Drivers in Boston are just like Miami drivers, only ugly.
Within a few -- I'm talking several -- minutes of entering Boston, I was cut off, flipped off, edged out, and yelled at as I tried to make my way to Constitution Marina from the otherworldly tunnel that spit me out into this racket.
Boston drivers should be corralled into a remote valley somewhere in the central United States and be forced to drive cattle instead of cars. With any luck, they would be trampled in a stampede and we would be rid of their amped-up aggro Thunderdome road rage once and for all.
Such were my musings as I crossed the harbor towards Charlestown and my friend's sailboat, in which I would reside for the next three days.
Despite its awful (awful, awful) drivers, I fell in love immediately and fully with Boston. Waking up on the water every day helped this love affair bloom significantly.
My friend's sailboat is docked year-round in Constitution Marina, and is a work in progress as she continues to restore it. After a practical tour and hours of wine and chatting on the deck, she showed me how to close the hatch, then left me to enjoy her floating home.
Her boat's micro-interior was mostly gutted, which she'd warned me about before I arrived. An extension cord and water hose coming from the dock supplied the utilities, and, if you didn't want to make the 8-minute walk to the marina's well-appointed bathrooms, relief could be found in a plastic construction bucket conveniently located, well, wherever you put it.
I sat on the couch/bed and beamed at my good fortune. Small spaces are ideal for the lazy and solution-oriented, and I happily set to organizing my luggage an arm's reach away on the opposite bench.
I fell asleep with the hatch open, swaying with the gentle wake and watching the sky turn deeper shades of eggplant. (Note I didn't say aubergine, as I don't want this blog to come across as siddity. Let me know if that's the case here.)
The sun woke me up early the next day, shining hotly on my face and burning through the cool air. I poked up through the hatch like a sleepy prairie dog, taking in the cars speeding along Bunker Hill bridge and the few boats getting slow starts to their mornings on the water.
I crossed the bridge on foot, head and body still swaying as my equilibrium remained water-bound, and soon found myself walking through the Common towards the handsome Central Library, Gulping in the greenery of the park, I mentally bookmarked every spot worth stopping to sit and read. There were many.
A Children's Museum entertainer and her giant bubbles in Boston Common.
The Common is an amiable place, a public space that enjoys being enjoyed. I felt like a child on the first day of kindergarten, eager to become its friend.
The Boston Central Library, however, commands the respect and humility every impressive temple of books should. If parks are your first-day-of-school friends, libraries are the stern teachers who soften when you demonstrate the obedient respect of a willing and apt student.
As I quietly walked through the library's soaring halls, it relaxed, smiled, and sent me to the tucked away Koussevitzky Room, a tiny chamber in a dark corner of the building, full of glass-encased marionettes. What an odd and unexpected treat -- like seeing a funky sock pattern emerge at the ankle of a well-heeled man in a business suit.
A beaded dress from ancient Egypt. Shit yeah, I'd wear that.
I say uncharacteristically, because my interests gravitate towards what's on the canvas. I have a hard time relating to three-dimensional works of art, regardless of the era. But that day I felt my mind bend a bit, and I lingered to look at the primitive jewelry, rough shapes gleaming in the nowhere of history with their owners long-dead and purpose (wear) permanently changed (stare).
In the contemporary wing.
And that's one of the many things I will always love about art: it's a reflectionless mirror reminding us that there is no end to knowing or surprising ourselves. It makes our brains change.
You can just hear his brain getting new wrinkles! Wait, that's my Sauconys.
The sun began to set and my first day in Boston was coming to an end. Funny how sunset used to signify my day just getting started, but now I spend my nights alone. Something about traveling and being out of your social element -- bars and restaurants almost immediately lose their appeal, and just become a series of dollar signs. Besides, I know what Scotch tastes like.
Limping on my still-wonky foot past Paul Revere's house on the way back to the Marina, I stopped in an Italian restaurant for dinner and was pleased to find octopus on the menu.
I enjoy eating octopus and do so every chance I get. This is in part due to my belief that the best meals consist of at least five animals from at least two elemental realms (land, sea, air), and also due to my belief that if I eat enough octopi I will gain their knowledge and become all-powerful, as they, too, shall inevitably become.
My dream is to eat the smartest octopus in all the world. Or, better still, all of the smartest octopi, starting with the most intelligent, then working my way down to those possessing middling intelligence (for an octopus). And there I shall stop, so as not to sully my newly enhanced superbrain.
This methodical thinking was not present when i attempted to do yoga after my first night on dry land, after spending the rest of my days and nights in Boston on the boat with my swollen foot elevated and my ankle hissing invectives. Still under the spell of brain sway, I started with a basic sun salutation. Lift leg. Swoon. Fall over. Repeat. I will call this pose The Sea Leg.
One day, I will be smarter than an octopus. One day.