Lots of work in an unhappy place
I grew up in a big city in TX; have lived in IA, MO, spent chunks of time in MT, OR, WA, CA, and road-tripped all over the US. I moved to MA ~20 years ago for work, and lived in Boston proper for the first 3 years. I remember the feeling my first years here, that sick knot in the pit of my stomach, surrounded by the unfriendly, unpleasant, rude, angry - and at best, repressed drudges - that seemed to be all around. You can call it culture shock, but even going out to walk my dog I noticed that vagrants were kinder and more pleasant than most of the folks I passed on the street. I'd never seen such unfriendliness elsewhere in the US. If I even made eye contact with someone while out walking, they gave me a wide berth or took it as a threat, a challenge, "what are you looking at?!".
Heaven forbid I actually *smiled* at anyone. That's an indication you're a crazy person. Even if you're just having a good day, smiling to yourself, people look at you like something's wrong. Read More