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MIT student blogger Jessie L. '07

Adventures in Camberville by Jessie L. '07

(For those who don’t know/can’t figure out, “Camberville” is a reference to Cambridge and its neighbor Somerville)

The weather here sucks. It has been 45 degrees and raining for the last week. Yes, this is relevant to my story.

Saturday night, I was going to Rax ’04’s house because I’d heard that Anna ’02 (like Rax, an alum of my hall, and now a grad student at Caltech) was in town and going to be there. I like Anna, and with her being in Pasadena, I don’t get to see her that often, so I figured I’d make the trek out to Davis Square via the T (the Boston subway line). The rain was annoying, but hey, it’s not that far from the Davis station to most alums’ houses that I visit.

However, when I got there, I discovered that I’d mistaken the date, and Anna was not in fact in town, but still in Pasadena. I felt dumb, but I hung out at Rax’s house for a few hours. No harm done. A little after midnight I went to catch the last T home.

My timing, sadly, was off. The last T left about two minutes before I got there. I spent a while standing in the station and cursing. If I’d had the money, I would have taken a cab, but the three dollars in my pocket wouldn’t exactly get me very far. I realized that I would have to walk. Really, I like walking, so I wouldn’t have considered this a problem, except that 1) it was 45 degrees and raining, and 2) I had no idea how to actually get home walking from Davis.

I discovered that there was a small and poorly-detailed map in the Davis station. It had the subway lines and a few major roads. “Hmm,” I thought. “If I can get to Mass Ave, I’ll be fine. Mass Ave is south of here, near Porter Square. Elm Street appears to take me south from this station. Therefore, I will walk down Elm Street.”

I started down Elm Street. There were even enough buildings with small overhangs that I could occasionally be partially shielded from the rain. I walked down Elm for a while, and noticed…the Porter Square Shopping Center! Hooray! Suddenly I knew where I was. I walked across the parking lot and to the Porter T station, which is right next to Mass Ave. There are shorter ways from Porter to MIT than Mass Ave. I discovered one last time I got lost in Camberville going to or from an alum’s house (Note to everyone: Just because [street number, street name] exists in Somerville does not mean that it does not also exist in Cambridge, and you should be sure that the one you searched Yahoo Maps for is in the correct city before you follow Yahoo’s directions). But this time, I was more concerned with having a route that I knew would get me home correctly, even if it was a little longer.

Mass Ave. By this time, I was pretty wet. I looked at a nearby shop. The address in the window said “1810 Massachusetts Avenue.” MIT is 77 Mass Ave. “Oh, that’s depressing,” I thought, resolving not to look at any more addresses until I’d made substantial progress. I told myself that I was being silly. I would have no objections to this walk if it was warm and not raining. “I’m wearing a trenchcoat,” I told myself, “so I’m a lot drier than I could have been. And there’s no real reason that being wet should bother me, other than my brain deciding that being wet is bad! I will just enjoy the walk and not worry about the rain!”

I was pleased to be able to report that Harvard Square was still there, right where I left it last time I came on a dinner mob to Bartley’s. “Okay,” I figured, “this is a walk I’ve made before, so it should be trivial.”

Which it was. It just took a long time. Once I got to the intersection of Mass Ave and Main, there was road work, so I turned down Main. Eventually I came to building 46, where I work. I was suddenly thankful that, even though it took more than half a term, I was able to get card access to the heavily-secured building, and cut through it. After that, I cut through a few more buildings, and finally got back home, at nearly 2AM.

I think the lesson here is to be careful about how you time your travels when you’re relying on the T’s schedule. Well, the other lesson is that, even in a bad situation where it feels like you’re stuck, you can find your way out if you keep your head and use the knowledge and sense that you have.

Also, leather trenchcoats are water-resistant.

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