Tag Archives: Boston

Playlist of the Moment: Wintry Mix

A few years ago, for a friend’s birthday, I made her a mix CD where every song had “winter,” “snow,” or “cold” in the title. We’d been joking about doing a snow dance to make it snow.


As I’m sure you’ve heard, we recently got a couple of feet of snow dropped on us by the blizzard that the Weather Channel called Juno. Much like the dog it shares a name with, this Juno DEMANDED everyone’s attention. But I don’t mind- although it can sometimes be a pain, I really love snow and I’m happy that we have so much of it now.


For those of you who are not so lucky, here’s my snow dance/”wintry mix” playlist:


1. Let It Snow, Dean Martin

2. It Snowed, Meaghan Smith

3. Snowfoot Waltz, The Divers

4. In Time It Snows, Nedelle & Thom

5. Snow Like This, The Softies

6. Winter Wonderland, Tony Bennett

7. Your Winter, Sister Hazel

8. Sister Winter, Sufjan Stevens

9. Song for a Winter’s Night, Sarah McLachlan

10. Whisper in Winter, Frame the City

11. A Cold Wind Blows Through Your Door, Bill Ricchini

12. Cold, Nakia


This Is our F***ing City

I know I’m a week late on this, but I could not let the occasion of the Red Sox winning the World Series pass by without commenting on it here.

Here’s me after the Sox won in 2004 for the first time in eighty-six years:

I’d just bought the hat that day. It had dawned on me that I didn’t have a Sox hat and I wanted to be wearing one if the Sox won the World Series that night.

And I was wearing it in 2007, and again last week.

The rest of Boston sports I can take or leave (and I still kind of dislike the Patriots), but I love the Red Sox. It’s funny, but I strongly associate the Sox with me creating this blog. I distinctly remember that right around when I started this blog, I was really worried about Jon Lester, who’d just been diagnosed with cancer. Seven years later, he’s been cured, has won the World Series twice, and mostly been a pretty awesome pitcher.

I can’t believe that after such a long drought, we’ve now won three World Series in nine years. And I was thinking how all three wins followed a disappointing year- 2004 was after the disastrous Aaron Boone ALCS of 2003, 2007 was after a year where the Sox fell apart in August and September (right when I started this blog), and this year, it followed the worst year for the Sox in recent memory. Worst to first feels pretty good.

There’s been a lot written about how this championship also happened after the Marathon bombings. I’m kind of hesitant to contribute to that because while sports certainly boost people’s spirits…it’s still just sports, and doesn’t change all that happened last April. But sports do bring people together in both the best and worst of times, and with all the negative things that sports contribute to society, their power to foster togetherness is one big positive.

This is our f***ing city. Until next year, go Sox!

How to Live Through a Week of Tragedy

You can’t remember so many bad things ever happening in such a short amount of time. Information keeps coming in about the bombing at the marathon and the people who were killed and wounded. All of your friends who were at the marathon (it is not an exaggeration to say that EVERYONE in Boston knows someone who was there) are uninjured, but the stories of people who were hurt are hard to hear. You remember how when events with mass casualties happened in the past, you tried to think of who you knew who could have been hurt—on September 11th, your cousin who often flew from Boston to LA, and when the shooting in Arizona happened, your friend who lived in Tucson. You had to wait to hear if those people were okay.

Now it’s your turn. You’re the one people are trying to get in touch with to make sure you’re okay. You’re the one getting texts from your parents, sister, aunts, cousins, friend who’s on vacation, friend in Seattle, friend in DC. It’s not some distant event that you’re mildly disturbed by and think about occasionally—it’s here. It’s your city, your people.

And despite the acts of kindness that are reassuring you of the goodness of people out there, this week of tragedy keeps getting worse. Poisoned letters are sent to President Obama and a Mississippi senator. A plant explodes in Texas, killing and injuring dozens of people. The bill for background checks on guns fails in the Senate, which makes you so angry you’re afraid to talk about it for fear of saying something you’ll regret. Something else in your own world that you don’t want to talk about publicly—something not on par with everything else but still pretty awful— also happens this week.

You don’t think things could get worse…and then they do.

