My first day of work I learned, somewhat unexpectedly, that my decidedly non-travel-prone office was sending me to Rhode Island for an entire week for my second week on the job.  After a week living in a hotel, I can tell you I am glad this will not happen often because business travel is not all it’s cracked up to be.  You would think that cushy hotel beds and free HBO and dinners out in restaurants would be refreshing, but it turns out that wearing variations of the same pants-blouse-sweater combo for a week and overeating at overpriced restaurants with oversalty food will leave you craving cereal and jeans and other normal comforts of home.

Nonetheless, I learned some things during my week in Rhode Island:

1. Rhode Island has its own accent.  It is most obvious in the pronunciation of the word “fairly,” which is said “fally.”  It took me two full days of meetings to figure out what the hell the presenter was saying when he kept saying that things were “fally common” or “fally difficult” or “fally straightforward.”

2. Providence’s mayor, despite his stints in jail and ridiculous (and very famous) toupee, is a beloved figure, and the start of his new radio show will be the top number one news story in Rhode Island for an entire week.

3. Rhode Island is small enough that no one feels obligated to give proper directions, and instead relies entirely on ridiculous statements like “you’ll see a street on your left which is right next to a garden center and is marked by a lamppost which dates from the Revolutionary War period and is rumored to be where John Brown’s body lies.  Don’t take that.  Go a little further and take the one on your right.”  Or “ten paces after the rosebush you’ll see a lovely house that has been in the same family for seven generations.  It’s beautiful and a great example of Rhode Island architecture, and it’s right near where you turn” without any further details like street name, direction in which you’re supposed to turn, etc.  Or, my personal favorite, “look out for the Benny’s Burger stand on your left, and take the turn right after it,” except Benny’s Burger stand closed FIVE YEARS AGO, but luckily the cab driver remembered it from the old days and was able to make the turn anyway.

These peculiarities aside, Rhode Island was a lovely place.  I’m just glad to be home, where I know that if I ask for directions, I’m likely to get a street name and some accurate left and right turns.

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