Living in a city is like being in a relationship with a person that your friends “don’t get” who will cheat on you with your sister, steal your identity, and burn a hole in your grandmother’s heirloom dresser while giving you the most amazing, spine busting sex you’ve ever had in your life. That’s why it’s so hard to break up with a city and even harder to hate on the city that you live in, no matter how many times it lies right to your face or borrows money it will never pay back. Because much like the same way a relationship leaves its indelible marks or proud scars, cities give us invisible medals, the equivalent of a Girl Scout survival badge, or the veteran’s Purple Heart. Those in search of the easy prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box, need not apply; Mayberry, Sleepy Hollow, and the state of Montana are waiting for you.
The key to surviving any city is understanding its vibe. Every city has its own jet stream of energy, burrowing through its grid and tunnels, carving out its own atmospheric Grand Canyon. D.C. is self-importance cloaked in subterfuge, a cradle of American history, it is thrumming with the engines of progress and corruption. Chicago is comfortably unrefined; it is the rough around the edges, lovably scruffy college buddy who lets himself in to crash on your couch and cook you breakfast of Perogis and sausage in the morning. L.A. is an asteroid that crashed to earth transplanting its alien species, an invertible revolving door to the biggest sideshow in America outfitted in Armani suits, blue tooth technology, and shackled to trendy travel mugs filled with lattes or vodka. Take note ladies, L.A. is not the marrying kind. And then there’s Boston.
Boston is my hometown and its vibe may be summed up in two words: pissed. off. It is the beer drinking, habitually unemployed uncle who stands on the front porch on December Sundays in his boxer shorts and tank top, loudly belching and scratching himself, rooting around in the college fridge for a can of Coors or a bottle of Cobra. Its geography is designed to confuse and divert, laid out from the ruts of seventeenth-century cow paths, and maintained just as frequently:
Ya, aaarrr roads probably won’t get ya ta where ya goin. Some of ’em just end arrr dump ya out in the rivah and ya know what? Fuck you! Thats what ya get fa tawking on yar cell phone er planning yar vacation on the Vineyaaaahd instead of watching where the frick yar goin! Christ!
Its glittering skyline and enticing waterways beckon, come to Boston, stay, drink with us. Drink with us for 5 hours each night because the bars and clubs close by 1 a.m. and the MTA or T stops running at midnight. The only city in America where your curfew is determined by a thousand year-old train system:
Ya, so what? Arrr bahhhs and clubs close at a decent hour, whats the problem? If you wanted to stay out all night with ya friends and buddies ya should do so the way the good Lawwd intended: with ya 40 onces or 12 pack of Millah gettin shitty in ya friend’s parents’ basement in Mefawwwwd, savin yar sick for the next day in the bahthroom at I-Hop on route 1. Ya don’t realize how good you even got it; we used ta drink caahhh coolant. We didn’t need no dance club arrr sportz baahh. You know what we did for a sportz bahh? We drank whatever was in our parents’ licka cabinets and shot bee-bees at each other in the back lot, Christ!
That millenial train system, older than Ebola and twice as foul, is like Boston’s built in caller-ID, screening people who aren’t cut out to handle the rest of the town. Just listening to it lumbering down the tracks, screeching like a virgin offered up on the volcano’s edge, stinking of hot funk, barely outpacing the fatted rats running along side its murky tunnels is enough to send those with lesser sack fleeing for Miami or Sante Fe:
Ya, arrr T is frickin OLD, so what? Yar lucky to have somethin to get yar to yer parole hearin, Christ. I mean, in my day we had ricshawwrs. My friends and I used to earn beeah money by pullin the ricshawwrs around from Mauuuldin through Bahhston and ova down ta Glauuuuustah. Yar..in the snow…with no shoes arr feet even. Yar true stowrry, my friend Dominick Santori was born without feet and his family was poor so he usually just wore Schlitz boxes on his stumps. Yar, I mean, compared to those days, the T is like some frickin limo ride arr some’in. Christ.
Boston is ornery, but people continue to come here and build lives and careers and plant roots in its cranky blocks. I think people (myself included) respect the kind of city that tells it like it is, that isn’t afraid to say “yes, those pants DO make your ass look fat.” There is something refreshingly honest and liberating about a place so unapologetic: it’s going to take you out, get you drunk, get you laid, leave you in an alley with your clothes on backwards and a new tattoo on your ass, and call you Friday night to see if you want to go out again. It turns us into crazy co-dependents; sure, we might break up with you one day, but that doesn’t mean we won’t heed your booty call:
The Chahhhhles is dirty, yar..so what?! When I was a kid growin up in Bright’in we drank gravel. That’s right. We drank gravel and pissed concrete and were grateful to have a dumpstah to play in, well those families that were ya know, well-off had dumpstahhs, the rest of us had a cahhhd board box that we pinched from some guy’s dumpstah. Those were good times. *Sniff* Frickin good times. Pass me a Millah, would ya? Christ.