The past couple of months have mostly been devoted to really settling down in my new city. I hardly regard the goings on back east. I didn’t know the Marathon was today. As my friend, Andrea pointed out, most of what still ties me to my old city is its hockey team. Still, I’m feeling like I have a lot to say. I feel like there is more going on here other than the basic home-sickness that has been the topic of much of my blog.
All that aside, it was hard for me not to get defensive when a friend from Colorado said he could never live on the east coast.
“Why?” I asked.
“I don’t know, ” he said, “People there are too stressed. They’re too busy.I need someplace chill.”
I think he has mistaken stress for grit.
When you have the ocean simultaneously paying your bills and taking away your coast line, it can leave you a little salty. Boston is 1700’s old school. No one picked to that specific location. Those that arrived didn’t have a map. Having been subjected to the elements for weeks, after finally seeing land they decided the state now known as Massachusetts would just have to do. These are people who drank beer because the water wasn’t sanitary. Generations later, these people would level out three islands to build an airport because they just wanted to put it there. These are people who generations after that, shut down a whole city to find a kid who terrorized the biggest thing we look forward to every year outside of Truck Day. These are people who’s government shuts down roads during a blizzard for safety sake and still go to Dunkin Donuts because it is STILL open.
(I didn’t take this.)
I recon there is a fine line between badass and stupid. Having been removed for almost a year, I’d be lying if didn’t say that in many cases, Bostonians hover dangerously close to idiocy in their love for their town. One of the small reasons that I left is one of the big reasons why Boston is so great-
Its people are relentless in EVERYTHING.
From their behavior in traffic, to their need to reference where they’re form everywhere they go, Bostonians need everyone to feel what it’s like to be them, and for you to love them because of it.
Damn right Red Sox because Boston.
Damn right nor easters because Boston.
You’re drinking a Sam Adam’s in Arizona? Bitch please, Boston.
(John Krasinski, because Boston-DUH!) (Also not my picture.)
If you don’t like it, you’re an asshole. If you like it but not from here, you’re still an asshole. Your parents are from here but you were raised in New Jersey? Well they’re assholes for leaving and that makes you by default-you guessed it, an asshole.
Boston pride is endearingly insufferable in the same way that finding out your papa who you love dearly and have so much respect for is the most racist human being you’ve ever met and didn’t know until he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year.
(This isn’t mine either.)
I smile with clenched teeth every time someone on my Facebook feed mentions “Boston Strong.” No one cares still outside of us, you guys.
Speaking of, “Boston Strong,” I deeply loathe the term. I think if you are it, you shouldn’t have to prove it-least not with a slogan that is almost as overdone as, “PAHK THE CAH IN HAHVAHD YAHD.” (I will seriously PARK my fist on the face of the next asshole that asks me to say that. “If you’re from Boston, where is your accent?” “The same place as your fucking manners, bro!”)
But the things I love about it are the things that make Boston unique to any other place in this country, never mind the world.
(This one is mine! February 2013. Carson Beach, Dorchester, MA.)
We packed arenas of losing teams with locals watching the actual game, not tourists or college kids looking to get drunk. We put consonants in places where we know they don’t belong. Yeah, maybe we get a little surly a little easier than most other people, but we didn’t ask your opinion. We sure as hell don’t need your permission.
Being born in a hospital that no longer has a maternity ward, from a mother who is no longer alive, in a city I no longer live in, what makes me Bostonian isn’t coordinates or memories. It’s hardly my love for the Bruins or my addiction to salty air. What makes me Bostonian is the idea that knowing, and feeling, and understanding, and believing in the tread of me moving across the earth is what makes me human and what makes me who I am. It is not being afraid of my rough hands or calloused heart. It is not lying myself into thinking that everything is always California sun and Colorado chill.
It is fully accepting with every beat of my pulse, and a smile on my face, that the world is a crazy and I don’t give a fuck.