I’ve been in Provi dence for what, three days now, and already it no longer surprises me to hear people talking in my voice, wearing flip-flops, drinking Cokes and sucking watermelons, spitting out the seeds. It’s nice to be home.
Yesterday I reacquainted myself with the Natmobile by driving down to Little Compton, stopping for ice cream along the way. The main road through Fall River is utterly indistinguishable from Rumford’s or Wrentham’s or, worst of all, Seekonk’s, paved with neon strip-mall flotsam, the glittery, empty promises of America’s modern age. But just off to the side lies Route 177: narrower, windier, with traffic lights like old-fashioned lampposts and signs advertising local businesses that leave off the area code. Both streets are ugly, but at least 177 has charm.