I've been back in Boston for about a month and I've loved being back. While I no longer consider it my "home," I can't help but appreciate the small differences that make Boston unique and wholly different than Dallas-Fort Worth. What is really interesting is how I have changed to adapt to Dallas living and how that makes me a bit of stranger in Boston. Let me explain.
Transporting the masses
I have to admit that I am a bit of a mass transit snob. Having lived in Boston and Chicago, two places were mass transit works well (most of the time), I have come to expect a certain level of efficiency, timeliness, and speed from my mass transit. DFW mass transit meets none of these standards. Sure, the buses are on a schedule, but if you miss one, you have to wait close to an hour for the next one. On top of that, the train system only seems to cover downtown Dallas and some of the near neighborhoods. I can take a train from south of Boston all the way through and north of the city on one fare. To do something similar in Dallas it requires transferring train systems and taking buses. There are other issues with DFW mass transit, such as the underlying racism behind why certain DFW Metroplex cities and towns refuse to connect to mass transit, that I won't go into here, but suffice to say, if a person can't get in to and out of a major city efficiently using mass transit, I don't think of the place as a city.
Gentleman, Start your engines
Obviously you need a car to travel around DFW. That is a given and I commend DFW for having multiple highway systems that allow fast, fairly easy and non-jammed (except 365) travel around the Metroplex. This is an area where Boston is lacking. The streets are narrow, especially downtown, there always seems to be construction happening, and I forgot how rude drivers can be. I know Boston was originally designed as a "walking city" meaning you could walk from one end to the other with ease, but as it grew, it never seemed to adopt the idea of becoming drive-able. As far as construction goes, it's gotten better, but I'm pretty sure the "Big Dig" project has been going on my entire life and I'm not certain I'll outlive it...! I think driving in TX has made me more timid. I've read too many stories about road rage incidents turned violent because of weapon carrying laws in TX to really mess with other drivers on the road. When I drive in Boston, I get honked at a lot, presumably because I'm not turning fast enough, or pulling away off from a green light quick enough for the guy behind me. Sorry (I'm not sorry).
These are small things, but I find that they create major change in me and the way I view things around me. One of my TX buddies joked with me that once I've lived in TX for five consecutive years, I'm officially Texan. It's been four years since I moved, and maybe he's right. I find myself missing certain Texan comforts, like 24-hr drive thru, cheap gas, and inexpensive bar tabs. Still, I love Boston and will always relish being a Carpetbagger.