*             *             *

Before you go to bed Thursday night, you hear that an MIT police officer has been shot, then that he was killed. You’ve seen the photos the FBI released of the two suspects and note that there’s nothing distinctive about either of them—they could be anyone. You wonder, before you go to bed, if this shooting is related to the bombings or if it’s yet another unrelated tragedy in a terrible week.

Friday morning, when you finally drag yourself out of bed after hitting snooze several times and start to get dressed, it occurs to you to check the news and see what the latest is on the bombing suspects, so you pick up your new iPhone.

You don’t make it to the news. Your phone has blown up with text messages and voicemails almost as numerous as they were on Monday after the bombing. Dazed, you check the computer and try to make sense out of the hell that’s broken loose while you were asleep. Your office is closed. The T has shut down. Cambridge is one of several cities and towns on lockdown. You’re not supposed to leave the house.

You stumble downstairs and turn on the TV, bringing your laptop with you and trying to get yourself up to speed. They think the suspect is in Watertown, not very close to you, but who really knows? You see pictures the news crew has from around the city. Boston, on a workday when people are normally rushing around and doing their day-to-day thing, looks post-apocalyptic. This, oddly, is just as scary as anything else.

Your fright turns to impatience when you realize that it might be awhile before they catch the guy. The news starts repeating the same things they’ve already said. You go to the back porch to read the paper. You answer work emails from your customers, who all live out of state and have probably forgotten where you live. You talk to your parents, who are flying home from their vacation in Florida. You have a long chain of text messages going with three friends, and your discussion of the news coverage is interspersed with talk of guys, one friend’s cat, and the Geek Squad at Best Buy. You get annoyed when you realize that you barely have any food in the house and can’t even order takeout because businesses are all closed. You get more annoyed when you realize what a nice day it is and how great it would be for running but you’re now stuck inside because of some murderous assholes. Then you feel guilty for being so annoyed at little inconveniences when everyone you know survived the bombing unscathed and so many other people can’t say that.

Around 6:30 they hold a news conference where they tell people the lockdown is over but the suspect has not yet been apprehended. You’re still nervous but dying to get out of the house, and since the T’s running again, you and your friends start making plans for drinks and dessert. As you’re getting ready to go out, you see something happening on the TV. It’s clear now that they’ve found the guy, and you and your friends immediately postpone your plans. You keep texting each other new things that you hear. You keep on watching until finally it’s over and the suspect is captured.

On Saturday, you get up, get dressed, and head out for the plans you didn’t get to last night. You drink multiple glasses of wine at lunch and buy cupcakes from a bakery. You and your friends head into the city and see the makeshift memorial set up on Boylston Street. Several blocks are still shut down. There are some adorable therapy dogs over by the memorial that you and your friends pet. The dogs look tired—like everyone else, they’ve had a long week.

Saturday night you sleep for twelve hours straight.


*             *             *

So much goes through your mind this week. While you don’t know any victims personally, little connections keep startling you. Jeff Bauman is from your hometown and was two years behind you at your high school. Patrick Downes graduated from BC a year ahead of you, and many of your friends know him. Sean Collier lived near you, on a street your roommate walks the dog down every day. They’re jolting details, but you have to keep reminding yourself that it wouldn’t be any less tragic if it had happened to people who come from some place you’ve never heard of. You know it will be hard to remember this the next time something tragic happens somewhere that’s not here.

You try to piece together the bits of information you keep hearing about these two brothers, everything their friends and relatives say, trying to make sense of what could have led them to do this before ultimately concluding that you never will, because dropping bombs on a crowd of people at a marathon will never make any sense.

Humor is one of the only things keeping you sane. You’ve always liked The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but you usually only tune in after some kind of major current event, like to see what Jon Stewart has to say about the presidential election. But this week, watching Comedy Central is getting you through the day. And aside from every other awesome thing they do this week, their Boston tributes are especially gratifying. This clip from Colbert manages to be hilarious while also getting Boston exactly right.

[hulu id=pi5tsuwrierrkrzc3_8vyq width=512]

You feel profound gratitude for everyone who helped put an end to the manhunt that dominated Friday. You’re horrified when you think about the guy who found the suspect hiding in his boat and how scary that must have been.

You wonder how long it will be before Hollywood makes a movie out of all this.

You stop talking in the second person.

