Hey, I’m home again! To Boston and back again in 30 hours is a bit much, I’m afraid—I need a nap, but work awaits me.
We did have a brief gathering of science blog fans at Darwin’s this morning: Mark (whose last name I didn’t get…he can ‘fess up in a comment),
Revere (why isn’t everyone reading his blog?),
Blake Stacey, OM, and
Denis Castaing (Proud Atheist — he even gave me a big bold button that said “Atheist and Proud”) showed up and we chatted for about an hour and a half. Good people: only the smartest read Pharyngula, of course.
That button Denis gave me actually came in very handy. There’s a group, Youcanrunbutyoucannothide.com, that frequents the gas station in Sauk Center where I always fuel up. These guys are the Minnesota equivalent of the squeegee panhandlers—they run up and tell you they have a special full service offer at the gas station, they’ll fill it up for you and check your oil and clean your windshield, and then afterwards they shake a cup at you and ask for money. They’re very annoying, especially since their organization is simply a pseudo-“hip” front for anti-abortion, anti-drug, fanatical Christian baloney. Anyway, the guy in front of the station jumped up to run to my car as I stepped out, then he saw the button (which can be read from 20 feet away), and he stopped cold with his eyes bugging out. It was as good as a poleaxe, so I’m very appreciative.
Oh, another weird story from Boston: the trip was smooth and painless, except for the cab ride from the airport into the city. Did you know they have a weird accent in Boston? This driver had it worse than most, and he may also have been partly deaf. I told him, “Charles Hotel on Bennett Street in Harvard Square”, and he shouted back “HAHVAHD SQUA!” and off we went. We got to Harvard Square just fine, but then he’s driving around … “AH CAN’T FIND STATE STREET!” I was baffled, but he’s the cabbie, he must know the city better than I do, and maybe State Street is part of the route. Then he shouts out, “SHERATON?”, and I reply, loudly and clearly, “No, the Charles Hotel. On Bennett.” “STATE STREET!”
He pulls up along another cab, and asks, “WHEAH’S STATE STREET?”, and the other driver points off in some direction away from Harvard Square. We end up driving back and forth for 20 minutes, with the driver occasionally shouting, “SHERATON? STATE STREET!” and me yelling back, “NO—CHARLES HOTEL! BENNETT!” The next time the guy pulls up alongside another cab to ask directions to “STATE STREET!”, I open my window and am hanging half out of the cab, yelling, “HELP! TELL HIM HOW TO GET TO THE CHARLES HOTEL ON BENNETT!” There was a lot of finger pointing and handwaving, and the crazy cabbie got the car close enough that I could read the signs and get him to the hotel with gestures.
To add to the insult, when we finally got there he yelled, “CHAHLES HOTEL? YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME AT THE AIRPORT THE NAME OF YOUR HOTEL!”
I didn’t tip him.
I take it there isn’t much regulation of cab drivers in Boston?