There’s no city on earth I have a more complicated relationship with than Boston. I have no idea what made me originally want to live there. I also have no idea why Boston College was the only school I applied to there, in a city known extensively for its collegiate population. But from some point in high school, I found myself pulled there by a force out of my control, eventually found my way to grad school on the other side of the (very small) state at UMass, made several very close friends who now live in Boston, and consider it one of my four home base cities.
I feel at home there, even though I’ve never actually lived there. And yet, as much as I love Boston and the
state commonwealth of Massachusetts, sometimes I just hate them. I’ve had some really rough times there. I’ve had my heart broken by men and by companies during this job search, not to mention their football team which gets my blood boiling like few other teams on earth. But despite all that, I keep coming back for more. As soon as I step off the bus or train in South Station, I feel a happiness come over me – happiness that, for sure, comes from seeing some of my best friends, but also just by being in the city. It feels different from New York and DC, smaller and more manageable, and reminds me of Pittsburgh in ways that I’ve never quite been able to articulate. It’s just a feeling in my gut, and when I heard the news of the Boston Marathon yesterday afternoon, my gut felt nauseous. I felt like someone had attacked a city of mine, even though I’m not there, I’ve never lived there, and I probably won’t visit again until the summertime. But I felt compelled to write down all of the things I loved about this city that sometimes simultaneously drives me crazy.
Patriot’s Day. I used to make fun of the made-up holiday, as I called it, despite also being incredibly excited about a random day off school for two years in mid-April. It’s perfect timing, just as the weather is getting great, and I had always regretted not going to Boston for the marathon day during my time there. It always sounded like so much fun, and I hope it is again next year, and for many years after that.
The Freedom Trail. A red line printed in the sidewalks of Boston that guides you past its historical sites. So simple, yet so brilliant.
“Paul Revere-ing the fuck out of the walk home.” A line said by one of my friends during a late-night walk home from the bars following the Freedom Trail across the Charlestown Bridge. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s become an inside joke often repeated when we’re walking home from…
Goody Glover’s. It’s a completely nondescript bar in the North End, but it’s one of the first you come to after you cross the bridge from Charlestown, and after a few epic nights there, it’s become a must-do anytime I go to Boston. I think I’m currently at .500 with GG’s, but for awhile, the bar was winning handily. I think part of my dislike of Boston is that I often get really bad hangovers when I’m there, and GG’s is fully responsible for that.
The sports passion. I hate the teams. Haaaaaaaaate. So much that when I saw this lovely sports section from the Chicago Tribune, I thought, “well…. I’m not a Patriot. That’s taking it a bit far.” But I love their passion. I love that I can always argue sports with a Bostonian. Fenway is kind of a dump, but it’s still amazing to see a game there. Gillette Stadium and the TD Garden are fantastic venues. Boston is the only city I’ve encountered to rival Pittsburgh’s sports intensity, and so it makes total sense that the fans hate each other so much.
Gay marriage. Massachusetts did it early, and they’re probably laughing at the rest of the country trying to catch up.
The Zakim Bridge. You can see this bridge from the window of my friend’s apartment in Charlestown, and I love it.
Legal Seafood Harborside. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, there is nothing better than brunch with friends, drinking many glasses of wine, overlooking the water.
The Beanpot. Every year, Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, and Northeastern play a hockey tournament. I’ve never actually gone, but I love that it exists.
The Town. The Departed. Ally McBeal. Cheers.
The ridiculous way you pronounce things. I mean, it should either be spelled Wooster or pronounced Wor-chest-er, but the way you refuse to do what makes sense it is endearing.
Boston is just Boston, and there is nowhere else like it. I’m so thankful that my friends are unharmed, and I’m praying for those injured and those who lost loved ones. I hope they find the bastards that did this. And I hope next year’s Marathon is just as much a celebration as it’s always been.
I love you, Boston. Even when I hate you.