I feel like I only sort of conveyed in words how cute and cool the Farmer’s Daughter, the hotel we stayed at in LA, was. So here are a few more photos. Also, I feel like going to sleep tonight thinking more about our California vacation than about my NYC trips.
We ended up renting a small SUV, a Chrysler Pacifica, when we were in California. The rental place claimed to be entirely out of anything smaller (it was 2am, so it’s plausible). The rental place said it got 26 mpg highway, so we chose it over the Chrysler 300 which was smaller but only got 24. But we did some highway driving between Santa Barabara and LA, and the best we did was 16. That said, it was pretty fun to drive. You could actually, like, accelerate, and go up hills.
Again, I’m a bit slow on the local news, but this is such a perfect skewering of the insane Kennedy family hypocrisy in standing against the Cape Wind project. You must watch this.
Catching up on the local news now that I’m back, Universal Hub pointed out last week that Deval Patrick has proposed delaying the Somerville green line extension another two years. Given that this was one of the projects related to the central artery project, thrown as a bone to the non-car-commuting segments of the state, this is sort of a big disappointment, and you can tell Governor Patrick what you think here. Mayor Joe, naturally, expressed disappointment.
Years of practice of shoving to the front of the stage at indie rock shows with her camera have honed Terri’s ability to push to the front of any crowd. She managed to do the same while we were waiting for the 7pm Acela Express to Boston from New York, the last express of the day, and got us some of the last two seats together. We sat down early and watched the other people walk down the aisles and look glumly down the car.
I went into the cafe car just after Stamford CT to get a hot dog and a beer. The cafe car was full of about a dozen Massachusets firefighters in full dress uniforms, well on their way to being plastered. One of them had spilled his beer, and with some drunken incompetence was rubbing some paper towels back and forth about a foot to the right of the spill. They were having a good time and were pretty funny, though. The conductor looked like he was trying to gauge whether or not he should try to ask them to take some seats or stop drinking or just leave them alone. He decided to leave them alone and left the car, but a few minutes later came back and said “hey, boys, the Sox just won 11-3!”. They all cheered and one of them yelled “that means the conductah buys the next round!” They all laughed. The conductor sort of laughed and got out of the car as fast as he could.
After I got my hot dog, I went back to my seat and mentioned it to Terri and said “OH! They must have been in town for the funeral!” Apparently, she had been walking around Manhattan earlier that day and near St. Paul’s walked through a big funeral parade for a firefighter who died in action last week.
Later, behind us, a woman got on her cell phone and said “I’m going to be getting in in about a half hour.” She started to cry. “All I am going to want to do is come over and cry. Is that OK?”. The person on the other end seemed to answer in the affirmative and was greeted with more sobs. “OK, I’ll see you then.”
People gripe about the Acela, its delays, the Northeast’s aging track infrastructure keeping it from fulfilling its promise of lightning-fast rail service down the East Coast. But I’ve taken it 4 times in the last 6 weeks, and it’s been stellar each time. Comfortable, New York to Boston in 3.5 hours, no going through security, no getting a cab from airports to downtowns, power outlets, legroom, and the occasional adventure.
There are times when I think Boston is too expensive, too crowded, too full of East Coast angst, too fast, and I feel like bagging it all for somewhere where there are hills where there are trees and space and things are cheap and pretty and you can smell trees.
But now I work at a company whose headquarters is in NYC. All the people I’ve been crammed in an office with, roughly three to a desk, all live in tiny upper west side apartments they basically can never hope to afford. As Terri and I were walking up the hill home from the Davis Square T stop last night, I remembered: I have a yard, I have hedges, I have trees. It puts things in perspective.
If I lived in New York, I don’t know where I would live. The village is crawling with stockbrokers: it just isn’t what it was 50 years ago. It isn’t even what it was 30 years ago. Brooklyn is the most like Somerville, but there’s just something more nauseating about Brooklyn hipsters than there is about Somerville hipsters. Maybe it’s just the sheer concentration of them.
I walked around Davis Square today while Terri was getting her prescriptions refilled just in case the transition to new healthcare leaves us without insurance for a couple of weeks. I got a burrito at Anna’s Taqueria and it felt like home.