At Home in the World

Gettin' it Done and Then Some

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Beacon and Commonwealth

Parts of Boston's major roads are wide and tree-lined. It is not too hard to imagine people Promenading with good posture and lifting long dresses to avoid piles of horsecrap.
According to the old reproduced maps in the Boston Public Library Cafe, Commonwealth and Beacon Avenues have been thorough-fares for hundreds of years. That they were once dusty and full of horse-and-carriages makes them feel like Boulevards now.
That just beyond Kenmore Square the buildings along Comm. and Beacon are rarely more than 10 stories high and the avenues are so wide makes it so that there is a ton of light and sky to go along with a lot of people and vehicle; The shape, light, and possibly function of the place have probably not changed a lot in the last few hundred years.
This is not comforting or quaint. It feels off.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Freakonomics

This is a book I have seen like 10 different people reading on the Silver Line under the Financial District. I happened to read a review of the book and apparently the author is this kinda rock n' roll economist who has sexy applications of economics. (I'm thinking one of them was that prostitution is good for the economy.) Anyway, this morning two people on the same bus were reading it and they noticed each other. One was this guy in his late forties, very fit, neatly dressed, and who carried himself in a way that said "im very relaxed and at ease with life and you are not." He read the book like he was judging it. The other was this guy in his mid to late twenties in a suit and sweating at the forehead. He was scowling. He held the book like he had just dropped it in the toilet. There was a bus lurch that sent some people flying and people were just done gathering and steadying themselves when the two guys saw each other holding the book. The tidy guy raised the book with a smile like he was toasting with it. The scowling guy sneered at him, looked away, and kept reading.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ipod Olympics

how many times am i going to get caught peering to see what is on people's ipods? you'd think i was looking up skirts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Financial District (Silver Line)

Suits hang wrong off guys holding mini-portfolios and/or blackberries like they are grenades. It isn't that the suit is an imposition but that the too heavy ghost of beery t-shirts and singles bars is there. They prefer to be sweating somewhere.
The gutty striver who hasn't quite mastered make-up application. Who has a barely discernible tick. Not from caffeine in porta-mug but from fear of missing something; opportunity? perceived slight? If it were the 40's she'd have 'pluck' and be better at make-up. Back then it was gams and today it is office-acceptable mid-riff or slip as outerware or just ridiculous bustlines.
We all have our own armaments.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Motorcycle Policeman (C-Line T, Morning)

At the intersection of Beacon Ave and Dean Rd there is a Policeman who, standing at the edge of a crosswalk, variously points his radar gun right into oncoming traffic, signals people across the crosswalk, and directs traffic. On his motorcycle there is always a small cup of coffee nestled between his seat and the spedometer. He is in his early fifties, has yellowing orange hair. He has a gut that there is no way he would pass any sort of policing-ability test with. He wears knee-high, black leather boots and they are always shining clean. (Does he polish them before going to bed? Or in the morning routine?) Today someone sped by and he (no more appropriate word) waddled to his bike as fast as he could but he did it in a way that was supposed to maintain dignity - Not so fast that he would look flustered or victim to his size. A purposeful "it's all gonna be ok" waddle. Getting on the motorcycle though was elegant. Smooth throw of leg over seat and right into opposite foot rest, other foot delicately onto near foot rest. The smooth lean into traffic with authoritative downward hand signal. Off into traffic, curving around cars. Lost sight of him but heard his siren go on.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Centers

On Friday, a man with a prosthetic arm got on the train. He had a hook/clasp for a hand and it was very unwieldy and dangerous to stand on the train with it rigid and swinging around. A woman gave him her seat. She started talking to him and basically was hitting on him. This made him either really nervous and/or really happy. His stop came and he hurried off. There was no phone number exchange or anything. The woman took the seat back and looked very serious. Could not even speculate what she was thinking.
Two stops later I stood to get off and bumped into a man and said sorry and then saw that his left arm was amputated near the elbow. Maybe Boston is for amputees what Portland is for the blind. Maybe there is some sort of center here.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

What Happens in Between (Morning Commute)

You are in public and talking to yourself about what you see. This is happening on a huge scale. Everybody's doing it. On the train, on the sidewalk, in their cars. Everybody talking to themselves. It can seem very quiet. Lulls in traffic make all the silent thinking louder. But it is all close to being interrupted. Share a look or speak to someone and you come out of it a little. A nice break from you in your movie and voiceover. All the eyes on the train, sidewalk, in cars look at others and at things and they look back at you. There's a lot of chatter in all that watery space between you and other things. When someone says something to you it all dries up. The mystery is gone. And more often than not it could make you pretty happy.

27 Drydock Avenue

wind and heat have been bringing salty ocean/harbor smells into Boston Marine Industrial Park. now the massive cargo ship docked across the street seems more likely to go somewhere. like the source of the smell is reminding where the ship came from and where it will go. a local business moving out of town overnight. leaving a rough outline of oily ship junk and unattached seagulls.

Sutherland Rd to Cleveland Circle

it rained last night and you smelled it this morning. but there was also a terrible smell all the way up the block, no apparent source. smells linger on sutherland because apartment buildings hall in the road and sidewalks. intersections (cross-purposed) mostly mill smells instead of channeling them. there were the glass shards probably from the wkend party where bottles were being lobbed out the window. there the blue car with the orange ticket (a fresh one replacing the 3 weathered ones). and oh, there is the source of the smell; someone has dumped a lot of very used kitty litter under an apartment window. this was not an accident. in fact it looked like a message. i wished it under the beer bottle bombardiers building.
down the hill of sutherland where you see more non-19-35 yr olds, an old woman was grabbing the air at imaginary flies. an oldish man had the unmistakeable walk of someone happily, a little defiantly going to work.
the weather is warmer now and there was a line out the door of circle dunkin donuts. two guys passed an iced drink back and forth. one said in an accent about the drink "yes, thats very nice isnt it?"

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Train Movies

If you get a window seat on the T you can look into the window reflection and stare at people. (Savvy T riders will catch you but there is still sufficient plausible deniability when you're talking about reflection staring. )Wear headphones for a soundtrack. (Without headphones you hear train sounds and people moving, coughing, ruffling the Metro. With chosen sound you control how you look. I'd like to think it's a little like when you are tipsy and feel magnanimous and prone to love. If someone looks sad or scared they are a beautiful truth instead of the unsoundtracked truth of unobviously beautiful, uncontrolled sounds. It'd be a hell of a trick to be a happy enough person to love the sound of the coughs, the jostling, the conductor shouting instructions to "move in." You'd have to be in love or sufficiently happy or full of optimism --> Words for this might be 'Distraction' or 'Lying.')
There is the right music for seeing things as they are on the train. Just beneath your chosen volume you should still be able to hear bits of people talking, the loud metal and wind sounds of the train, coughing. The chosen and unchosen sounds should go together - Neither accompanying. Both logical and beautiful. Honesty is what is in between your ears.