautiful brothers and sisters own it flat out, baby.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger El Mongo said...

Head to South Beach. It is all about the love there. I like Boston. I lived in Jamaica Plain for two years when I was growing up.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger 01245 said...

Racism is everywhere - just served up different depending on your location, I guess. How would you like your racism today? Over easy? Scrambled? With a side of hurricane devistation? It is much more subtle here, but it is pervasive. As Bumpus pointed out, it isn't "in your face" which makes it more dangerous in some ways, because you can't see your enemy. As a whitey, my experience with it is often times in the form of "white bonding" which is essentially another white person making a racist comment, then giving me the elbow bump and wink, as if to suggest that I know what they mean. Also, there's well intentioned white people who harbor racist thoughts without even knowing it. "He's so articulate" "She's so professional." As if non-whites aren't capable of such things, so isn't this wonderful?

When I was on livejournal, I blogged about a local group called Community Change. Their primary goal is to combat institutional/systematic racism, but they meet about all kinds of related things. If anyone is interested, their web site is: Alright, that's enough of my soap box.

El Mongo - I love South Beach, but it always makes me feel so ugly. JP rocks!

Andrew - Glad you appreciate the things everyone complains about, too.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Jere said...

About the accent--Connecticut loves the accent. As people who have no accent, but are right between the locations of two of the most famous accents, the Boston accent os totally exotic and awesome to us. I guess being a Sox fan makes you like it even more, though.

And when I say we have no accent, that's true except for the Naugatuck Valley, where they inexplicably have Chicago-style accents, and the Italian-stereotype accent of East Haven, and the kids who grew up around me on the NY border whose parents' are from New York, so they had a little Westchester in them.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

It's true...we Connecticutions have NO accent, until you get to the Southern part of the state, New Haven west. And yes, that was Connecticutions.


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