They're Ready For Us to Go Now

Jesse Cornett

Here in Boston the reception has been cool, almost cold, to the arrival of the Convention, even the protestors ended up staying home (so far). The restaurants -- even those close to the Fleet Center -- have had very slow sales this week, and I think that is really unfortunate. Our breakfasts are all together and paid for, and dinners are usually on the reception circuit sometime after midnight and this is how it could have been expected to go. Other businesses seem jam-packed and enjoying the business.

After the Red Sox game on Saturday, my sightseeing, eating and drinking, and not to mention the money that I spent on the hotel or the money that myself and my wife will spend to be tourists here for the three days after the convention, I will be spending a lot of dough. Yet the buzz has all been about how little we've spent, how poorly we tip, and how local business is going to suffer.

Several places that I have tried to patronize have had costs equal to those paid at Fenway Park. If I go to a baseball game and want to eat and drink, I expect to pay a lot for beer and food. If I want to enjoy a vacation-like time, I would go broke really quick.

Though I must admit I love the great service and higher food quality than I am used to (a local cabbie told me this morning that Boston has demanding diners), my tolerance for the constant whining ended last night when a towncar driver tried to talk me out of a cab for a ride with him instead, then complaining for five minutes about how cheap we were and how we were putting Boston out of business (he wanted to charge me $25 for what I knew to be $5 in a cab, with tip).

It's a good thing the delegates haven't started complaining about the construction that has town in such a mess, or that we don't even clear out of the Convention until almost midnight, everything must shut down by 2 a.m.

Our reception here has been monumentally poor.

  • Nicole (unverified)

    Open until 2am, huh? I lived in Boston for 4 years and I was lucky to find anything that was open past midnight on a weeknight except the diner next to South Station. Most businesses have to purchase permits to stay open past a certain hour and there are only a certain number of permits per district. Trying to purchase special permits to allow different hours for just one week would be cumbersome at best, a logistical and costly nightmare at worst.

    Boston has been gearing up for the convention forever and there's been nothing but talk about how good it would be for the city, especially with the huge, ongoing cost of the Big Dig (which might make town look like a "mess" to you, but consider the mess for regular commuters who have to find a way through town - without 93 or North Station - on top of the usual commuting nightmare). Boston is an expensive place to live in - much less visit - so have a little understanding for those who are (maybe not as) graciously (as you would like) welcoming you and your fellow delegates into their hometown.

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    Bostonians don't exactly have a reputation for keeping a stiff upper lip when it comes to complaints. I guess we should have expected some whinging. No doubt the webfoot delegation has stunned them with your famous West Coast mellowness.

  • brett (unverified)

    It's not your fault. There's a reason they're called Massholes.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    -- The pained Hub City suffered severe fractures of its radiuses and by-ways hit with 'security' battiness. It's a nicer town in its long lore than it is in its present people, yet even the people are kindly spirited in a philosophic, reserved sort of way. Until federal nationalists come build Gitmo cages downtown to stifle detractors of homeland thuggery, confined for soap-boxing and put on display like the paupered and unchurched miscreatants locked in stocks long long ago, same old same old, for public spectacle on Boston Common and town greens to the north and south across the granite-ground states. Colonial dunking stools today were the equivalent of trying to find a bathroom and have scarlet-enough ID around your neck to get there in the convention hall. Intrusive mocking friction at every moving step made Orwellian reverse-speak out of the name Fleet Center. Central squares, circles, tunnels, bridges and hills were turniquetted for 'terrorizing security.' Black helicopters. Robojacks. Dissent-proof black humvees. And 'secured' communications links. Who welcomes tourism terrorism? Any town with security enforcement brought down so hard is going to be full of locals trying to re-get their breath and stand up from the knee-capping. Hit by Patriot Act'ers in Patriarca guise -- New England's branch clan of the Sopranos at work.

    And all the gruel of it was as necessary as the dirty tricks political forgeries wrapped around Democrat Edmund Muskie's campaign in New England '72, which is to say the clampdown on Boston was not real necessary at all -- it was a Republican, I mean Homeyland dirty trick on the Bay State of Paul Revere. He got stockaded to end his communication, too. Too late. (Like believing the Iraq WMD-Tooth Fairy story and lying down to sleep, and dying before you wake. What a dirty trick.)