                                                    *             *             *

There are so many ways a person can use the word “love,” so I need to get across what I mean when I say I love Boston. A lot of people say they love their hometown but still roll their eyes at it, as if their love is like the love they’d have for a parent who means well but doesn’t understand them at all, like Emily on Gilmore Girls. But Boston, for me, is not Emily Gilmore—it’s Lorelai Gilmore, the mom you can’t believe you were lucky enough to be born to. Boston may have been the city I fell into because it’s so close to where I grew up, but that’s not why I stay here. I stay here because there’s no city in the world I could ever love more.

I love that it’s full of colleges and therefore full of people who are here for education, people who are intelligent, people with ambition, people who want to go on to do great things. I love that it’s so easy to get around on foot. I love the passion people have for sports teams—one of my fondest memories of college was watching the whole city erupt in happiness after the Sox won the World Series for the first time in eighty-six years. I love that people who are liberal and open-minded are the rule rather than the exception here. I love that so many big moments in American history occurred here. I love that so many funny people grew up here—Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, Conan O’Brien, Mindy Kaling, just to name a few. I love that Boston inspired movies like Good Will Hunting and The Departed. I love that we have good seafood. I love walking down Newbury Street, getting a cannoli in the North End, taking a ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands, spending an afternoon at the Museum of Science or the Aquarium or the MFA. I love that we have independent bookstores and artsy little movie theaters. I love that it’s not far from the ocean or the mountains. I love that you don’t need a car to live here. I love that we have four distinct seasons, unlike so many other parts of the country. I love that it’s such a foodie city that I feel like my list of restaurants to try will never end. I love the view as I’m going over the river on the Red Line. I love the Boston Globe. I love that the local furniture companies keep trying to outdo each other with their TV commercials. I love that our medical care is among the best in the world—I know multiple people who might not have survived some scary health issues if not for the excellent medical care they received here. I love that the people here respect each other’s space but won’t hesitate to help someone in need—a quality on display in all its glory this week.

“This is our fucking city,” Big Papi so eloquently put it at the Sox game on Saturday. And it’s MY fucking city, too. I have no desire to live anywhere but the Boston area for the rest of my life, and it’s too bad it took a week of tragedy to remind me why.

For Boston

It hasn’t really sunk in yet that the bombing all over the news and the pictures that look like a war zone are from something that happened here, in my city, at a race that many people I know were running or watching and that I’ve attended myself multiple times. My friends, as far as I know, are all unharmed, but many other people can’t say the same.

I grew up watching the Boston Marathon. Marathon Monday is always on Patriots Day, a holiday commemorating the start of the American Revolution that falls on the third Monday of April and is only celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine. (My dad, a native of Lexington, where the Revolution started, thought Patriots Day was second to Christmas when he was growing up. He wants it to be a national holiday, but this was definitely not the way we’d prefer for the rest of the country to find out about it.) It’s always during school vacation, since Massachusetts public schools get the week of Patriots Day off. In college, we always had the day off because BC is at Mile 21 of the marathon, and people would start drinking early, put on their summer clothes, and cheer on their friends who were running, many of whom were running it for BC’s Campus School. My first two years out of college, I lived just about at the top of Heartbreak Hill, and I could see the runners going by from my bedroom window. My sister ran for the Campus School a few years ago, and my parents and aunt and I went to watch her at the finish line.

I tell you all this just to get across that everyone in the Boston area has some kind of association with the Boston Marathon—these are just mine. It’s a huge part of living here. Every Bostonian who wasn’t on the marathon route today knew someone who was. It’s not only a state holiday but it’s a day that’s supposed to be fun, joyous, and full of personal triumph, and a day we share with runners and their families from around the world.

I can’t begin to imagine the horror that the victims and their families are going through right now or how awful it must have been to be there when the explosions happened. And I think it might actually be worse for Bostonians who aren’t in Boston right now—like I said, it’s school vacation week, so a lot of people are on vacation, including my parents.

Bostonians can sometimes get a bad rap, for reasons that are somewhat deserved—we’re reserved and unfriendly, our sports fans are obnoxious, we put lawn chairs in parking spaces after snowstorms and then fight over them. But the silver lining of tragedies like this one is that they bring out the best in people, and I am really heartened by the stories I’ve heard about people rushing to help at the scene, running right from the finish line to donate blood, and offering housing to runners who, due to the crime scene being sorted out, no longer have a place to stay. (They’re now saying they have enough blood donations, but that it would help to have more donors in coming weeks, so consider doing that!)

