Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back in Boston

Boston looks different in the morning than it does in the day. By day, I can't help but associate Boston with the belly of a beast, mostly because, by day, I ride the subway, which smells like blown-out tires and hot exhaust and dirty feet and old newspapers. But this morning, I saw Boston at daybreak when I went for a jog at the Commons. And it was an entirely different scene.

There's a long hidden stretch of pavement that runs along Commonwealth that's shaded by old, long-fingered trees and tall apartment buildings. Bronze statues of women I've studied for years but thought no one knew about interrupt the sidewalk. Lucy Stone. Phillis Wheatley. People pour out of tiny apartments with big dogs on leashes. German shepherds, fat labradors, unnamable English-looking showdogs that probably cost more than my car. How do they all fit inside, I wonder? Then there are the impertinent little creatures -- Jack Russells, Rat Terriers with bellies larger than their little legs, Wirehairs with perfectly straight earpoints and leather collars, walked by women wearing 3-inch high heels at 6 o'clock in the morning.

There's no way I could ever fit in here, were I to momentarily go insane and move to New England. This has a little to do with the fact that I'm a hick and a little more to do with my complete lack of urban fashion sense. My Coldwater Creek sweater and so-five-years-ago wedges make me look dowdy around the women who shop on Newbury street, where they apparently develop some superhero ability to pair breezy pale colored skirts with floral vintage-but-not-bargain-basement collared button-downs. Their long bare legs seem impervious to the weather, which is a steamy 50 degrees in the middle of June. I wear a hooded jacket and scowl at them as I clunk down the street but it doesn't make me feel any less out of place.