14 January, 2011

On a snow day, Boston-bound

After an embarrassing combination of tardiness and technology-user failure at the Maine Ag Trades Show kept me from showing a video i'd produced for the occasion, i knew the change of pace i'd wanted was even more necessary. An evening with a true friend provided much-needed soul food, and with a last minute couch to surf in Boston, i braved the snow to drive at a nerve-fraying crawl. A quick accounting - between parking ($3/day in Portland; an expensive, infernal headache in Boston), gas and tolls, the train was decidedly more economical than driving, even in good weather.

The Downeaster, providing service from Portland to Boston, was running right on schedule, and it's a day like this that both makes me more grateful than usual for the train and, against the treacherous highway, proves its worth as a mass transit system. Packed with Celtics fans bound for Boston Garden, the afternoon train slid smoothly through a snow-covered landscape; Old Orchard Beach was particularly beautiful. Across the aisle, a man and his young son played cribbage. All around me, i could feel the snow had shaken up people's original plans. While plow-truck drivers had some extra work (i suppose an economic boon to them), the storm inspired blase cable news accounts and, more appreciably, spread a delightful, fluffy white spontaneity. 

One concern poked through, though. As i rode the train, working (yes! more on-task than i am at home; that was the whole point of this trip), i noticed the phantom burning smell that seemed to be following me wherever i went. Felt a little slow when i finally put together the burnt-toast odor and my fraying laptop charger cord. 

In Boston, i excercised the theory that the closer you get to a destination, the higher a percentage of the population are familiar with your destination and the more detailed directions you can procure. For example, a couple students in a Beacon Hill doorway could tell me the Apple store was on Boylston Street - and added, fun fact, it's the second-largest Apple retail store in the world, after the Shanghai location. At the Boylston T stop, an attendant told me to get off at Copley. Then at Copley, a woman supplied which direction to walk in. At last, at Apple's "genius bar", an employee pleasantly surprised me by replacing the charger at no cost. At the Starbucks nearby, a barista gave me herbal tea on the house. So, things were quite nice, and i could look forward to what i really came for….