Right now, we don’t know who did this or why. We do know that the response was swift and that, as President Obama said today, “Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people.”

I’ve never lived anywhere but the Boston area and I never will. I have so much love for this city—and despite our reputation, today proved that there’s also plenty of love inthis city.

Pray for the victims and for the city, everyone.

Boston by Katie

Over MLK weekend, I traveled out to San Francisco for my friend Jenna’s wedding to a great guy she’s been with for ten years. I met Jenna back in first grade, and I freaked out a bit when I realized that was TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO. My friendship with Jenna is as old as a college graduate! Anyway, the wedding was lovely, and it was great to see Jenna and her family. I didn’t know many people there besides Jenna and her parents and sister, but everyone I met was awesome!

I only had a couple of days in San Francisco, a city I’d only been to once before (on my first business trip, when I was twenty-three, had spent the entirety of the previous year in Massachusetts, and so completely broke that I was over the moon at the idea of my company paying me to travel). Jenna and her new husband Mike had put up a Google Map with all their favorite places in SF on their wedding website, so I used that as my guide when figuring out what to do!

Also, I found the flower shop from The Room (or what it used to be- now it’s a coffee shop) and took a picture. I HAVE NO SHAME.

Anyway, that combined with conversations with some people at the wedding about their own visits to Boston got me thinking- if I were giving people ideas for what to do on a visit to Boston, what would they be? When I went to New York over Memorial Day weekend last year, I used this post from Nugs for ideas on what to do. Here’s my post on what to do when you’re a tourist in Boston!

Touristy Stuff
Public Garden and Boston Common: Two parks across the street from each other, both lovely. The Public Garden has the Make Way for Ducklings statues as well as the Swan Boats when the weather permits. Boston Common has athletic fields and Frog Pond, which is good for skating in winter or wading in summer.

Freedom Trail: For all the history buffs. It starts at Boston Common and takes you through historical sites like the Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, the burying ground with John Hancock’s phallic-symbol tombstone, and the Bunker Hill Monument, which is a great exercise in stair-climbing.

Museum of Science: For all the science buffs. There’s always some cool exhibit here- I saw one last year on Pompeii- and there’s also the Omni Theater and the Planetarium, plus all the regular exhibits.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace: Faneuil Hall is a historical marketplace and meeting hall, and the area surrounding it is full of stores, restaurants, bars, and street performers.

Cheers Bar: I actually never watched Cheers and I’ve only been here once, but people seem to love going here! Just make sure you’re going to the real Bull and Finch pub on Beacon St. rather than the knockoff bar in Faneuil Hall.

Newbury St.: You have to at least walk down Newbury St., even if you don’t buy anything. It’s so lovely and old-Boston. And although many of the stores are too expensive for the likes of me, there are some cheaper ones, too.

Fenway Park: Hopefully you can go to a game, but if not, see if you can take a tour. I love this park.

The North End
The North End is the Italian neighborhood of Boston, full of restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops. I’m actually not that crazy about Italian food and therefore not the best person to ask about which restaurants to go to, but I have developed some favorites.

Fiore: I tend to forget the names of nice restaurants I go to in the North End, but this one I remember solely because of the awesome roof deck. If it’s summer, go up there at least for a drink!

Pizzeria Regina: Best pizza in Boston, in my opinion. It’s a franchise now, but the original restaurant is in the North End- go there!

Mike’s Pastry/Bova Bakery: Mike’s Pastries is very popular, with good reason. You always see people walking around with cannolis in Mike’s Pastry boxes tied with string. However, because it’s so popular, the lines can get a little nuts, so if you don’t want to wait, head one block over to Bova Bakery, which is just as good.

Abe and Louie’s: If you want something on the fancier side, this is my favorite steakhouse in Boston. Definitely not cheap, though.

Legal Harborside: There are a lot of Legal Sea Foods restaurants around, and they’re all good, but this one, which is fairly new, is my favorite. It overlooks Boston Harbor and if it takes you a long time to get a table (which it will, if you don’t have a reservation), go up to the top deck and order a drink and sushi while you watch the boats.

