Diary of an Ex-Expat, Part 8
Snows and travel woes
I have intimated in the past that one of the strongest indicators of the livability of a city is the nature of its mass transit. Cities without decent mass transit are not generally particularly livable; probably, this extends beyond major metropolitan areas, because it's not just large cities that require people to be able to get around without a car.

So anyway, Boston does okay on that scale. Not great, but okay. Atlanta, actually, has a decent subway system. It's cheap, it's reasonably fast, it's pretty clean, and you get to have interesting conversations with random people about martial arts. The things you learn!

Americans do not tend to like this, because they do not like being around other people when they do not choose to be. (This is one reason why flying is such a miserable experience) I have come to realize that, although I don't take public transit all that often (because Berlin is so walkable) this doesn't really bother me. Also you can generally ignore people, or smile politely. Or growl, or make Skeletor noises.

The American thing instead seems to be to live far away from their places of occupation, and then periodically to complain about the price of petrol and car insurance. If pushed, they will tell you that they have no choice but to own a car, for [reasons], which are of course nonsense. They just like driving, and choose to take the lumps that come with it. Which is fine.

I used to like driving. But then I had a couple of realizations, which is that:

a) Every time I am in a new city, and driving, I become extremely stressed. I also tend to become lost very easily and then to become even more stressed, until I have to pull off to the side of the road and bang my head into the steering wheel, and
b) Particularly when traveling, it's not as convenient as I thought, when you factor in dealing with the rental car agency, and turning the car in, and finding gas, etc.

I wound up renting a car in Boston, because it seemed that I was going to have to go to New Hampshire. It being the vernal equinox and all, Boston decided to ring in the changing season with six inches of snow. I woke up to discover two feet packed behind my rental car, because that's how snowplows roll in Bostonian parking lots.

Anyway it turns out that Chevy Aveos don't like trying to back through two feet of snow, and also it turns out that I hate snow, and I hate driving, and I hate driving in snow more than any of those other things.

But for that, Boston was pretty cool. The people were really nice, albeit walking stereotypes. Now I get to do the other thing I hate about traveling, which is to strap myself into a transoceanic airliner for ten hours whilst trying to remember how to breathe through my nose.

The worst part about travel is the part where you fall asleep, and then you wake up and it turns out you haven't really moved anywhere at all.

One part of travel that I thought I would mind more as I did it more, and it turns out I do not, is actually airport security. This was the bane of my existence as a pleasure traveler; now that I do it all the time, it just kind of fades into the background. I've also discovered that the ideal time to arrive at the airport is not two hours, but closer to one.

Mostly I'm just rambling because I'm sick. And looking forward to be headed back to Germany, if for no other reason than I can get back to walking everywhere. Peace out guys.
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