On Being in BostonPosted: April 15, 2013
Late last August, we moved away from Boston. It was a perfect city for us. But as we got older, the yearning for space and air began to outrank the desire to be close to everything new and exciting.
Still: I have never been more proud to be a former resident of the City of Boston; and, I have never been happier with our decision to move away. The Boston Marathon was always a day of celebration through the city. The day off from work and school, the welcoming of warmer weather, a day for Boston to revel in its own brand of patriotic zeal–a uniquely Massachusetts holiday. In fact, my husband and I usually did everything we could to get out of town for the few days around the marathon. We lived right in Back Bay, so surrounding streets were blocked off. But we were around for a few of the races. Walked the dog along the outskirts of the crowds, never venturing too close to the masses though, crowds are not my thing.
This is the horrific kind of side effect of city life that I dreaded. Not the traffic, the rudeness, the expensive parking, or the lack of fresh air. Yes, I was bothered by sirens and my 2 hour commutes to work, but I could flow with those annoyances. There is no meditating away a tragedy that kills an eight year old child. It is sadness that permeates my soul 1,000 miles away. But I’m no victim.
If there is one thing I remember best about Boston as a city, it is the bite. The fierceness. The resilience. The people who will sit in two hours of traffic to move one miles to attend a Celtics game. The panhandlers who will hustle you half way down a the street to glean the quarter from your pocket. The man from the nursing home behind your building who chases you down to ask not to put your trash on that side of the alley (lest the bottle pickers wake his elderly father overnight). The January runners trudging down the middle of Beacon street because a foot of snow covers the sidewalks.
Boston and its people will be ok. They’ve got a grit and a bite unlike anyone I’ve ever met. The city is on its best behavior during unifying times like this. When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup a few years ago, there was pride spilling out of every corner of the city…including myself, someone who has never watched an entire game of ice hockey. There was mass mourning for Michael Jackson, and outrageous celebration when the Red Sox won the World Series. Without a doubt, Boston will find justice for what happened today–growing stronger, and more indomitable because of events like this that mark the city with a colorfully twisted history.