Ordinary Boston

I am not one to let news tragedies affect me and certainly not the ridiculous media coverage that accompanies them, but the Boston Marathon bombing really jarred me. I’ve never felt such hopelessness in humanity. I cried on and off the whole day. What you are about to read is a re-post from almost a year ago about my first experience with traveling out of the south as an adult. It’s about the city of Boston as a place that holds special importance to me. It is a place where I conquered multiple fears at once, where I ejected myself from my comfort zone, and where I took risks. It is just such a stunning place, and in light of recent events, I just want to share this piece again. Thanks for reading. 

Boston Copley

The Stoop

I attempt frugality. As well, I pride myself in my research abilities (most of the time). So, when looking for a place to stay in Boston, I luckily found a steal of a crash pad. The place my friend Ellen and I stayed was The Copley House in the Back Bay area of Boston. After my friend in the area convinced me that it was in a safe area and conveniently located in the center of the attractions, I eagerly made a booking.

Instead of a full-blown generic hotel, each room they offered was an individual and unique apartment. After checking in to the main office on Newton St., we drove to our unit around the corner on a different street. Key in hand, we pulled up and grabbed our bags out of the bed of the truck. As I used my key to turn the old rim dead bolt, I felt like I was in a movie scene yet again. You know, the one where I am a successful full-time writer entering her humble city dwelling.

I almost feel like I am cheating readers by making such a lackluster claim, but the apartment we shacked up in was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I am so glad we did not opt for a cookie cutter corporate hotel. Not only would we have spent a fortune, leaving us little money for gorging Lobster and drowning ourselves in Irish car bombs, but the whole experience would have been completely different; think way less traditional character and a lot more generic plastic key card.

We had the maximum amount of privacy. Hell, we barely even ran into any other guests staying in our building. We were tourists who didn’t have to look like tourists (at least until we spoke), and after a day of settling in we started to actually feel like we blended in. Before we knew it, we were eating clam “chowda” and drinking our pre-dinner cocktails at the tiny wooden dinner table by the window of our apartment that overlooked the street.

I particularly enjoyed morning coffee compliments of Dunkin’ Donuts (careful, they are hard to find if you don’t walk more than a foot). I’d enjoy my joe on The Stoop where I could take in the air and watch the Bostonians pass by and ignore me. I imagined what it would be like to be one of them. I assumed by the way most of them walked with such purpose and disconnect to anything other than their own path, that they grew up there. They went to school there and found their people there. City veterans, all of them. The Stoop was where I found excitement in their mundane.

I watched them briskly zip by in suits or saunter along walking their dogs, all while paying no attention to anything other than the gaps hiding in the brick sidewalk. At first, the detached demeanor of the people in the city had me disgruntled. For example, after a man bumped in to me in an old clothing boutique, I reflexively exclaimed, “Oh, I am so sorry!” as if it was my fault. Silence. I was invisible. This sort of thing just doesn’t occur in the South.

Like I said, at first this disconnect was unnerving, but the more I became immersed in the crowd, the flow of the city, and the collective feel of Boston, I began to enjoy their way. No one cares what you are doing, where you are walking, how you are walking, what you are wearing, or why you are even there. Judgement seems to disappear. Everyone is dedicated to their own world and possesses no interest in invading another’s as a respect. It was a refreshing change from the over friendly, intrusive way of Southerners. The scope of the existing cultural polarity had really hit me, and it was just what I so desperately needed. It was more than lack of obligatory small talk. It was full opposition.

I could ramble on and on about the beautiful architecture of the old buildings and the rich historical scenery of Boston. Relishing in our field seats at Fenway Park was also well worth putting in to words. I could even elaborate on how wonderful the harbor is in person or the overwhelming beauty of viewing such a vast city from atop the Prudential Center, but I won’t. I wont, because sitting on that stoop at ground level with all of ordinary Boston surrounding me was, for me, more breath-taking than all of the main attractions. Just like the perfect air, I couldn’t inhale enough of ordinary Boston.

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About becca3416

Becca Cord is a twenty-something year old southern ballerina turned humor writer and video editor. Having lived in Louisiana her entire life, she is now perusing her travel dreams while starting her own free-lance Web Marketing business and organizing a nation wide blogging event, Blogger Interactive. She believes one of her callings is making people laugh, and she intends to do so. You can find Becca on her personal blog, Facebook page, or Twitter @becca25tofly.

Posted on April 17, 2013, in Adventures, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I looked up ‘Irish Car Bomb’ and I can’t believe that anyone could possibly drink such a thing. Plus it was invented in Connecticut. What a strange world.

  2. I think renting an apartment type place is far more fun than being based in one hotel. Firstly you’re not confined to set meal times, and secondly it gives you greater scope for eating out.

    And thank you for sharing an ordinary memory of a place that needs to remember its ordinaryness at a time of horror. Xxx

  3. Beautiful share, Becca.

  4. Boston is one of my favorite cities. This reminds me of why. I cried when I heard of the tragedy, too.

  5. This post seems just the right way to react to an act of terror… to remember the place without great drama.

  6. Ha, I think this is one of the first posts of yours I ever read. Love it. And it’s even better now than it was then. How weird would it be if I was one of the people zipping by?

  7. Great take on a super cool city! Hope you make it back soon.

  8. I absolutely loved this. You have a gift, my dear. This is my favorite kinda stuff of yours to read. It’s just like Anthony Bordaine, minus the food part. ;)

  9. Your commentary captured me and delivered me right to your door. Friendliness is good, but it can change to a distinct lack of respect for privacy very quickly. I would love to go there. It’s one of many places on my list of places.

  10. My company is located in Boston, and I’ve been out there a few times. While it’s not a place I’d ever live, I love visiting it! There’s a certain “who cares” attitude about Bostonians that I absolutely love. The Copley House sounds amazing!

  11. It is a rare ability to be able to immerse yourself in a culture different than your own and come to understand it without judgment. You are the Margaret Mead of New England.

  12. That Copley house sounds amazing. I’d love to try it, but, unfortunately, I already live just a few miles away from it :)

  13. Reblogged this on Little Blue Suitcase and commented:
    A native Southerner shares her memories of visiting Boston, describing what I most miss about my beloved city:

    “No one cares what you are doing, where you are walking, how you are walking, what you are wearing, or why you are even there. Judgement seems to disappear. Everyone is dedicated to their own world and possesses no interest in invading another’s as a respect. It was a refreshing change from the over friendly, intrusive way of Southerners.”

  14. You described Boston’s atmosphere perfectly. I’m from the Boston area, but live in the Midwest now. I appreciate the friendliness of people here, but I miss the way Bostonians mind their own damn business. :) And you’re right, Bostonians ignore you more out of respect for your space; they’re not trying to be mean. Thanks for sharing your memories of Boston!

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