This last week was an odd one in many ways due to the freak Nor'easter we had the Saturday before. Our home lost power Sunday morning right after breakfast and as would become evident, some of my employer's facilities were also hit.
I got a call on my cellphone Monday letting me know that my office in Billerica was without power and corporate HQ, also in Billerica was in the dark too. I went to the R & D campus in Bedford where they have "flex work" areas. These are essentially just a desk with a nice big monitor, a keyboard and mouse that you can plug your laptop into. Phone works through the PC, so it was really easy. I kind of liked it. It was quiet and I got a lot of work done.
I had only ever been to the Bedford campus for meetings and so forth and so had never really explored the surroundings as I would any routine workplace. The first day, I decided to go to McDonald's for lunch since I knew that there was one within, I thought, walking distance. It turns out it was "within walking distance" if I ate while walking back. This was fine: Two McDoubles and a Dr. Pepper, all off of the Dollar menu. It satisfied both hunger and the eternal desire to pinch pennies.
The next day I brought lunch and ate it at my "flex work" area and so had a full hour to explore. I went out the back parking area and came onto a road which contained facilities much like the one I had left--pharmaceutical makers, biotech outfits and companies that make things that help out the first two. Within about a mile, I came to a bike path. It was a brilliant Fall day, crisp, with a bright if weak feeling sun. The path itself was unnervingly straight and seemed to recede to a geometric point someplace off in infinity. The path was littered with colorful leaves, though there were still an abundance on the trees which lined the path.
Even though the path cut through heavily wooded terrain, one could still see homes and industrial buildings through the foliage. I was about 40 minutes into my walk and starting to become concerned that a hoped for break in the path would not come in time for me to be back within the hour. Before panic set-in, I noticed that the buildings I was passing seemed familiar. I was walking right by the campus I had left from! Great! Except that there was a 10 foot high fence topped by barbed wire between the path and the campus. I could climb such a fence if I thought it was really necessary but I was a long way from feeling the need for such extreme measures. Just as I was musing about climbing and wondering how far the path would go before crossing a road again, I noticed a gate.
The gate clearly had a lock on it, but it was only 10 feet off of the path, so where is the harm in trying it? It was truly locked, but what is this? Next to the lock appeared a sensor pad that looked just like the ones at the entrances to all of our buildings. I didn't want to get my hopes up though: Your badge only gets you through doors you are authorized to open. I tried it though and the gate swung easily open. I was now about 20 minutes early but I had a fine walk.
I am not from New England and even though I have lived here for close to 20 years, it still seems alien in many ways. This little thing--the gate opening for me, joins the ranks of lots of other little things; which together have made this place seem more like home. If not quite actual home, yet.