Photo: Mashimara Photo/Shutterstock

How to Piss Off Someone From Boston

Student Work
by Isabelle Martin Jun 25, 2014
Move someone’s shoveled-out parking space holder and take their spot.

This may get you murdered around here. Most apartments in the city don’t come with parking, and finding a spot on the street in good weather is its own miracle. In the winter, it also involves spending an hour heaving yellow snow all over the sidewalk while cursing the weather gods. No one wants to have to do this twice, so it’s customary to lay claim to your spot by placing an item such as an orange cone or laundry basket in it.

So no, that lawn chair isn’t sitting in a perfectly shoveled-out rectangle on the side of the road because someone forgot to pick it up after spending an afternoon people-watching during the polar vortex. Only move it if you want your vehicle destroyed using said lawn chair as a ninja star.

Comment about the slant of the floor, uneven doorways, and lack of central air in your host’s house.

It’s called CHARM, okay? And it’s freaking expensive and you try sleeping at a 30-degree angle every night as the wind comes shrieking through the inch-wide gap around all of your windows.

Same deal with looking for the apartment’s elevator — those didn’t exist when this building was constructed, so you’re going to have to take the stairs. Deal with it. Besides, since there’s no room for a treadmill in my 200-square-foot studio and I can’t afford a gym membership, I’m considering it my new exercise routine.

Talk about the home you just bought in the Midwest or South for the price of my monthly rent.


Underdress and then complain about the cold.

I had a friend from Phoenix who went out in flip-flops on the first day of snow up here because she didn’t understand that snow is cold. NO. I’m not going to go inside with you to warm up every five minutes or let you borrow one of the three down coats I thoughtfully put on before leaving the house. Get your own!

Talk about the Harbor and the Charles being polluted / full of bodies.

We’re past that, and you really need to stop watching so many mob movies. The Harbor has been safe for swimming (and cleared of probably almost all the bodies) for years. Even the Charles was opened up to recreational swimmers last year.

To quote Billy Baker at the Boston Globe, “the bottom of the river remains a toxic mess, but if a swimmer can get in and out of the water without touching the squishy bottom, no tetanus shot is necessary.” We love that dirty water, so step off.

Bitch about all the progressives.

Boston is known for its liberalism. We value human rights, are frontrunners in education and intelligence, and have the best healthcare coverage in the country. To boot, we’re second in hilariousness only to Chicago. Yes, nobody likes the limousine liberals in Newton and Brookline, but they really aren’t what Boston’s all about (that’s why they’re called the 1%).

Attempt to drive without having the directions memorized.

The lane will end abruptly, a rotary will appear out of nowhere, the left-turn-only paint in your lane will be worn off and most likely covered with bumper-to-bumper traffic at all times so you’re unable to see it until there’s no escape. If you’re distracted by trying to read a map, you’ll forget to look both ways when crossing the one-way and someone on a bike will careen into your vehicle, scratch half the paint off, and then scream at you to go fuck yourself.

But let’s get serious, this header should really read: “Attempt to drive in Boston at all.”

Display a complete lack of understanding of our public transportation system.

First, it’s called the T, not the metro or the subway or the underground. Second, give yourself an extra four hours to get wherever you’re going. Part of this is due to perennially disabled trains, and part of it is because of you, thoughtless tourist!

The worst thing you can do is elbow your way to the front door of the aboveground Green Line and then try to pay with incorrect change, out-of-control butterfingers, or your credit card.

Before you go anywhere, purchase a Charlie Ticket at any of the underground stops (or a Charlie Card at one of these locations to save some money). Better yet, just shove through the middle door of the train with all the locals and ignore the request to “come to the front and pay your fare.” The T drivers are way too lazy and apathetic to enforce anything.

Fail to recognize walking and biking in Boston as extreme sports.

I guess walking is your best bet if you want to minimize culture shock, but still be prepared to tunnel your way through the permafrost eight months out of the year as bikes and cars use you for target practice while you’re on the crosswalk. Jaywalking is essential in Boston because none of the lights are on any sort of cohesive schedule, but the key is to never hesitate. Once you make your move, sprint across the street like your life depends on it (it does). Ability to smell fear is the first part of the driving test at the Boston RMV.

Under no circumstances are you to stop on the sidewalk for any reason — not to peer at your map, not to watch a pack of dudes in Red Sox jerseys close in on an unsuspecting Yankees fan (I just got this hat for Christmas! My uncle lives in New York!). Walk single-file and move along!

And if you decide to bike, stay off the sidewalk! We’ve put a lot of money into building new bike paths and lanes all over the city. Yes, driving in the “bike path” on Longwood Ave at rush hour will almost definitely get you turned into human jelly, so check Google Maps’ biking directions for advice on the best route. You really can’t go wrong with a scenic detour along the Charles River Bike Path, the Fens, or the Southwest Corridor.

Smother us in weird friendliness.

Okay, this is totally bewildering. I just met you and you’ve called me sweetheart (I’m not your granddaughter!), blessed my heart six times, and invited me to your wedding. What in the land? On the other hand, don’t look so shocked that we just gave your confused-looking, sun-bonnet-wearing ass directions! Despite the gruff exterior, we’re generally helpful people.

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