Living in Boston was my first venture out on my own. I’d graduated from college in Worcester, MA and after a stint in the ski slopes of France for a few months (for a whole different post, people) I moved in with my college roommate.
First of all, living on your own for the first time rocks. No curfew. No rules.
Also, living on your own for the first time does not always include furniture. Or 3 square meals a day. Well, I take that back. Ramen noodles are square straight out of the package.
There was a lot I learned back then in Boston.
1. Furniture does, indeed, make a house a home:
In my room I had a bed. Well, a mattress on the floor. That counts though. My curtains were a tapestry from a store that sold things like Doc Martens and “tobacco” pipes. (Yeah, I also had the Doc Martens…but NOT the “tobacco” pipe…swear). My dresser drawers were boxes stacked on top of each other. Very art deco type stylish, I know. By the end of my first year I had managed to scrape enough together to buy a couple of pieces of unfinished furniture. A dresser and a desk. I was thinking it looked rustic. It actually looked, well, unfinished. Now a wife, mom and homeowner, we have moved one step up and have Ikea furniture. It actually looks, well, unfinished.
2. What you cook will affect the neighbors:
The first place we lived we were on the 4th floor of a building with no elevator. Walking up the stairs was like going through It’s A Small World of Smells. I am not sure what people were cooking in there, but my mouth and eyes would be watering by the time I’d make it up to our place. Not in a good way. I would then add to the hallway smells with my own delicious…ramen noodles. Seriously, you think I had money for spices?? Mmm. Chicken and Mushrooms. Still makes my mouth water. I was reminded of the “It’s a Small World of Smells” when one day Mahlie walked into the kitchen and scrunched up her face, “what’s that SMELL??” I hadn’t been cooking. “Oh my gosh, it’s like garlic and onions!!” (did I mention she is 3??)…”I’m gettin’ out of here!” and she ran from the room.
3. Professional exterminators have their job for a reason:
We had PLENTY. OF. CRITTERS. in our first apartment in Boston on Commonwealth Ave. We were right off the T line and I swear mice loved our stop. It was probably the It’s A Small World of Smells that drew them in. My roommate thought it would be a good idea to get a glue trap. Let me tell you, unless you have 3 guys living next door that will respond to your frantic screams within seconds and take care of things with the heel of a shoe, do not get a glue trap.
4. Take advantage of your surroundings:
Boston is a beautiful city with plenty to do. Rollerblading along the Charles River, listening to the Boston Pops at the Hatch Shell, stolling down Newbury Street to get a new pair of Doc Marten boots (yep, I was in that kind of angst stage), going to Grendell’s in Harvard Square during The Head of the Charles and of course, going to Fenway to see the Red Sox play and see the Green Monster in person. And if you are reading this and you do not know what the Green Monster is, you need to google it, sorry. Of course, being on a budget, we tended to hit the local establishments aka the dive bars with nice “pity the poor girls” bartenders and questionable clientele that included a mascot that would run across the bar every now and again (Wait, that’s the bar I go to now). And of course the Boston Marathon. I went every year. We made it into a bar crawl (of coure, of COURSE we did) and usually made our way to the finish line around the time the 14,000 person was crossing the finish line. I think one year we did see the male winner…that was pretty cool. I hope people still do that….
Now I live back in DC and I’ve never been in the Capitol building, never been up in the Washington Monument and have never been in the Supreme Court. For shame!
5. Support local music:
Oh, the days of being a groupie! My roommate and I used to follow a couple bands such as Chucklehead, Machinery Hall (I was like a “bandaid” from Almost Famous except I looked nothing like Kate Hudson, I never overdosed, and I never even came close to scoring with any member of the band) and Powerman 5000. Powerman 5000 was a serious heavy metal band which was completely not my type of music. However, the bass player was my friend Adam that lived in the apartment below us and we felt obligated to go on occasion. The frequently played at the Rathskellar (which I frequently was not allowed to enter because in order to deal with the crowd I needed to have a few “pre-game” drinks, and some nights I may have overcompensated) and the mosh pit there was fierce. I would come away injured most nights. I was a pretty girly mosh-pitter (is that even a word?). Powerman 5000 got a bit of notoriety when they appeared on 90210 as a featured band at the Peach Pit. Hmmm. Adam didn’t even tell us about it because he was so embarrassed. He was a good guy, Adam. Then he came to visit me when his band was playing in DC and he ruined one of my best skillets and burnt a spatula. He could play bass, but he nearly burnt down my kitchen.
6. Wicked is good:
Or bad. Who knows. They use it a lot in Boston. “I’m wicked sick”, “That’s wicked cool”, “I am wicked wasted”. Yeah. That was a fav. I still use it. “3M is wicked.” Nope, I didn’t forget to end my sentence…
6. Take a moment to thank a firefighter, EMT, or police officer.As most my friends know, I’ve always had a thing to the fire fighting profession. I had a tour of a fire house for my birthday one year- got to wear a coat, hat and sit in the drivers seat of a hook and ladder. Best. 30th. Birthday. Ever.
Seriously, my thing for firefighting is not your typical “I love firefighters because they are hot” type thing (but that is part of the thing), I just really love the old firehouses that they still have in Boston, the old brick buildings with real charachter. And so did the actual fire fighters. There is a reason they make so many shows about fire fighters. I used to love to hang out at the fire house near our apartment. Yeah, I hung out there. Usually on Friday or Saturday night, late, on my way home. I thought I was being all cute and funny- they were probably all saying, “oh god, here comes the local drunk girl again, hide the donuts”. But if they DID say that to themselves, they never said it to me. Which is too bad for them because I probably would have stopped going to visit if they did (hey, that must have meant that they DID think I was cute and funny!!! I knew it!). Now I still live a block from a fire house and “my daughter” likes to visit all the time (that is my story and I’m sticking to it).
But really- those that work to protect our lives, they deserve a good hug once in a while. Even if you aren’t as cute and funny as me. 🙂
Have a great crazy day!