On the streets of a city like Boston, you run into a lot of different things. Here’s how to 1) tell if what you’ve encountered is a tourist, and 2) gently assert your dominance over and superiority to it if it is.
Because you’re a local.
Note: This guide can also, with minor modifications, be applied to other areas with touristy inclinations.
- It is taking pictures of squirrels and/or pigeons.
Don’t get involved. They may not know what squirrels and/or pigeons are capable of, but you do. Smile indulgently and keep moving. The squirrel will be angry if you muscle in on its game. Number one rule of being a local (after supporting the Red Sox and hating the Yankees: don’t anger the squirrel.
- It’s trying to take a selfie in front of a monument of historical importance.
Kindly offer to take the photo for it. Take at least three, because only jerks take fewer than three photos. With this attitude, not only will any and all tourists in the vicinity know that you are too local to document the landmarks (that you see daily, of course) but also that you know how to work a camera phone. Double whammy.
- It’s looking at a map (possibly upside down).
Ask “Can I help you?” But not like that. You know what I mean. Not in the tone that implies the full question is “Can I help you, you worthless cretin?” We’re not going for scathing. Aim for the nice school nurse- welcoming, but still patronizing.
If they ask you how to find something that you don’t know how to find, there are two options (neither of which is admitting you have no idea what they take about, obviously!)
1) Make it clear that they are looking for a place that is not adequately local. If they ask where the visitor’s center is (Boston has a visitor’s center?!), smile and tell them you’ve never had any reason to go to the visitor’s center, so you can’t help them. But maybe offer to heck on your cellphone, because not only can you work the camera, but you are also highly adept at google maps. If they’re asking for the location of something more general (like a shop or a restaurant), forcefully give other recommendations (may I suggest Falafel King or Boloco?)
2) Give them directions. “But I don’t know where it is!” you say. Don’t worry. Your local intuition will surely take control. It’s foolproof and they’ll be o the right track in just a matter of seconds. Or at the very least no longer your problem. #Boston.
- It’s wearing a Yankees hat.
Sorry, there’s no gentle way of dealing with this faux pas. Jump them.
That will teach you to respect the local culture next time, bitches!
- It’s standing in the middle of the Freedom Trail (it’s called a side WALK, people!) talking loudly and not moving.
Well, serves you right for not avoiding the Freedom trail, you moron. Make a face or even sigh exasperatedly. Then dramatically go around them. (It’s gentle because you didn’t push them which we all know is what you really want).
- It asks you about something historic.
You should be hopefully up to date on the news. So you should know why one of the panes at the Holocaust Memorial is broken and what’s going on with that. You should also hopefully know what the hell happened at the Boston Massacre site (because DUH, it was the Boston Massacre). If you have never taken a history class or have zero knowledge of current events or local news, I suggest telling an unasked for story full of local color. Like the one about the French diplomat who haunts his memorial obelisk because it’s so ugly.
- It doesn’t know how to cross the street.
This is when you must claim your rightful place. (That would be first). Let the meek tourists shelter behind you as you forge ahead, taking safety of life and limb in your hands as you enter the breach. Because as all locals know, you can’t get anywhere in Boston unless you’re willing to die for it. Volunteer as tribute. Sacrifice yourself. Be a martyr. It will take a lot less time than waiting for a tourist to cross the street.
I’ll miss you, Boston!