Escape from Cambridge

I’m from Massachusetts originally, but that didn’t mean that I had the slightest idea of where I wanted to live when I moved back to Boston after college. They don’t hand out real estate guides when you’re going to high school out in the ‘burbs, you know? So when it came time to pick a place to live, I picked Cambridge, pretty much based on the fact that I’d always enjoyed Harvard Square as a teenager.

Lordy, what a difference a few years can make.

By the time I got to Cambridge, Pacific Sunwear had eaten Wursthaus (“The vurst food in Boston!”) and the Tasty (“Except for ours!”) and was beginning to spawn an entire mini-mall all up and down JFK. Funtime was over, okay? They even killed the Bow and Arrow Pub, which I would have thought had landmark status for appearing in the only Boston-based movie to feature people with actual Boston accents.

It was okay, though. I couldn’t afford to live within a mile radius of Harvard Square anyway, so the only time I had to put up with it was when I went to buy my various youth-preserving serums at Origins. What? Shut up. I don’t just roll out of bed looking like this.

Eventually, I left and moved to Roslindale, where my people are. Roslindale features more Virgin Mary-themed lawn ornaments than any other neighborhood in Boston, I think, with the possible exception of Quincy. Our Christmas decorations rock, too. But I’ve continued to think fondly of Cambridge, the way you think about guys you’ve broken up with due to circumstance rather than trespass.

Last Sunday, though, I went to visit a friend in Porter Square and remembered why the love is gone.

There was a street fair in Harvard Square, so all of JFK, most of Memorial between JFK and Western Ave., and one lane of Mass Ave. were shut down. This made getting to Horowitz’s house in Porter nearly impossible; getting home was an epic journey.

I’ve blocked most of it out, unfortunately, but I can tell you that while I was making my third loop through the back streets between Harvard and Central, “Rescue Me” actually came on the radio, and I realized that the same creepy looking bicyclist had been riding just in front of me, ducking in and out between Harvard dorms, for about twenty minutes. He was wearing a red George Jetson biking suit, with a newspaper crammed into the rear pocket and sticking up like a tail, and his afro was kind of sticking out from underneath his helmet. He appeared to be talking to himself, but then, by that point, so was I. After awhile, I started to think he was following me on purpose, which would have been extra hard, considering that he was in front of me.

“Oh, there you are again,” I muttered. “I know what you’re up to. Don’t think I don’t. If you’re going to follow people, you probably shouldn’t wear red, jackass.”

Fortunately, Aretha drowned out my insane ramblings, so he didn’t hear me. He would have been totally within his rights to punch me in the nose.

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3 thoughts on “Escape from Cambridge

  1. Hey, has anyone noticed that the mini-mall that ate up The Tasty and The Wursthaus on JFK in Hahvid Squay-ah has now itself been eaten up by a bank!?! Are we to expect in a few years for the bank to be eaten up by a non-descript self-storage company, and even further in the future for the non-descript storage company to be swallowed up and replaced by a void!?! I weep for this microcosm of Walmartization. . .

  2. Hey, has anyone noticed that the mini-mall that ate up The Tasty and The Wursthaus on JFK in Hahvid Squay-ah has now itself been eaten up by a bank!?! Are we to expect in a few years for the bank to be eaten up by a non-descript self-storage company, and even further in the future for the non-descript storage company to be swallowed up and replaced by a void!?! I weep for this microcosm of Walmartization. . .

  3. How things change over the generations…. or maybe don’t.

    Your current neighborhood, part of Roslindale, MA from which 75% of the workers wear a uniform with brass buttons and operate a city-owned vehicle with spinning lights.

    Your great-grandparents lived in a neighborhood, part of Whiting, Indiana from which 75% of the workers wear a uniform with brass buttons and operate a city-owned vehicle with spinning lights.

    A cummulative 32 years of college in a single line of 4 generations of anticedents and we’re still telling the kid next door that he can’t throw shit in the other neighbor’s window even though his old man’s a cop, and the fireman across the street has a daughter that plays with matches on the stoop. Apparently, we take out sense of place where and whenever we go

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