Sunday, May 1, 2011

Things I must begrudgingly admit I like about Boston

taken out of context I must seem so strange

Winter is ostensibly over here in Boston (although don't tell the winter coat I'm continuing to wear most days), so my homicidal winter madness has subsided temporarily. After a winter so insane that the snow had to be measured in Shaquille O'Neals, every bud, blossom, and shoot is an impossible miracle.

My skepticism about living in Boston is well documented. Very well documented. The 30 Rock episode where they go to Boston for a week in January ("Winter Madness" S04E11)--particularly the experience of native Southerner Kenneth--pretty much sums up my dominant feelings about this place.

And let's face it. I don't really fit in here. People have a hard time understanding my accent. Yesterday, when attempting to order a blueberry ale, the waiter helplessly asked me to repeat myself over and over again, asking, "Blueberry aioli?"

I never realized that my daily habits were so redneck until I moved to Cambridge. I live in an apartment complex with dozens of units, but we are the only residents who ever use the small common yard out front. I can often be found out front working on craft projects like Tanie's space shirts or assembling our many dozens of pieces of IKEA furniture in my overalls from the Fairview Tractor Supply Company. Nick and I also like to sit in our deluxe canopy camp chairs and read.

just LOOK at those rainbow glow-in-the-dark pony bead accents!!
I guess it goes without saying that this picture was not taken in Boston.

The neighbors walk by and they're all

It seems like something happens every day that makes me feel like an alien. Facebook friends of mine know all about my considerable distress about the difference in Southern and New England traditions--in my world, a white elephant exchange is not called a yankee swap and people not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day get pinched.

Even the smallest things are different. I started noticing recently that every monetary transaction I experience up here ends with the cashier informing me that I'm "all set." This is not an unusual thing to say at all, until you realize that every cashier says it every single time without fail. A quick Googlin' informed me that this is, in fact, a Boston tic.

But despite the cultural differences and the winter (oh lord, the winter), I have to admit that I'm coming around to a few things about Boston. Since I hate being such a Negative Nancy about New England all the time, I thought I should fess up to the things I've started to like.


They put fresh blueberries in it!!

from LittleBill's flickr


All the beer and shouting--it feels like home!


Glistening water and athletic rich people rowing crew--what's not to love?


Seagulls scream at you on your way to work. You can almost smell the salt air. You can drive up to New Hampshiah and eat lobsters that mere hours before had been minding their own business in the ocean.

from Ken-ichi's flickr


Boston's Little Italy. They've got the best Italian food this side of Trastevere. There is magic in the air. And garlic.

from bradunc01's flickr


It's no Bourbon Street, but there are drunk Harvardians! And Christmas lights!


There's a swank restaurant at the top of the 52 story Prudential Center. The view is astonishing.

from Basically Boston's flickr

Julia and I had a boozy lunch there last weekend.

THAT is the face of a woman enjoying her life in Boston.

And finally, my favorite thing about living in Boston is


It's good for you. It reminds you who you really are underneath it all.

Discussion Question:
Tell me about a time you've been out of context.


  1. how am i not on this list??? i am OFFENDED.

  2. hey, you got your shout out in the other post!! :P

    but yes, you are definitely one of Boston's greatest natural resources.

  3. I love this post and the tiny apartment post is going to be gold. I can't wait to post for the first time in NYC. Ryan is there already and says that the sloppiest person he has seen so far was dressed 10x better than he.

  4. I just can't wait to hear all about everything! What a big adventure for you both. And remember, I'll just be a short bus ride away!

  5. Woo hoo! Yeah, this place is OK. The boozy lunch looks awesome. Is TOP OF THE HUB one of those "rotating restaurants", or only if you drink a lot?

    What you said about really getting pinched if you're not wearing green reminds me of something different but kind of cool that I've noticed about the Northeast. It's that you're not just "white" here like you are in the South or the West. You're like, Italian or Irish or Polish or something, and it matters.

    Discussion Answer: I felt really out of context when I visited New York, like Meghan is saying for Ryan. I was dressed up by Seattle standards, wearing a plaid shirt with buttons, but the only New Yorkers I resembled were the homeless. :)

  6. James, we are overdue for some boozy times ourselves. Let's get together soon. I'm so glad you're upgrading out of that apartment! We must celebrate. We'll dress like homeless people in solidarity.

  7. PS Sadly, Top of the Hub does not rotate, but the view is so spectacular that it doesn't really matter.

  8. My sister Lynne, from UT and Austin, said I should start reading your posts! I, too, made the move from Austin to Boston (in 2003). Rest assured, the first winter is definitely the hardest, and this was an unbelievably bad one. I have come to love it in this area and happy to be here for many years, though I'm still dreaming of retiring in Austin! Come see me in Concord -- will take you to the Old North Bridge!

  9. Thanks for stopping in, Kathleen! I have business out in Concord from time to time (my company has a store there)--the next time I'm headed out that way I'll holler at you via Lynne! I'd love to have a coffee and talk Texas. :)

  10. we had SO much to learn when we relocated to the South - thank you for posting your 'likes' Katie, it gives me GREAT hope in living life "out of context" - GREAT posting!!