Paris Creperie: It’s not exactly an authentic French creperie, but even so, I love this place. Aside from great crepes, their Nutella hot chocolate and frozen hot chocolate are orgasmic.

Fire and Ice: This is a cool concept for a restaurant. You put as much raw meat and vegetables as you’d like into a bowl, select the sauce you’d like, and then give it to the cook in the center of the room, who throws it onto a big Mongolian grill and cooks it right in front of you. It’s a lot of fun!

Anna’s Taqueria: Cheap, cheap, cheap Mexican food. I’m a big fan, although my West Coast friends don’t seem impressed by it.

Grendel’s Den: Speaking of cheap, from 5-7:30 on weeknights, this restaurant in Harvard Square has food at half-price if you order a drink!

KO Pies: This Australian food hole-in-the-wall is right down the street from my office. Yeah, I know, Australian food? But this place has amazing meat pies, chicken schnitzel burgers, potato wedges, and Lamingtons.


Drink: This is such a cool bar. While you can order your standard wine and beer, there’s no menu–rather, you have a conversation with the bartender so that they’ll mix you something you’d like. “Let’s have a conversation about your alcoholic needs!” It looks kind of like a science lab, with long tables, and the bartenders will grind up ingredients or squeeze the juice out of fruit.

Scholars: This is a fairly new bar that has a little bit of everything- great beer list, great cocktail list, dancing, pool tables, private rooms. Also, it’s HUGE- I can’t stand bars that are cramped.

Common Ground: Most of the time, this place isn’t quite so special. But Friday night is “My So-Called 90s Night,” and dancing to all this nostalgic music is so much fun I don’t even care what I drink.

Pretty Things

Boston Harbor Islands: If it’s summer, take a boat out here. They’re beautiful and a lot of people forget about them.

Arnold Arboretum: This is in Jamaica Plain, but you forget you’re still in the city when you’re here. Great for hiking or just sitting by yourself.

Other Good Things to Know

As much as I complain about the T, you should take it in Boston. Cabs are more expensive here than in any other city I’ve visited. Don’t take the cab unless you’re taking an early flight or are at a bar until later than 1:00 AM.

For some reason, a lot of people from out of town mispronounce “Copley” as in “Copley Square.” The first syllable is “cop,” not “cope.”

If you like seafood, you should eat it. Actually, even if you’re not crazy about seafood, you should eat it in Boston. I’m convinced that you can’t get good seafood outside of New England.

We really do say “wicked.”

Dear Weather,

STOP IT. It is January 7th, and there is NO WAY that it should be as warm as it is today.

I WANT SNOW! This is Boston in January, and that is far from too much to ask. How is it that last year, when I was training for the half-marathon, we got something like six and a half feet of snow but this year there is not one flake of snow on the ground? The only snow we’ve gotten was over Halloween weekend, which was enough to knock out power lines all over New England but not enough to stick.

I am dying to go skiing on real snow. I want to see how lovely the bike path near my house looks when the trees on it are covered in white. I want to walk around at night as snow falls on very still, quiet streets that have not yet been disturbed by snowplows and sanders. I want to see how beautiful the snow looks when it hasn’t been marred by dirt and footprints. I want to flop down and make a snow angel. I want to go skating at Frog Pond (something I say I’ll do every year and never manage to do) surrounded by snow in the Common. I want to have an excuse to stay in sweats all day and read an entire novel with a big cup of hot chocolate. I want a season where it’s better to stay in than to go out and to hang inside with friends, watching movies or playing board games. I want to see for myself how cute Juno is when outside in the snow (Yaaeey! The ground is all weird! I’m a dog!).

See, I love the seasons. It’s why I never, ever want to live anywhere where it’s warm all year long. Excuse my cliched descriptions, but I love the flowers and blossoms coming out in the spring, and I love spring rain. I love reading outside, going to the beach, and walking around in flip flops and skirts in the summer. I love autumn leaves, the change to a more comfortable temperature, apples, pumpkins.

And yes, I love winter, too, for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned. Sadly, winter is currently MIA. I don’t know if it’s global warming or La Nina or what, but in any case…you better get your act together, weather. Or else I’ll…well, sadly, there’s not too much that a human can threaten the weather with. But if there was, I totally would.

