Friday, November 03, 2006

Living Up Here in Massachusetts

Earlier today I was thinking about living in Massachusetts; really, I guess, about living in the metro Boston area. Interesting, at least to me, is that while I live in Waltham I walk the dog in Newton and hang out in Watertown.

I work in Boston, down in the South End and, when I take the commuter rail, the T, from the West Newton station, I get off at the Back Bay station. My lunchtime walks take me up into and through the Boston Common, the public garden, Copley Square, over into Chinatown, and down into the edges of Roxbury.

Last week I walked over to the Berklee Performance Center, which took me past the Christian Science Church. I walked along the edge of its reflection pond and cut through the Church’s huge square.

This evening I spent some time figuring out the distance of today’s walking. I figure I walked close to six miles. And that doesn’t take into account Dixie’s evening walk.

I was able to get out of work early today and so I grabbed up the dog and made it over to Prospect Hill Park in Waltham before sundown. It was a clear, crisp, sunny day today and from my viewpoint ten miles west I had a beautiful view of Boston’s skyline.

I also visit people in Cambridge and go shopping in Harvard Square. I go to festivals in Somerville. I’ve been to flea markets in Grafton, art galleries in Marlboro; my doctor’s office is in Brookline. I shop at the malls in Natick and Burlington. I’ve put my feet in Cape Cod’s waters and hiked in the Berkshires. I’ve climbed through Purgatory Chasm, walked the Keystone Arch Bridge Trail and swam at Shelburne Falls. I’ve seen the Red Sox play at Fenway and chimed in on singing Sweet Caroline.

My job takes me all across the state. This month, November, I’ll be traveling up to Beverly, out to Pittsfield, down to Taunton, New Bedford and Brockton, and over to Fall River.

I’ve been around the Commonwealth, that’s for sure. But Massachusetts is a state that can take a lifetime to explore. One thing’s for sure, living here in the Metro Boston area, it can never be said that there’s nothing to do. There is so much art, culture and variety of activities to do that it’s impossible to be bored.

Massachusetts is a quirky place. The people up here are reserved, but friendly. They drive aggressively but, in person, are polite and considerate. They’re a little hard to initially engage in conversation but once they know you open up like people anywhere else. The accent of the folks here is charming and confounding.

When Julie and I were getting ready to go to Sarasota, one of my colleagues told me to make sure to go to Shockey’s in Venice. It‘s a bar/restaurant with a fishing pier right on the beach. So, we get to Florida and I tell our hosts that we need to make sure to go to Shockey’s. I get a quizzical look and am told there’s no such place. I explain about the pier, the beach, Venice. Ohhhh, they say: You mean Sharkey’s.

When we got back I was telling this story to another person, long time Mass. resident but originally from Buffalo. She told me that she was once driving with this same person and was told to turn on Wannah St. Wannah Street? she said. Yeah, turn there. So, she asked, how do you spell that? W-a-r-n-e-r. The joke about “Pahk the cahh in tha yahd” is not far-fetched when it comes to the folk up here.

I like it up here. Don’t know if I want to stay here forever but for right now it works. I’m still exploring the state and absorbing the New England culture. Of course, if I moved somewhere else that I liked I’d probably do much the same as I am here: explore, meet and hang out with the locals, partake in the natural wonders and seek out its culture.

It does get cold up here. Gets cold and stays cold. It gets long underwear, wool cap and heavy coat cold. Not as cold as it gets in Maine, I’m told. Yeah, to quote a local, and not as wahm as it gets in Florider, either. You know, I think I’ll know it’s time to leave if I ever staht tahkin’ like them.


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