A brilliant essay on what really matters…
So, I lived in Boston almost two decades ago and what seems like another life, but I lived there and with the exception of the Big Dig, finally, reaching completion the city hasn’t changed that much. Now downtown is based on old horse paths so it is circuitous and confusing,however, the rest of Boston is extremely easy to navigate. Bostonians also have done a much better job at naming their streets than New York (all those numbers with directions makes the whole city feel more cold and sterile than it already is). With names like Beacon and Comm Ave, the city just feels more hospitable than New York. I commuted a lot when I lived in Brookline (a couple T stops away from Downtown). There were some standard shortcuts that I had up my sleeve, but this last weekend on my way to the Mass Pike, I drove down streets that I didn’t know existed- all thanks to WAZE.
Waze is an amazing app that I use quite a bit in California to try and get around the ENDLESS traffic and it works beautifully. In Boston which is so much more densely populated I easily got around long waits on congested thoroughfares. As well, the folks who developed Waze are funny, very funny. I originally had the voice of Waze set to a boy band (the directions were sung with Justin Beiber sappiness) but as with all boy bands it just gets annoying after a while. So for our trek, we changed the voice to our former Govenator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not only will you get the directions spoken to you with his famous teutonic flair, but red light cameras and hazards are also reported.
As well, my oldest had a great time connecting with other Wazers along the way and reporting hazards, police and saying Hi to other commuters we passed using Waze. If you are going anywhere foreign or locally, you need to make the minor investment so that you can drive like a local.
Yes, Dear Reader,
we did it. Hit Boston Common (gorgeous even in the rain), walked through Beacon Hill, past the Old State Building where we were reminded of Mary Dyer (Hollywood, why haven’t you made a movie about this remarkable woman?). We walked the Freedom Trail a great walk through history (even in 50 mph gusts). Lunch in the North End (the Italian section of Boston and, yes, you will see Tony Soprano look-a-likes here) at Locale (excellent- great look and even better pizza) with a visit to the first Roman Catholic Church St. Leonard in Boston and Paul Revere’s house. On the way home, a friendly Boston Squirrel threatened to pounce leaving us to smile and then run for our lives- they can pounce, right?
Thanks Boston! Thank you for your history, your accent and your clam chowder. Thank you also for reminding us thirsty and drought-tolerant Californians what torrential rain really looks like. My 13 year old (who is still sleeping) has never walked around a city in 50 mile an hour winds and driving rain, but he will today. He doesn’t know the many aromas associated with a commuter train filled with strangers of all shapes and sizes, but he will today. Finally, he doesn’t know the mileage associated with walking from Faneuil Hall to the end of Newbury Street, but he will today. If he is still speaking to me by the end of the day, I am sure he, too, will be grateful for your glorious weather, as well, Dear Boston….
Finally, you are here. I’ve been waiting. You’ve been flirting with me too. A three-day weekend in late May was sexier than that wink from a stranger across the bar but you’ve been holding out keeping me hungry and interested. You’ve ramped up all of those last minute school assignments and volunteer “opportunities” (I think I have the word “yes” stamped across my forehead) as if to really make sure that I want out of this school routine. The schedule has been a steadily increasing stream of work, kids and volunteering so much so that my 5am Orange Theory Fitness Class seems like the most relaxing part of my day (and that isn’t right). I am ready for it to stop.
This summer will also be a departure from departures. The kids put their collective feet down and said they wanted to stay in one place (are you kidding me?) and just chill for the summer (of course, a month later they were asking about a safari in Africa) but the “stay”cation was already in place. We will be spending a great deal of time in a much, overlooked and beautifully under-populated beach between Malibu and Santa Barbara called Oxnard. Oxnard is like the old Southern California beach towns sleepy and mellow but with a great blend of cultural diversity that both Malibu and Santa Barbara miss out on because of the wealth. So, Dear Reader, prepare for the in-depth coverage of Oxnard and its wonderful beach community.
Of course, there are a few trips planned; a trip to Boston to take my oldest to summer camp and another trek around California after both kids go to camp, but other than these two departures it’s a passport-stampless summer. The first one in a long while, but perhaps that difference bodes well Winter Break (it’s the best time to go on Safari after all).