Today it was half-raining and half-snowing, or as we call it in the Northeast a “Wintery Mix”. I was walking home and came across a guy trying to shield his smartphone from the elements while (stressfully) trying to find something on his smartphone. Classic tourist. He may have not been a tourist but he certainly didn’t live in Boston. This became even more obvious when I asked him if he needed directions. He said he was looking for the green line. I then asked him where exactly he was going and he said “North Station via the Green Line”. Another classic “tourist” mistake: taking a really roundabout way to get somewhere instead of taking a much more direct (but perhaps non-obvious) route.
He was probably a 15 minute walk from the green line and even then, only SOME trains go to North Station, most trains go only to Government Center and then you have to get off the train and wait for one to North Station. This was not something an out-of-towner would have known. From where he was it could have easily taken 40 minutes after all was said and done. Instead of this route I suggested he take the orange line (across the street) to North Station instead which would probably be a 15 minute trip. It took some convincing because he knew that the Green Line would get him there. Should he trust a stranger? So I told him that he would certainly get to North Station via his route, but that he could save half an hour at least by taking the Orange Line instead. By showing him he was correct, just perhaps not the most correct, he then decided to trust me and headed into the Orange Line T-Station.
I used to do that same thing all the time in Boston when I first moved here. Many of the T-Stations are so close together you might as well walk, but the shortcuts are non-obvious. Instead of taking the easy route, I’d often go far out of my way to get somewhere because I didn’t know any better. A good example was going from Somerville to Allston, a trip I made all the time to hang out with friends from home. I’d take the Red Line to Park Street and then take the B-Line to Allston, about 1 hour and 20 minutes after it’s all said and done, a classic n00b move. Instead, I should have taken the 57 bus from Harvard to Allston which was about 20 minutes. Finally someone showed me the light and I felt like an idiot. However, I was eternally grateful for saving an hour of my life every time I went out to Allston. I was glad to show this random guy that same light. Hopefully he found something worthwhile to do with his extra half hour.