Getting lost is a proud tradition

I’m not the first to leave Boston with a special bond to history. No, it wasn’t to our founding fathers, but rather with Lewis and Clark and maybe even Sacagawea. I also feel a kinship with legendary Boston Charlie, who couldn’t get off the Boston subway.
In the space of 10 minutes, I first couldn’t get on the subway. Then when I did, it shut down and threw me off. Perhaps ho-hum for you big-city types, but it made a great story for cocktail hour, along the lines of “I came this close to wandering the halls of the Boston subway forever!”           
The whole episode can be traced to the fact that my definition of “walking distance” and that of any East Coast city-dweller, is several miles apart. I learned, after about two days of long treks down several city blocks, that, in Boston, you just don’t ask if something is “within walking distance.” The answer is always yes. Or “Oh yeah, it’s right down there” or “It’s just around the corner.” And it never is. The term Boston Marathon took on new meaning.
I really do love walking around Boston. Every house looks like Ben Franklin might step out of it at any minute. I love all the brick in this never-feel-an-earthquake city. I love the front stoops, the wrought iron fences and gates, the amazing old churches and the view across the river. I love that you can burn calories getting to dinner and home again.
Nevertheless, do not go to this city without your most comfortable shoes and a kit full of corn pads, heel protectors and gel insoles. Even when you think you can jump on the “T,” things can bite you in the backside.
We had strolled quite a ways down the Charles River bank and headed for a main transit station for the trip home on the subway. The doors opened on the C train and my husband and friends all stepped on. Just as my daughter and I were about to board, the doors slammed shut with a vengeance and would not open again. We waved goodbye to the rest of our party as that train sped off. All we could do was wave.
Now, what you should do is wait for the next C train, but for some reason, the whole line decided to shut down, (Hey, it was even on the news!) sending us back up to the street to figure out where we were and what to do next, as no one was offering any advice. We were bewildered, but in retrospect, had we jumped on the next train, who knows where we might have ended up.
My daughter’s resourcefulness, her GPS and the kindness of strangers got us back where we needed to be with no serious wear, but just for a while, we were off the grid. Pretty exciting stuff.


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