Way too warmly yours,


In Defense of Boston

I did many things over Columbus Day weekend this year—celebrated Erin’s birthday and played with her adorable new kitten, got some sushi with Julie, ran the half marathon, ate pizza with my roommate, watched Mean Girls and Legally Blonde on TV, ate a pumpkin muffin, and spent all day Monday and Sunday afternoon and evening lounging around the house recovering. Unfortunately, one thing I did not do was meet Jen Friel.

One of the many websites I’ve discovered through 20-something bloggers is Talk Nerdy To Me Lover, run by the incomparable Jen Friel. This girl has fascinated me since I started reading TNTML. She’s a study in contradictions: a gorgeous girl who has built her online following around her nerdiness, a girl who is smart enough to finish high school at age sixteen but chose not to go to college, a former professional model and actress who would rather be the one running the show, a girl from a well-off Connecticut family who spent a year couch surfing and living out of her car in the name of following her website dreams. But I’m also fascinated by her willingness to be open and put herself out there. She calls herself a “lifecaster” rather than a blogger, and she does not hold anything back in telling her audience about her life. She protects certain people’s identities and doesn’t write about certain things for business or legal reasons, but other than that, her life is right there, out in the open.

Those of you in New England who have Comcast cable (like me!) can find Jen under your On Demand options, too. She explains how here!

One other cool thing about Jen is that she does her best to meet new people wherever she goes. When she was in Boston in September to film her show, she didn’t have such a good time, and she explains why here, here, and here.

So when she was back in Boston over Columbus Day weekend, I shot her a note hoping that we could meet up, and it made it onto her blog! But unfortunately, the timing never worked out between Erin’s birthday, Jen’s filming schedule, and me having to recover from the half-marathon. I am happy to say, though, that despite one asshole at Trader Joe’s, she had a much better experience this time around. I’m just sorry I couldn’t be a part of it.

Her experience in Boston got me thinking, though. Is it really harder to pick up guys in bars here than it is elsewhere? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was. On my ill-fated night in New York, I was in a bar for about fifteen minutes, and I was surprised at how many people talked to me. In Boston, though, I barely know anyone who got a relationship or even a hookup by meeting someone at a bar. One time, Julie and I were at The Burren when the bartender told us that two guys at the other end of the bar wanted to buy us refills on our drinks. We accepted, and I think waved at them from across the bar, and…nothing. They didn’t even come over to say hi!

So, yes, having had zero luck at finding a boyfriend here, I would say that Boston is not the place to go to find a date. However, I kind of do take exception to her characterization of Boston as a cold, unfriendly city, although Jen’s certainly not the first person to say so.

This is the thing—I think what people mistake for unfriendliness in Bostonians is really just a desire to give people their privacy and space. It’s a mentality that’s the complete opposite of that of a lifecaster who shares anything and everything about herself with the world. I’ve never been to LA, where Jen lives, but from everything I’ve heard, it’s much different there. It’s full of people in the entertainment industry, so I would not be surprised to learn that people there reveal more about themselves and try to connect with more people that they meet.

But in Boston, I don’t assume that people want to talk to me; I assume that they don’t. I want to meet people at parties, at work, at events, but when I’m riding the T, walking down the street, or eating in a restaurant, I just want to get off the T/get to where I’m going/eat my lunch. If I saw someone sitting alone in a bar, I’d assume that she was either waiting for her friends or wanted to be alone and undisturbed—because I know that if I were in a bar alone, that’s what I would want.

I don’t think it’s a friendliness/unfriendliness thing as much as extroversion/introversion. Boston is an introverted city. People here don’t dislike each other; they just draw energy from themselves more than they do from others. Of course there are people who are rude and inconsiderate, but don’t those people exist in every city?

I obviously can’t speak for all Bostonians, but I can tell you from my personal opinion that when dealing with strangers in public, I try to think of how I would want people to act toward me. If I were sitting in that seat on the T, I would want someone getting on the train to find a seat other than the one right next to me so that I would be more comfortable. If I were alone in a restaurant, I would want to be left alone.

