Never Pick a Random City

Never pick a random city in Mass.
I had Smurfette towed today. It turns out that Jen's mother and her mother's fiancee own 2 auto repair shops. I came to the conclusion that I just can't let Smurfette go. She really is more than a car to me. And after parting with all of my other worldly items, I can't bear to lose the only familiar thing that not only feels like home, but is home.

Spring Street Service Center. They are in Windsor Locks, CT. Windsor Locks is about 165 miles away from Manchester, NH. I've got AAA Plus, so I get free towing up to 100 miles. I figured out where 100 miles from Windsor Locks was, and then checked out public transport in the areas. There is a train that runs from Worcester to Boston. However, not all of the stops have service past the peak times. So I had to find a station that was easy to get to from the freeway, and that I wouldn't get stuck at. Framingham. That seemed perfect. I could get either the 6:16 or 6:43 train to Boston, and then grab the 8:15 bus to Manchester. Sounds easy enough?

I drove to Framingham. I found a good place to park and then called AAA. The woman was so confused by where I was at. She kept asking my address, and then the address I was at, and where I needed to be towed. Wisconsin. Massachusetts. Connecticut. hmmmm...
I then walked around Framingham looking for a bathroom. The first thing I noticed was that everything seemed to be written in Spanish first, and then English. I didn't hear top 40 music playing in CVS, it was a Hispanic channel. When I walked into a diner to use the toilet, the menus were completely in Spanish. I felt like I had walked into the twilight zone.

Unfortunately, the towing company took over an hour to get to me. This really screwed things up. It was hard to watch Smurfette get towed away, and then I felt even more alone in this strange suburb of Boston. I walked over to the train "station" only to find that the station had long since closed and it was just a platform. A train rolled up and loads of people piled off. I asked a ticket taker where the train was headed (even though it was on the Boston platform) and she told me Worcester. I had missed the 6:43 train. The next one to Boston was at 7:45. Nice.

I walked across the street to the convenient shop. This was very surreal. There was nothing in there I recognized. No Cheetos. No Pepsi. No crappy American junk food. It was all foreign. There was a meat counter - where they were selling chicken feet!! ICKY. I was starving, but I couldn't find anything. So I left and walked to the bakery a few hundred yards away. The people working were speaking some language I didn't even recognize. They kept talking to me and I was so stunned that I couldn't even reply. Then they began speaking Spanish to me; asking what I would like. Again, the food was very foreign looking. So I asked about this funny bread and the boy was stunned that I used English. He tried to explain what was in the bread, but his English wasn't good enough to really get the point across. I just said I would take it and got out of there as quickly as I could.

I cannot tell you how confused I was by this little town. Even in the Hispanic part of Milwaukee I've been greeted by shopkeepers in English. Bizarre.
I got on the train, and made it to South Station 15 minutes after the bus to Manchester left. So I had an hour and 45 minutes to kill before the next bus. I took the opportunity to walk around Boston.

Every time I'm in Boston, there's something that feels familiar, yet very strange about the city. I haven't been able to put my finger on it. Is it the smell? The layout? The brick sidewalks? I wandered for a while trying to figure it out. When I got to the Boston Common I looked at the map trying to make sense of where I was in location to the bus station. I looked up for the nearest street and caught myself looking at the buildings for the street sign. That's when I realized that it reminds me of England (duh). All of it. The layout; the sidewalk; the narrow side streets; random shop fronts... even the shape and layout of the Common. It made me appreciate Boston in a way I didn't before. I still don't care for the people there, but now I know why it feels familiar. It's a little piece of my home across the pond.

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