Guys, I’m in love. Let me tell you a little about the object of my affection: always there for me, has everything I could ever want, and we always have a good time when we’re together. But my secret crush isn’t a person—I’m entangled in a sordid affair with my home city of Boston, and I just can’t quit it.
Those who know me well know that I’m proud to be the local girl. I was born and raised in the 617, and I grew up with Boston in my blood. I know the labyrinthine city streets and dysfunctional public transit system like the back of my hand. My heart thrums to the slow and comforting beat of “Sweet Caroline”. The “r” sound in my speech is completely optional, and heck yeah, I say “wicked”.
In spite of my permanent proximity to the city, my visits there are few and far between. Parking is impossible and/or expensive, and the MBTA’s unpredictability often isn’t worth the headache. But this summer, I’m an adventurer, and even the worst transportation can’t keep me from the city I love. Once I reunited with downtown Boston after months of putting it off, I couldn’t stop. I’ve been downtown four times in the past week with no excuse but “just because”.
As a fourth-generation Bostonian, the city is full of reminders of my family’s past. When my bus broke down on Mount Auburn Street, I remember my parents groaning about the same technical problems almost 20 years ago (sorry guys, the T does not get better). I pass BU on the B line and wonder what it looked like to my grandfather, class of 1956. Walking over the Kennedy Greenway, I piece together vague childhood memories of the Big Dig and how different the place looked when my parents worked downtown in the ‘90s.
Now, it’s my turn to find what’s special to me about this city. Every time I go, it feels like there’s something new to love. There are the little details, like the bronze banana peels in the pavement at Haymarket, the ever-present construction fences in Downtown Crossing promising revitalization, the air thick with cigarette smoke and humidity and sometimes music. Mostly it’s the people—old Paisans in plastic lawn chairs in the North End, the characters who anonymously inhabit the T, even the tourists who stumble gawk-eyed through Quincy Market and Copley Square.
My city is a marriage of modernity and history. Here, the best of today is seamlessly interwoven with a proud history. And I’m not just referring to the Freedom Trail redcoat who likes to dance to 2Chainz in DTX. While change is unavoidable, there are things you can always count on. The deafening squeal of the Green Line at Boylston. The marathon in April, the 1812 overture in July, the Sox breaking hearts in September.
Boston’s strength has been at the forefront of people’s minds in recent months, but its tenacity is nothing new. This town has been tough long before “Boston Strong” entered the lexicon. We helmed the fight for liberty when the USA was still just a dream. We’ve survived molasses floods and the Curse of the Bambino. We look adversity in the face and say, “Not today, kid.”
Though my future plans may take me far away for the first time, I look forward to reuniting with Boston. No matter where I go, I’ll always come back here, and I’ll always love that dirty water.