But sometimes it’s not so easy. The golden rule isn’t foolproof—not everyone wants others to do unto them the way you would have others do unto you. As Sars has discussed at Tomato Nation, what if you see someone crying in public? What should you do then?

I remember one incident that happened almost a year ago—the Friday before Halloween last year. I was taking the T home, and a girl got on and sat down across from me. I couldn’t tell whether she was wearing a costume or not. She was in her twenties and pretty, with chin-length blonde hair that stuck out a bit on the sides. She was wearing black fishnets, tall black boots, a short skirt, and a red top along with a lot of makeup. It was something a goth teenager might wear, but on her it looked out of place. If it was a costume, though, I couldn’t tell what it was. She was staring at the floor as tears filled her eyes.

What had happened? Had she been rejected by someone she liked? Was a family member dead or dying? Had she gone to a party and felt unwelcome there? Had she fought with her friends?

I’d cried on public transportation before, and I remembered just hoping desperately that no one would notice and giving a quick, “Yeah,” to the one person who asked me if I was okay. I was grateful then to live in Boston. To me, the lack of response felt much more respectful.

But this girl wasn’t me. What if she was sitting there becoming more depressed by the thought that no one noticed her tears? What if she was new to the city and taking this as a sign that everyone here was unfriendly and cruel? What if this wasn’t just a momentary sadness and she was considering suicide?

I leaned forward and said, “Are you all right?” The corners of her mouth turned up a little bit and she said softly, “Yeah, I’m okay.” She didn’t say anything else until we got to Central Square, where she got up and said, “Thank you,” to me with that same small smile as she got off the train.

I think there’s a time and a place for being open and friendly, but there’s also a time and a place for keeping to yourself and giving those around you their privacy. Bostonians tend to value the latter more, but that doesn’t mean we’re not nice people. I remember one time a woman started to feel sick on the T, and everyone was giving up their seats, asking her how she was, walking with her once she got off the train.

I know I’m a bit biased, having lived in this area my whole life, but if I didn’t love it so much, I would have left by now. There’s an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie walks out on a guy after he says he doesn’t like New York, saying, “If Louis was right and you only get one great love, then New York might just be mine…and I can’t have nobody talkin’ shit about my boyfriend.”

Substitute Boston for New York, and that’s exactly how I feel.

A Moving Story

On Labor Day, I was sitting on Boston Common reading, and I was getting a little claustrophobic. There were people everywhere. Whenever I got up, I felt like I was going to trip over people.

Labor Day is a mystifyingly popular weekend for tourists to visit Boston. Personally, I can’t think of a worse time to visit our fair city. There are something like fifty colleges in or right around Boston, and over Labor Day weekend, the students at all of them are moving their shower caddies and extra-long twin sheet sets into their dorm rooms. Not to mention all the twenty- and thirty-somethings who are just switching to new apartments with 9/1 move-in dates.

I challenge you to find one twenty-something who has lived in one place for the duration of his or her twenties. I’m certainly no exception. I turned twenty just before my junior year of college, when I lived on campus in a four-person apartment. Over the summer I moved home, and senior year I lived in a different, six-person apartment. The following summer, I worked an on-campus job and lived in a different dorm room. Then I moved home for a month, after which I moved into my first apartment. After two years there, I moved to Davis Square. And at the end of July, I moved again, still in the Davis area.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to blog about this. Maybe because even after nearly two months, I’m not completely settled in yet. I still need a bookshelf, a dining room table, to get a few small boxes into my room, to give away some of the books I didn’t want, and to get rid of the boxspring that’s sitting in the dining room. Oh, yeah, did I mention? My new bedroom is up a flight of stairs, and I should have realized beforehand that my boxspring wouldn’t fit up those stairs. So I ended up having to sleep on just my mattress for a month, then figure out a time when Ikea could deliver a platform bed, then figure out a time when my dad could help me put it together.

Here’s the thing: even though I’ve moved twelve times, including in and out of dorm rooms, since I turned eighteen, I absolutely suck at moving. I can never figure out the most efficient way to pack. I always end up with random objects that don’t fit anywhere. I underestimate the amount of packing space I need, largely due to the hundreds of books I own (and my refusal to buy an e-Reader). If I’m using a moving van, I never get everything packed in time. If I’m using a car, it ends up so full that things fall out when I open the doors.

