Flanders Road, my introduction to Westborough, is littered with big warehouses and hi-tech industrial parks. Microchem. Ameridose. SYGMA Network, who not only wants to be your distributor of choice, but a partner who adds value to your restaurants. GE Osmonics Micron Separations Inc., with a name carrying the battle scars of aquisitions. Reflectance Medical, announcing in December that it “has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA for its 2nd generation product, the Mobile CareGuide™ 2100 Oximeter,” and adding cryptically that “Reflectance Medical and Sotera Wireless also announced a non-exclusive distribution agreement.”
In this land of flat, long, beige buildings Yvonne Chern, a self-esteemed “Badminton Mom,” opened Boston Badminton, an eight-court club whose sign causes a double-take in the bicyclist riding past. When Wicked Local questioned Chern as to the location, she explained, “I wanted a place to run tournaments, and in order to do that, I needed a place with at least a 30-foot ceiling.” There is also, I notice, a hospital within 2000 feet. To bring an injured badminton player to the emergency room (perhaps with a bad sprain), you would drive underneath I495. 6 or 7 cars are parked outside. It is 9 in the morning. Premier members are given a key and offered 24-hour access to the courts. I continue on down Flanders Road.
Soon I am at a Dunkin Donuts in Westborough. The woman taking my coffee order eyes me suspiciously when I ask for tap water, sighs and tells me it’ll cost me for the cup. I happily hand her my water bottle. More eyeing, and she relents, another sigh escaping, as though she can do nothing against this hooliganism, and who is this sweaty kid with long hair and a strange pack to come to my town, my work? I am prepared for this provincial defensiveness and meet her with a smile. I sit and read a little, and make an important decision not to visit the Westborough library, as I’d rather get through this town quickly. The cars outside orbit and spin in the rotary; I meet them on the way south and west, headed to Grafton.
I will not make it to Grafton. I turn at Adams Street, when I should have turned at Adams Road, a mile ahead. Is one named after Sam, the other John? I am delivered to North Street, but it is not the North Street I think I am on, which is near the other Adams. I am lost. I am at Westboro Road rather than Worcester Street. This is not so bad as Farm Street intersecting Farm Road, outside of Sherborn. There are streets here that, within a few miles, will change names as often as they change cardinal direction: Whitney becomes Eliot, Prospect, Main; Chestnut becomes Ash, Prentice, Hollis; Fiske becomes Mill, West Goulding, East Goulding. Cordaville Road becomes Southville Road in Cordaville, which then confusingly intersects with Cordaville Road, Rt. 85, from Southborough (which in turn becomes Marlborough Rd, Maple St, Bolton St, Washington St, Licoln St, Hudson Rd, and so on). I have heard apocryphal accounts of Washington Street intersecting with Washington Street among the Boston suburbs.
I wave over a bicyclist, a man tightly dressed in professional gear, perhaps in his sixties, riding a bike that is likely worth above $3,000. I am so confused in my direction that he can’t quite help me get bearings, but offers to lead me in the direction of Grafton. I find soon that I have taken somewhat of a shortcut past Grafton on my route, and am on my way.