Boston. It has Cheers; it has history; it has just LOADS of universities; it has a very jetlaagged and (currently) slightly pissed me, thinking about what it is like to be in it.
It being Boston.
There. Told you I was a bit pissed.
So, Im not Actually in Boston, of course, I am in Cambridge, because though we may as a country have had enough influence over this state that they named all their counties, towns and cities over us, we didnt apparently have enough influence to suggest that just because you walk fifteen minutes, youre not in a separate city.
Still, I am. Im in Cambridge, which is lovely, and fun-filled, and pleasant, and just as full of studious-looking and wholesome and annoying students as the other one is. Today I was sitting outside a coffee shop transcribing some stuff from an interview, and the quad was full of them, all bounding with health and frisbees and direction in life, the bastards.
I mean to write more comprehensively about things, but in the meantime, just to keep them somewhere safe, some notes about Boston:
- The accent is weird. Its nice but well ok, so if youre British and youre abroad, your ear naturally picks up another British voice, whatever the British accent – youre so used to them all, you pick them naturally out of a crowd when everyone else is talking differently.
In Boston/Cammbridge/whatever this is different, because the local accent here has many of the same vowel sounds as the majority of our accents do at home, which means youre walking down the street and your ears prick up and you think OOOH! Someone from home! and then they say another word and you realise they are not. Its very odd.
- I have never EVER been in a city more polite. Ever. I was walking down the street and saw a guy on a bike bowling down the pavement toward me. I stepped aside when I reached a point at which only one of us could get through (silently tutting at the fact he was cycling on the pavement at all, though it seems to be quite the accepted thing, here) but then he screeched to a halt, smiled so very nicely at me and said Please, after you!
And thats only one example. People are, as far as Ive experienced, universally Polite and Nice and Sincere.
Does not compute. What kind of city living is this, please?
- On a downside, every different cafe and restaurant and deli has a different way of doing things and no apparent indication of how that might be done.
Do you choose your bread and carry it to a counter where you then choose your fillings before carrying it to another and then paying?
Do you sit down and wait to be served, quietly?
Do you order one bit here and one bit there and then pay for the whole lot somewhere else?
This is, Im sure youll imagine, an almost implosible state of affairs for a social-phobic type. Such fun.
- Jet lag. Bad.
Thats not about Boston, its just about me.
It makes me cry. But what doesnt?
This makes me cry in a silly way, though. More of that at another time, Im sure.
- The Irish descendancy of so many native Bostonians is so weirdly obvious its funny. The man directing the ridiculously long line at immigration when we arrived has red curls topping his ruddy face and solid frame; the actual immigration officer who interviewed me, meanwhile, only needed a tiny green hat with a buckle to make him into the comedy leprechaun he was clearly born to be.
- Its sunny, and I would like to move here please.
And yes, I know I say that about every sunny plae ever.
Its still true.
- At the subway station for Kendall (MIT) there is a giant wind chime with ten-foot chimes and hammers that sway and chime in a deep, low, sonorous tone when there is a rush of wind from an approaching or departing train pushing through the adjoining tunnel.
How nice is that?
Its very nice. Especially because it takes your mind off the fact that the trains are every howbejeesusingever.
Anyway. I will make some funnier stories, but right now just wanted to note down some things because I am overtired and a little pissed and yet cannot sleep.
But now I will try, all the same.