    Or too early. Boston is empty -- it's summer. There's only a half million people there. The paying customers left in June and aren't expected back, half a million strong, before college scholarships are deposited in September. It's the only city-size college town.

    Jesse, there's some opportunity in being there during the off-season. Rent a hybrid car (call Click and Clack for the discount deal) and tour the colonial sites around Concord and Lexington. If you drive west almost to the Hudson, there's Sturbridge Village to compare potentially with Fort Clatsop and Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and the Oregon Garden, (perhaps going out the Mass Pike a sidestop to get glib suggestions and terse directions from my college daughter, but I don't say where -- one. more. year.) Or, for the full Hood-to-coast parallel effect, drive east out the Cape and eat clam strips. Jesse, you may not come back. (In town find a cabbie who can get you to the No Name restaurant at the docks. No Name because it has no sign. Wherever, politely decline the blue crabs and bite your tongue off before you say 'dungeness' or ''quilliyup'. No sense riling the locals, their well and run-off waters got fouled under the heat and they're in spitting mood.)

    Oh, you'll be back. You'll have to, you'll be broke from the sales tax, if you're not hustled by a swan boat shill. And when you whirl into Oregon you may notice you're not in a swing state anymore. The place is turning Dem blue, and Kerry's running ten points ahead, officially. More, if you poll around yourself. We're getting the red out The paper sent their two Leo op-edists to beantown like a birthday gag, with cards saying write if they want another year's work. One got a people story each day, one wired the FAUX News teleprompter script from the uplink truck, three times -- on Friday he's down to his last strike.

    The 'Oregon delegation' was a hit all week. Seemingly media darlings for all the mentions we heard. Except Liars Larson couldn't 'get' any to mention, apparently ignorant that Boston politics is only a flipped coin's width from Portland's. Where politics' future appeared foretold by Big Eddie Schultz, live from Boston, when he announced his Demo audience in the Portland market has beaten the ratings pants off the noon-hour liar net in the radio air. You can return from a Boston swan boat to a Portland swan song -- you know him, you hate him, see him run along, your bane and mine: Mr. Snipe Pipes the Swedish nutball. Takes his angry red, gets out. To an Idaho panhandle cabin, I'm thinking.

    So the coast is clearing out home in the pacific zone. Now get on back, time's a'wasting and there are elections to steamroll.

    (brett, there's a extremely high tide coming in -- please be under it.)

  • pdxkona (unverified)

    That must have been "Massachusettsian", 'cause I couldn't understand a word he said. My loss, I'm sure.

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    Wow, Jesse, you had a very different experience than I did. Shopkeepers, T engineers, taxi drivers, cops, servers, and protesters all smiled and chatted with me. When I stood on a street corner with a map, I had help in seconds.

    The T-engineer told me to keep my money when I got without correct change. The cabbie railed about Bush. Someone had the T held for Joe and Meredith Smith.

    The only surly person I ran into was one woman in a T token booth.

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    Don't get me wrong, I haven't have a horrible time. I was certainly rubbed the wrong way by some of the local whining, which I both saw, read about in the paper, and was asked about in a blog comment pertaining to other entry that I posted. It was an aspect that begged for comment.

    In fact I've had a tremendous time and even still here in Boston, as are several other delegates, including Mac Pritchard and Serena Cruz. I saw Serena over in little Italy this evening, dining with a guest. When we found a restaurant a few minutes later one of the first things to come out of the waiter's mouth was to bemoan the slow week they'd had because of the Convention. Some of us have gone out of our way to be tourists and spend money. Don't get me wrong, I am sympathetic to those guys, who may not have enough money to pay their rent this month because of us. My only point was that the complaints from the locals seemed to outweigh the harm done on the community, at least outside of the restaurant community. I just can't seem to shake the feeling that I am like a visitor in a household where the father is very excited by my presence but the rest of the family wishes that I weren't there.

    Overall, my time here has been great. I'm off to NYC in the morning, and it feels like I am leaving way to soon, even though I stayed 9 days for a 4 day gathering. I can't wait for an opportunity to return to Boston and the ability to see it from a different perspective.

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