I consider people from Cambridge to be a very approachable group as people go. We look eager to talk to anybody and some might dispute it but, we strangely look like we might know an answer to just about any question
But wait … anyone from Cambridge knows that “out of towners” asking any of us question’s comes with a price… The problem comes from us thinking everyone is from Cambridge…. we assume they know what we mean when we say “bangayouee” or “when you get to the Square it will be right around the conner from the Coop”.. Which translates to make a u turn or when we say “the Square” we mean Harvard Square.. the problem with that is ….Cambridge is also known as the city of squares Lafayette, Central, Porter, Kendall, Inman to name a few. We are never quite clear enough for the non-local crowd to understand us.
I overheard a lady in Kendall Square ask a friend of mine for directions to Fan-u-ill Hall. He quickly corrected her pronunciation by telling her that Faneuil is pronounced like the name Daniel… Faneuil. Then he directed her to keep following MassAve (AKA Massachusettes Avenue) …drive straight over the salt and pepper bridge (AKA Longfellow)….past the Charles Street Jail (which is not there anymore)…where the Boston Strangler escaped ….keep going up the hill to the brick plaza and then bang a left at Parker House (which is a hotel) where the invented Boston Creme Pie … down School Street past Old City Hall… bang a left at the end and a quick right after that and you’ll be at the site of the Boston Massacre. I loved the journey he described but no one from out of town is going to get those directions without a someone from Cambridge interpreting.
Have you ever told someone looking for BU or Commonwealth Ave to follow the river till you get to the Cottage Farm bridge and the go left under the overpass and right over the bridge… if you hit the Shell sign by the old Stop and Shop (which is not there anymore) you’ve gone too far?
I know Right… we know what all that means but, to someone not from Cambridge it’s like listening to a language as complex as the the communications of Native Code Whisperers .
I suppose in the long run its better than what a Mainer might say “aaayah can’t get there from heeereah”… In a way our skill at directions comes from how we see the world.. which for many of us was on foot. It’s amazing to me how much more you take in by walking or riding a bike than by riding in a car… Wouldn’t if be awesome to have a Cambridge GPS App like Waze?