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Thursday, I was working from home, so my Jewish friend and I decided to go on an adventure (to put off working and being at home).  We racked our brains for something fun, inexpensive, and (as we seem to have adopted a true Rhode Island mentality when it comes to travel), not too far away.  We settled on the beach, specifically, the RISD beach at their farm campus in Barrington, RI.  Why RISD needs a farm campus is beyond me, I suppose the artists can draw inspiration from the sea– like I’ve always tried to do, or, as my Jewish friend put it “you spend $42,000 per year for school, you get perks”.

I left Fargo to come to Rhode Island one week before my brother left Fargo to go to Minneapolis.  I spoke to him on the phone shortly thereafter and he expressed how wonderful it was that my father had lent him his GPS (Global Positioning System, but everyone knows that)  It was so much easier to navigate a city he had visited dozens of times with this wonderful device barking out directions every 1000 feet.  Upon hearing this, I called my parents and explained to them exactly why it was ridiculous that my brother had a GPS to help him navigate a city that is a perfect grid, while I’m struggling with a part of the country that is designed like a broken wheel of cowpaths. 

Honestly, I didn’t want a GPS.  I was unemployed when I got here, and for the next seven weeks as well, so I had lots of time to get lost and figure my way around.  Now I impress people with my ability to navigate this ridiculous place, and even people who grew up here get lost all the time. 

A few months after my light-hearted chastising, my mother told me that she got a good deal on a GPS and she was sending it to me (I don’t know why all of my complaining about not having a camera didn’t stick– I’m still trying). So now I have this ridiculously expensive thing, which is named Susan, that I’d love to sell, but that really does come in handy at times (though using it makes me feel like such a weiner).

In Barrington, neither of us knew where the RISD farm campus was.  We drove around, took in the adorable quaintness of New England, saw lots of water all around us, but could not find the beach.

“We could ask Susan.” I finally said. “She can pull up a list of attractions for each city.”

Susan let us down and did not have our beach on her list of attractions, so we called someone to have him find the address online.  He looked, and looked, and finally after ten minutes or so gave us something.

My Jewish friend shut her phone and looked at me “He really has poor researching skills.”

“Sounded like, that took forever.”

“Well, it’s a bit tricky to find, but man, he’s just not good at finding things.  He apologized though, and said that I must be very frustrated with him, which I kind of was.”

There’s a city in Rhode Island called Woonsocket that I’ve been intrigued by since before I moved here. Initially it was because it sounds Dr. Seussian, now it’s because people are telling me not to go there. My landlady works there, as does her boyfriend, and I mentioned to both of them (at different times) that I had never been. Both scoffed identically and said, “there’s really no reason to go to Woonsocket unless you have to.”

Then, at job #2, boss lady mentioned she had had to go to Woonsocket recently. A co-worker asked “Did you drive fast your car?” This intrigued me, so I probably made an interrogative noise like “bah?” I was told that Woonsocket has a large French-Canadian population who talk funny– kind of Dr. Seussian.

Of course this heightened the intrigue.

Every time I say to someone “I’ve never been to Woonsocket.” They say something along the lines of “Don’t go.” Now it seems forbidden, and the brat in me wants to make a special trip there just to spite people. “Yeah, I spent a day in Woonsocket– and it was amazing!” Then there’s the other side of me that worries, maybe Woonsocket really is not worth visiting, and if I do go, I’ll end up hating it as much as I hate Warwick (man, I hate Warwick). Is it better to keep it magical in my head, or to just get over it?

Addendum:

After doing some web-based research, I found that there is another Woonsocket in America. It’s in South Dakota, and named after the Woonsocket in Rhode Island (cause, seriously) so I grew up about 6.5 hours from Woonsocket and never even knew it! Oh man. It seems that all the signs are saying I must go, but I’m so torn.