Top Reasons Massachusetts is Different from Maryland
AKA Disconcerting things that will Confuse you for Weeks!
More recent observations upon becoming a Massachusetts resident.
Snow, snow, snow. Everywhere, but not as bad as I feared [at least not yet].
The main difference is that in Maryland, you'll have snow, but invariably
the following day it will hit 45 degrees and it will melt within a week.
Up here the snow just never melts and sort of accumulates over the entire
winter, which apparently lasts until April.
Another big difference is people don't run to the store to buy up all the
milk, bread, and toilet paper when the Weather-news people even mention the
word snow. Instead they leisurely go to Blockbuster and rent hundreds of
- School "Busses":
Apparently up here there is a great number of small bus routes. To meet this
need, any vehicle can be made an honorary school bus by
slapping some red lights and a giant "School Bus" name-tag on it. This can
be quite odd, as you'll be driving around and come across station wagons,
SUV's, vans, and any other manner of vehicle masquerading as school busses.
I can't say it enough. People up here are insane!!!!! What's more
frightening is how quickly you get used to it and start driving the same way.
- Attractive Girls in Menial Jobs:
I was trying to think of a way to phrase this without being insulting,
sexist, or both. Often you'll run into extremely attractive and pleasant
20-something women in places you wouldn't expect them. Like working at the
front desk of the RMV [Registry of Motor Vehicles]. In Maryland jobs of
this sort are invariably staffed [stereotypically] by surly overweight
middle-aged women who will frown at you with scorn.
Original observations based on my summer spent near Lowell, MA
What the news-media calls "oppressive heat" is about 10 degrees cooler and
20% less humid than what a seasoned Marylander would call
"oppressive." In fact, their "oppressive" days would only qualify as
"mildly uncomfortable." I hear, however, that the winters more than make
up for this short-fall.
In Massachusetts you can't stumble more than 5 blocks in any direction
without running into a Dunkin Donuts. They are everywhere. Coming from a
county that has maybe 2, I find this very odd. Even more odd, many are
open 24 hours a day. And what is frightening: they always seem to be
busy, even at 1am.
Skunks in the Road:
Before heading North, I can remember maybe twice ever coming across a dead
skunk in the road. But this summer, every day in a different place there
would be one, accompanied by that horrible odor. Even better is when one
gets hit right in front of your apartment.
There are no useful road signs in Massachusetts. Lanes start and end
suddenly. There are no merge areas on highways. Roads can be "North" and
"South" simultaneously. Apparently much of this is due to something
called the Big Dig which involves taking all the state's highway money and
using it to bury all of the major roads in Boston underground, leaving no
money for useful things like road signs or modern traffic lights.
Massachusetts is the land of crazy drivers. Left turns are made
arbitrarily, with no regards for oncoming traffic. People will slow from
65Mph to a stop to let someone out of a parking lot, even if traffic is
light. People turning left at a stop light will turn as soon as the light
changes, whether they have right-of-way or not. In order to turn right,
people will swing left, cutting into the other lane, and then finally make
the turn. On the plus side there isn't as much tailgating.
The way they are designed in Massachusetts makes them long like they are
eternally driving backwards, which can be very disconcerting.
Hot Dog Rolls:
OK, I know these are getting a bit obscure. If you buy hot-dog
rolls, they look very strange, like squished loaves of
bread. Eventually I found out that what Marylanders would call
"normal" hot-dog rolls are referred to as "coney-island style" hot-dog
No, not the accent. Actually most places there isn't a very
obvious accent. What I am talking about is place-names. The secret way of
saying "Worcester" is somewhat well-known [hint, it sounds nothing
like the Maryland eastern-shore county by the same name], but there are
many other strange ones as well. Try saying "Billerica" or
"Chelmsford" or "Dracut" or "Quincy" and you'll probably be wrong the first
time. Or maybe I am just bad at pronouncing things.
Actually besides the above things are fairly pleasant: kots of trees, old
buildings, and people who hate the Yankees as much as much as Orioles fans