Home. (apologies for being maudlin)

19May08

boston skyline.

All of last week was me twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Boston.

I further immersed myself in the CUC choir on Monday evening.

On Tuesday, Michael joined me in the city for Nicole A.’s fiance’s birthday party at Cowgirl, in the West Village.

On Wednesday, I joined Wendy for  BlogHer event at T.J. Maxx (found a pretty spring dress!), and my day was pretty much made when I saw Chris March of Project Runway coming out of Filene’s Basement (I stared like an idiot until he had completely receded into the distance).

And on Thursday, Michael and I happened upon a Greek restaurant in Bloomfield, and ended up going there for Date Night.

But that entire time, I was really just waiting for Friday, when I would board a bus up to Boston by myself, and stay with Christina and Erika in Beacon Hill.

My trip began inauspiciously. I left my condo a frenzied mess at 11 a.m., was deposited at the Park n’ Ride by my mother, and rode the bus into NYC, where I took the subway down to Canal Street and power walked with my suitcase for more blocks than I expected in the increasingly pouring rain to catch the Fung Wah bus by 1 p.m. I made it on the bus thank god (many didn’t, as Fung Wah had overbooked) and then ended up sitting in traffic for the next 6 1/2 hours before finally arriving in South Station. Christina met me there, and I swear I had never been so happy to see her. She was joined by her gf Erika, whom I was meeting for the first time, and who I think may actually be the sweetest person I have ever met. Ever.

symphony rd. Christina’s apartment was only a few blocks away from the one she shared with Aaron back in our Emerson days. The expansive uncluttered-ness of it made we want to burn down my condo (or at the very least, clean it), and the lovely, pulled together shabby chicness of it was a sort of idyll. I don’t mind at all when we decide to make it a low-key evening, picking up random foodstuff from Whole Foods and watching Jeopardy and Barefoot Contessa before passing out.

The next day, after a lovely breakfast of Whole Foods angel food cake (my god, surprisingly divine) with strawberries and blackberries, we began shopping in earnest.

Newbury Street was the first stop, of course. The strip had figured largely in my college days, as I had lived only a couple blocks away, around the corner from Symphony Hall. I had purchased my first Boston outfit from the Urban Outfitters at the corner of Newbury and Mass. Ave., and promptly racked up my first mass of credit card debt soon afterward. I had also written adult content for a shady startup web developer there, and I still look for the building every time I’m in the neighborhood.

boston buildings

Walking the street now, I’m amazed by the fact that I was ever able to afford anything there. Even putting aside shops such as Armani and Burberry, all the pretty boutiques we entered in order to look for pretty dresses featured astronomical prices. Still, I was excited when we finally found the Fairy Shop, where I used to shop for fairy dust and such, and where Christina once bought me a gorgeous pair of moonstone earrings. The bubble machine was still going out on the sidewalk, and the same friendly proprietor was still sitting behind the register. I was retardedly excited to find a sterling silver necklace with the words “Not all who wander are lost,” on it. The phrase, by Tolkien, used to take up space on my purple messenger bag, via a button from Newbury Comics (how cool did I think I was?). The line still resonates with me, so I couldn’t help myself. Chatting with the shop owner about the forthcoming Hobbit movie made me wish I could be a regular again.

We wore ourselves out, stopping in at Anthropologie, Trident, Newbury Comics, etc., before finally walking back along Charles Street, with a stop in at Black Ink (lord, that store is all sorts of fun). We all took mid-afternoon naps before heading out to Cambridge for dinner at Dali, a fabulous tapas restaurant that we had, unfortunately, never known about during our college days (those were the days of Vinnie Testa’s, Legal Sea Foods, and P.F. Chang’s). We ordered nine plates between the three of us, and I thought I was going to die by the end. I was also far too excited by the confetti’d straws in the glasses of sangria. But really? Any drink would be way more exciting if there was a confetti’d straw involved.

t station.

When Sunday arrived, I couldn’t believe that it was already just about time to head back home. I should’ve stayed for a week. Or for the rest of my life.

back alley

Christina and I woke ourselves up with a walk to the North End, which is a charming-as-hell Italian neighborhood I had always wished I’d taken more advantage of when living in Boston. I had never before been there in the a.m. hours, and the quiet sleepiness of it was pleasant. We went wild at Modern Pastry (cannolis, cookies, pizzelles, hazelnut wafers) before heading back to Beacon Hill.

We ended my trip with a brunch in Cambridge, which one of Christina’s co-workers was throwing as a welcoming party for her new greyhound, Gracie. We were treated to quite the spread (bacon, quiche, mimosas, fruit, etc.), in addition to little dog stickers that we all wore on our shirts, and it made me think that it would be fabulous to start hosting brunches myself.

God, at the very least it would give me an excuse to clean.

I was so sad to leave. Being back in Boston — on what felt like the loveliest trip I’d taken since graduating — made me think of the parallel life I could have been living had I not moved back to NJ…a life informed by the writing workshops, the Lorrie Moore excerpts, the Tim O’Brien readings, the Jill Sobule concerts, the desire to end up in Glimmer Train or BUST and live in a city that was small and charming and walkable.

Ending up as a marketing associate for an academic book publisher…a proofreader for a daily newspaper…a blogger for a web magazine…these are things I hadn’t imagined for myself back then.

I’m happy with a lot of things in my life now, but I miss wanting those other things. I’m sad that I forgot wanting them.

But at the risk of making us all nauseous: Not all who wander are lost.

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2 Responses to “Home. (apologies for being maudlin)”

  1. wow, those pictures are awesome. boston looks beautiful and clean.

    this is your job? Ending up as a marketing associate for an academic book publisher…a proofreader for a daily newspaper…a blogger for a web magazine…these are things I hadn’t imagined for myself back then.

    i will trade with you right now!

  2. haha! I’m no longer with the academic press. I left there to freelance full time, and still do publicity work for them. I have to admit, I’m happier with my career than I’ve ever been before, but it’s definitely still a work in progress.

    And p.s. We’re always looking for more proofreaders!


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