Friday, January 16, 2009

Boston 3.7.02: Heat Wave and Calls for Plastahs

Have I mentioned there’s a heat wave in Boston? 95º yesterday, and supposed to be even hotter today, with suffocating steaminess.

Steve and I had dinner last night with Roger H., in an Irish pub-cum-restaurant in Harvard Square. Nice to see him, but I feel abashed with people, taciturn, hardly able to articulate an idea. Shell-shocked. Gun-shy.

He talks of people we knew in Toronto, with whom he’s kept in touch, and I feel 1000 miles away. It’s like I knew them in some other life. They have secure, cushy jobs, tenure, good salaries; they’ve had sabbaticals. They travel; they write.

I, by contrast, seem to continue struggling just to exist—I fear, none too successfully. . . . .

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People I’ve seen in Boston: a black man on a bicycle talking wildly to himself, throwing his head (which was covered by a wool toque on a hot summer’s night) wildly about. When the light changed, he suddenly jolted into action, trying to cross against the light.

A large woman in a t-shirt too tight for her, bright yellow at that, and a cotton skirt with indeterminate hemline. She came into the pharmacy while we were there, shouting repeatedly for adhesives. The clerk couldn’t understand, so she shouted, “Plastah!” Her hair was covered with a scarf, a bright bandana, though it was a hot day. She had on huge brown hiking boots. And, oh yes: she had a long beard, grizzled and gray-brown. And her pendulous huge breasts hung to her waist.

By the subway, another woman with hair tied up and cotton skirt that also had an indeterminate hemline. This one was thin and worried-looking, but with an air of intense moral superiority. She, too, had a t-shirt, with a cross and a logo I couldn’t read. On her feet, tennis shoes and thick white socks.

As she waited for the train, she paced in an intense figure-8 pattern, weaving around the pillars, head down and oblivious to the world.

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