Is this a skill you can get better at? I like my new apartment, but I’m definitely not going to live here for the rest of my life. Am I always going to be moving-deficient, or is it possible that things could go better next time? (Actually, it would be hard for things not to go better—when I moved, due to sheer bad luck, it was literally the hottest day of the year.)

In the meantime, I love my new apartment. I’ve got a nice, quiet bedroom, Comcast cable with a DVR, a nice porch out back for reading the Globe on weekends, a very cool new roommate, and this lovely lady greeting me every day when I come home:

Yep, my new roommate has a dog! Juno is a three-year-old black furball (probably with a lot of flat-coated retriever in her) who loves everybody in the world almost as much as she loves attention. I love to pet cute dogs. She’s a cute dog who loves to be petted. It works out great.

My Summer To-Do List

Note: I will be posting soon about Jon and Steph’s beautiful wedding and all the fun I had out in Las Vegas, but the cable for my digital camera has gone MIA, so it will have to wait until I find it…grrr.

Anyway, I was just talking with people last night about how summer weekends fill up so quickly. During the rest of the year, sometimes we struggle to come up with plans, but summer weekends are so precious that we claim them for various activities right away. In July, I already have two different parties and my cousin’s wedding on three separate weekends.

But that hasn’t stopped me from creating a list of goals for things I want to do this summer. Despite having lived in the Boston area for my entire life, there are lots of fun things I haven’t taken advantage of here.

So here’s my list. Friends, if you’d like to join me on any of these adventures, please let me know! I’d love to have some company:

-Go to the beach (of course- who doesn’t want to do that in the summer?)

-Have a picnic

-Fly a kite (which I haven’t done since I was kid)

Canobie Lake Park (haven’t been there since high school)

-Take a boat out to the Boston Harbor Islands

-Castle Island to get some food at Sullivan’s (last time I tried to go there I was bitten by a dog…hoping for better luck this time!)

-Solo trip to NY (okay, don’t join me on that one)

-Trip to Portland, Maine

-Day trip to Rockport, MA (the commuter rail goes right there!)

Arnold Arboretum, which I hear is beautiful

-Franklin Park Zoo (already have plans to go there in a couple of weeks!)

-Museum of Science

-New England Aquarium

-Isabella Stuart Gardner museum

-Walk the Emerald Necklace

-Duck Tour

Bar Etiquette May Be an Oxymoron, But…

…I’d still like your thoughts on this one.

So last weekend, Julie and I went out to The Phoenix Landing. I’d never been there, and it turned out to be a pretty cool bar.

But there was one little incident there that I’d like to share with you.

Apparently, my tag was sticking out of my shirt, and another girl there seemed to have a problem with this. So instead of telling me that my tag was sticking out, she stuck the tag back in for me.

Now, it’s quite possible that this makes me a freak, but, perhaps because I’m insanely ticklish, I do not like being touched unexpectedly, especially by strangers. So, when I realized that some strange girl was sticking her fingers down the back of my shirt, I jumped and quickly moved away from her.

The girl appeared to be extremely offended that I wasn’t thrilled to have her take it upon herself to fix my tag. She started explaining to Julie what she’d been trying to do. Not quite sure why—I was well aware of what she was doing, I just apparently didn’t appreciate it as much as she thought I should.

And it didn’t end there. Later that night, when I was in the bathroom, as I exited the stall, I heard the girl talking to her friends. Apparently oblivious to the fact that I was standing behind her, she was saying, “So there was this girl, and her tag was sticking out, and I tucked it back in, and the girl, like, moved away from me.” She sounded disproportionately upset, and her friend was offering up the explanation that sometimes girls get territorial when they’re drunk (incidentally, those were two adjectives that didn’t describe me at all that night).

And closer to the end of the night, when I was in the bathroom again, I could see someone sticking her fingers into the door like she was trying to open it.

“Um, someone’s in here,” I said.

“Yeah,” came the girl’s voice. “I don’t have a problem with the girl in the purple shirt.” (Guess what color my shirt was.) “I’ll get you before you leave,” she said.

Well, she didn’t “get” me, whatever that meant, but there you have it. Who’s the crazy one here: me, or the girl who thought that I should be thrilled to have her make sure my shirt tag was where it was supposed to be?