Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The bus to nowhere

Cobbs Corner is a crossroads in Canton where someone has developed the kind of forgettable collection of big box stores you usually find where people are desperate to shop somewhere close by. JBL Bus Lines runs the 716 Route with the assistance of the MBTA from Mattapan Station to Cobbs Corner. I haven't taken the bus out there, and its none of my business if anyone does, but unless you work in Cobbs Corner, I don't see much point in going.

During a recent warm spell, I took the Littlest Ninja this side of the Charles onto the open road to investigate the suburbs. I fortuitously took the same route as the 716 bus. I picked up the map and schedule at Park Street Station this afternoon and was flabbergasted by the coincidence. I know these roads as only a motorcyclist can know them and I can tell you, they were dull on the bike. The route via bus must deaden one's soul.

According to the miniature map provided at Park Street, the 716 leaves lively Mattapan Square and wends its way down Route 138 through Milton, and then takes a right at Washington Street in Canton. Then the bus passes through Canton Junction and Canton Center. I don't want to sleight our neighbors to the south. This part of town, a sleepy crossroads of small storefronts and humble entrepreneurs, was the best part of the trip.

I can't tell you what is located at Cobbs Corner. I've forgotten. Maybe a Petco and a Micheal's Crafts store, maybe a Game Stop and an Olive Garden. The buildings were there, but the businesses on offer were invisible in their static homogeneity. According to the map, this is 'The Village Mall." The real village of Canton is a mile or so back. Cobbs Corner is a mediocre oasis where delights are squeezed from a tube past its expiration date.

I turned onto High Street, travelled about a half a mile and decided I had enough. I had to get back to the city. It was nice not to be constantly stuck in traffic but, really, once you've navigated one street lined with raised ranches and vinyl-sided saltboxes, you've seen them all. It's nice country if you've got a lazy eye. I may go back to Canton Junction if I have nothing else to do. I doubt I'll ever pass through Cobbs Corner again unless it is just to pass through but there are more interesting byways than this. I enjoyed my freedom of movement along the 716 route, but freedom without excitement is a joyless pleasure. I'll take the headaches of Dorchester any day.

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