While much has been said about the Massachusetts driving style, I'd like to think that certain other states have much worse people on the roads than we. However, it should be duly noted that Massachusetts does have the worst pedestrians this side of the Atlantic. Unlike, for example, New York, where crossing the street while "DON'T WALK" is flashing is tantamount to a death sentence, usually resulting in the crosser ending up in a cab driver's grill, in Boston, and indeed in every city and town in the Commonwealth, many peds are fearless and bad. It is their irrational walking habits that make driving around the highways and byways of the former Massachusetts Bay Colony such a uniquely white-knuckle experience. That being said, it's time to review the most common and fearsome of the Massachusetts pedestrian archetypes. Please note that the following is a list of bad pedestrians. Do not aspire to be one.
The Drunken Bro (DISCLAIMER: "Bro" as in "What's goin' on, bro?"; NOT in the racial sense)
- Description: The drunken frat boy, or "bro" (as in "What's goin' on, bro?"), or his non-collegiate isoarchetype, the Buddy (as in "Whoa, theah, buddy!"). Will one day end up with a job in the sales department, using cubicles bedecked with those adjectival motivational posters like "Triumph", "Intergrity", etc. The 2000's version of the white hat-wearing DMB-listening jock.
- Disposition: Angrily drunk. One step from feces-throwing.
- Location: Exiting the Rack or some similar, horrible bar frequented by minor local sports celebrities (you know, the kind that show up in Bernie and Phyl's commercials); or frequented by radio stations owned by Clear Channel for promotions purposes. The Drunken Bro will be found stumbling along the streets near the bar (typically in the area around Faneuil Hall in Boston), right after last call, either throwing up, still dancing to the latest Louie DeVito garbage, or on the arms of some young sweet thing from "Billricker" or "Danvehs".
- Interaction with the Road: When encountering an oncoming vehicle, the Drunken Bro will first stop talking to Sully on the Nextel and then proceed to turn angrily. He will splay his arms like a hostile crucified Jesus, as if to say "I'm fuckin' walkin' heah, you asshole!". He might then actually say that.
- Walking Style: Swervy yet bold.
- Quote: "I'm hammid." Or: "Listen, bro, I'm tryin' to wahk. Me and some kids from the the Ville are goin' down to the Cape in the moning, and I don't need yoah fuckin' driving in my way.
- Advice for the Driver: Do not agitate, nor make eye contact. He will bang on your car. If he does, and you are capable, beat him within an inch of his life.
The Fenway Park Bro
- Description: The same archetype as above, before, during, and after a Red Sox game.
- Disposition (if the Red Sox lose): Aggresive and vengeful.
- Disposition (if the Red Sox win): Aggressive and vengeful.
- Location: Commonly Fenway Park, but also in sports bars and Drunken Bro-friendly colleges (Northeastern, BU, and UMass Amherst) across the state.
- Interaction with the Road: Same as above, with the added bonus of opening the doors of passing cars, particularly when the cars are trapped in traffic in places like Lansdowne Street.
- Walking Style: Truculent.
- Quote: "They shud fiah that asshole. They shud fiah all those assholes!" Or, most commonly: "Yankees suck! Jeter swallows."
- Advice for the Driver: Do not go near Fenway Park during a game. Usually it's physically impossible anyway during a game. Take the T. Or, if in a college area, park near the library. It's usually the last place they'll go.
- Description: The hapless, fanny pack-donning tourist who lingers about Faneuil Hall. Most commonly found trying to maintain composure while gazing at a printed map of downtown Boston, the kind that comes with prominant buildings drawn on it to make it as easy to read as possible.
- Disposition: Quizzical.
- Location: Most commonly at Faneuil Hall in Boston, but also in other touristy areas, such as the Prudential Center, Harvard Square, Plymouth plantation, the Cape, and Tanglewood. Also, in the wake of Duck Tours. They occasionally fall off the back.
- Interaction with the Road: Like a deer in the headlights, foolishly believing that anyone actually follows the "yield to pedestrians" rule.
- Walking Style: Docilely ignorant.
- Quote: "This place would be a lot easier to navigate if the streets were straight." Or: "The nearest Wal-Mart is ten miles away?! What the Sam Hill kind of place is this?"
- Advice for the Driver: As would with cattle, honk until they're off the road. Be careful not to start a stampede, though.
The Foreign Exchange Student
- Description:Hapless student visa-holding individuals wearing extravagently-pleated pants.
- Disposition: Bewildered.
- Location: MIT or Harvard. Occassionally Tufts or BC.
- Interaction with the Road: Like a surprised deer in the headlights, often gazing in silent wonder at the mechanical beast in their path.
- Walking Style: Hauntingly awkward.
- Quote: "Do you know....where is....dorm, bro?"
- Advice for the Driver: Let them pass. It's better to use the carrot than the stick.
The Suburban Family
- Description: Mr. and Mrs. Massachusetts, with their 2.5 children.
- Disposition: Oscillating between hectic and relaxed, tending towards the latter among the higher tax brackets.
- Location: All town and village centers (thank God we have them), as well as mall parking lots, soccer fields, and PTA meetings.
- Interaction with the Road: Knowledable, yet angry if they perceive your minute car movements are in anyway advancing in on their precious children.
- Walking Style: Oscillating between haggard and confident, tending towards the latter with the older kids.
- Quote: "I can't believe they're going to raise taxes again! I just might move to New Hampshire this time!" Or: "Johnny, put down that PlayStation controller. It's time to go to fat camp."
- Advice for the Driver: Let them pass and return their "don't run into my kids, asshole" stare evenly.
La Vie Boheme
- Description: The hipster kids who frequent the many towns and cities of Massachusetts
- Disposition: Aloof.
- Location: The usual suspects: Harvard Sqaure, Davis Square, Central Square, and Allston, and to a limited extent in wealthier suburbs like Newton, Andover, and the like in eastern Mass.; in western Mass., Northampton and Amherst.
- Interaction with the Road: Quickly and precisely darting past cars, unless taking equipment out of a double-parked 1982 Astrovan.
- Walking Style: Brusque.
- Quote: "Man, check out that life-sized cutout of Phillip Michael Thomas! Awesome!" Or: "Hurry the hell up. We're going to miss Aqua Teen Hunger Force and that's the one show I watch."
- Advice for the Driver: This type is usually the best at crossing the roads. Beep at the Astrovan, though. They'll get the message.
The Ahhhhhh...Freak Out! (to the tune of Chic's "Freakout")
- Description: Crazed homeless and/or "eccentrics" who wander the streets.
- Disposition: Depends. Some enjoy loudly debating the benefits of mayonnaise outside my window. Others dress up like an angelic woman replete with wings, toga, and harp, despite having tatooed forearms and a "Da Bears" mustache/sunglasses ensemble, out my other window. Many pick through garbage.
- Location:Same as La Vie Boheme, plus inner city areas like Roxbury, Dorchester, all of downtown Boston, Lawrence, Lowell, Worcester, Springfield, Fall River, Holyoke, New Bedford.....you get the idea.
- Walking Style: Iterent and lackadaisical.
- Quote: "You goddamn motherfuckers better tell those Commie bastards that they're not taking me! Sweet Ezra Pound, my tin foil kilt will prevent aliens from controlling my genitals!"
- Advice for the Driver: Just let them pass. We don't have the squeegee man problem that New York once did. Vote for candidates that increase funding for rehabilitation and mental health.