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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Hey, Columbus Had His Problems, Too, You Know

Downtown Boston, you win again.

Folks, I don’t have to tell any of you who’ve been here before — or managed to read this far, even — that I’m kind of a nimrod sometimes. And nowhere is my nimroddiness more evident than when I’m behind the wheel of my car, driving in downtown Boston. It’s just a recipe for disaster. And nimroditude, apparently.

Now, I’m not a bad driver, generally speaking. I don’t have accidents — or even cause accidents, as far as I know. I stay in my lane, don’t duck the wrong way down one-way streets, and generally keep my navigitory nose clean when it comes to following the rules of the road. I’m even in ‘good hands’. Are you?

Anyway, my biggest problem behind the wheel — besides that said wheel isn’t attached to a Ferrari of some kind — is my innate, instinctive sense of direction. Or rather, complete and glaring lack of one. I believe that we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and that a deficiency in one area is usually compensated for by a special talent in another. I’m not sure what, exactly, I was blessed with in return for my sense of direction — maybe it’s my startling good looks. Or my superior, finely-honed intellect. No? My uproarious sense of humor? No? Hrm… well, I can juggle. And roll my tongue; maybe that’s it. Whatever it is, it had better be damned good, because I couldn’t plot a route from my bedroom to the can without a map, a sextant, and a plucky Sherpa guide.

(Which really gets inconvenient when I have to pee in the middle of the night. Because who wants to fiddle with a sextant at three o’clock in the morning? And those Sherpas get cranky when you wake them up, too. Even the plucky ones. Yikes.)

Needless to say, for anyone who’s visited our fair city, navigating in Boston is particularly challenging. If it’s not the one-way streets — sometimes three or four in a row, all in the same direction — then it’s the rotaries. And if it’s not the rotaries, it’s the construction detours. And if it’s not that, then it’s the lobotomized orangutans at MapQuest sending you three miles north to catch a road south, then telling you to take an exit that hasn’t existed since the Eisenhower administration. I’m crippled enough here in my navigatory hell without that kind of help, thank you very little.

Anyway, the point is, I got bitten again tonight. I was going somewhere that I know how to get to — I even know where it is, which is a ‘half the battle’ that I don’t often win — but I wasn’t on the side of the city where I could use a route that I already knew. Plus, I was already late meeting my wife downtown for dinner. So, I ‘winged’ it. Nice. Good idea, there, genius. I might as well have hired a crack-addled turtle to strap me onto his shell and crawl me in the general direction.

(Do turtles do crack? I don’t know. Work with me on this one, people.)

So, an hour and a half later — after two circles around the Boston Common, giving up and parking in a garage I’d never heard of, and walking fourteen blocks to get to the restaurant, I finally made it. But I did make it, dammit. It was touch and go for a while — wandering around the streets of Boston, I more than once imagined that they’d find my dehydrated body on a curb some day, clawing at the pavement and muttering, ‘If I could just get to Beacon Street… I know the way from Beacon…

I’m not sure whether it’s more embarrassing that I had to ask directions — from three different people, wildly varying in the amount of useful information they had to offer — while walking from the car to the restaurant, or that we had to look up the garage on the web to negotiate our way back afterwards. I just know that this is one more case where a quick look at a map before getting in the car would’ve saved a lot of grief. And I know that I’m still a nimrod, when left to my own devices. And that Boston, once again, has reared its beany head and bitten me in the ass. Where the hell was that damned Sherpa when I really needed him?

Permalink  |  5 Comments



5 Responses to “Hey, Columbus Had His Problems, Too, You Know”

  1. QC says:

    Oh yeah, baby. I’m in GOOD hands.

    Wait…I think you’re talking about something different than I am. Never mind.

  2. Kat says:

    That was a great story! I’m still laughing….well, not out loud anymore…I’m laughing on the inside…..LOTI

  3. mrhaney says:

    well my wife and i went to ma. for two weeks on vacation to see my folks and we flew in to providence. i stay out of boston as much as i can.

  4. MARYBETH says:

    hi,

    I SAW YOUR LINK OVER ON LOIS LANES’S BLOG. THE TITLE INTRIGUED ME AS IT IS A STATE OF MIND I EXPERIENCE ON A REGULAR BASIS =)

    I ORIGINALLY FROM PITTSBURGH, SO WAS ABLE TO RELATE TO ALL OF YOUR DETAILS THERE.

    I REALLY ENJOY YOUR WRITING, WILL BE COMING BACK SOON. COME BY ANYTIME AND SAY HELLO.

    NAMASTE,

    MB

  5. LYNN says:

    I love Boston but using a sense of direction there will only get you lost more. Thank goodness for cabs or that underground maze they call a subway. Confusing as it is it beats driving in that mess.

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