Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

April 11, 2013

Lost in Boston

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 1:25 pm

I was in Boston for a few days the first part of March. I’d never been there, so you’d think I would have hit the sightseeing trail running. Or at least eaten some great food. I actually did have one meal that was awesome and one that was pretty good. But you want to know what sites I saw?

Well, I’ll tell you. I saw the few sights between my hotel and the conference center the couple of times I managed to get from one place to the other without getting lost. (Of course, I saw sights when I was lost, but I didn’t know what they were. One old building looks pretty much like the next.) The best thing I saw that I knew I was seeing was Old South Church. Did I see it from the inside? I did not. I was afraid I’d get lost there, too.

I was lost the very first day. With a colleague. Who doesn’t usually get lost. It’s CATCHING, people. Mary caught my lost. So were walking around trying to find our way, and we asked a woman how to get to Clarendon Street. We said “CLARE-en-don.” She appeared puzzled for a minute. Then she said, “Oh! You mean clare-EN-don.” Then she told us how to get to the hotel. She said she lived in Boston, so we figured her directions were good.

We were wrong.

An hour later, the very beginnings of the nor’easter that hit that part of the country moved in. We stopped a guy and asked him how to get to clare-En-don Street. There was that look again. Befuddlement. Then, “Oh! You mean CLARE-en-don.” Yes, we said. Whatever, we said. We were cold, we said. He gave us good directions.

So we went to my hotel, then we went to eat very close to the hotel. The waiter gave Mary directions back to her hotel. Go a block, he said, and you’ll see a mall. Go into the mall, and you can walk all the way to the convention center, inside. Sounded like a deal. When she got to the Marriott, she texted me. A piece of cake, that trip.

OK. The next morning I stepped out onto the street and was blown a good 30 feet before I managed to wrap myself around a signpost. It was sleeting and snowing. Horizontally. At least the wind blew me in the direction I was supposed to go. When I got to the end of the block, where there was supposed to be a mall entrance, I had it in my head that the mall was on the corner diagonal from me. Getting there entailed crossing an intersection that must have covered a full acre, but at least the wind was at my back. I trekked across that wilderness, stopping once in the middle for another traffic light. Made it to that corner. Didn’t see a mall. Turning in that small circle I always turn in when I’m lost, I saw it.

On the other side of the gi-normous intersection. *Sigh.*

I wish I could say I eventually got my bearings. That would be a lie. I did not. I got lost so often and in so many places that I should have thumb marks on my shoulders from kind passersby grasping them, turning me in the direction I should be going, and giving me a shove. Within a block, I would be lost again.

One night, I was in the hotel bar and about half the people there put their cell phone numbers in my phone so when—not if, but when—I found myself lost I could call someone. Not that any of them were from there. Still, it was nice. I still have one of the numbers in my phone. The contact is named “Hunk Hotline.” I would definitely have called that one. Nothing like being all flirty when they can’t find you to call you a tease. Not that that has ever happened to me. Lost or not.

The very worst night was when I came out on a different side of the conference center. Nothing looked familiar, not that anything ever did, plus I’d had a few glasses of wine—ok, a bottle. Jeeze. What a bunch of sticklers you are. So, somebody showed me how to use the GPS on my phone. In addition, when I looked into the distance, I saw atop a building a lighted sign saying YMCA.

“Oh!” I said. That’s my hotel!” So we entered my hotel address into the GPS on and off I went. It kept telling me to go in a direction different from the one I was going in, but I kept my eye on that YMCA. After a few—well, several—miles, I reached the building with that sign. And guess what? NOT MY HOTEL, PEOPLE!

Not only was it not my hotel, but it was in a pretty seedy part of Boston, the kind of seedy that if you wait on a street corner for the light to change, someone will offer you money in exchange for, you know, favors.

I did not stop for lights. I decided to follow my GPS. But do you know how far you can walk before you notice that little blue dot, the one that represents you, is off track? And then when you notice, you don’t know exactly which way to go in order to get back on the correct route. It’s endless, I tell you. ENDLESS.

And it seemed like the longer I walked, the more the wine I’d had was affecting me. I starting stopping every few feet to email people at home in Oklahoma. As if they could tell me to go boob-ward or butt-ward. Finally, I saw a taxi dropping off what looked like a pretty prosperous—um—street-corner stander. I practically threw myself under the cab’s wheels.

The driver thought it was all very amusing, and in between guffaws, ticked off the miles to let me know how far off I was. I reached my hotel, and not only had I been nearly six miles from it, but the sign on the top of the building said YWCA. Not YMCA

However, I now believe I have a solution, one I gleaned from my incessant trolling for trivia. Apparently, birds get where they want to go—without getting lost—because they have so much mineral magnetite in their nasal passages.

I’m going to Kmart now, and I’m buying barrel full of that stuff.



  1. Oh my God, I think I’ve found my (lost) soulmate! I never, ever, in a gazillion years dreamed I’d meet someone with as bad a sense of direction as I’m afflicted with. I tell people I’m a reasonably intelligent person that can write books but I get lost in a flipping parking lot. My daughter had her one of her sons in Cushing and the first day I got out of there and back home just, well, not fine but with a minimum amount of crying & cursing. The next day I parked on the other side of the parking lot and when I left that night, I wound up headed for Dallas. Yes dear girl, you have so much in common.


    Comment by gloriateague52 — April 11, 2013 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

  2. You walked 6 miles? In a pair of your shoes? That is possibly the most pitiful story I’ve ever heard, and you’ve told some really sad ones. You need a license to leave your front door 🙂


    Comment by Michelle — April 11, 2013 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

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