I just got back from a vacation in Boston, a city that has managed to display for me nothing but chamber of commerce weather during the three visits I have paid it. I understand intellectually that Boston Massachusetts is not 78 to 85 degrees with no clouds and a gentle, purifying breeze every day of the year, but that’s the only way that I have experienced it. I’ve seen the pictures of fallout from Nemo, Sandy and the lesser unnamed storms that snow my east coast family members in on a regular basis. There must be some seriously unethical false advertising at play. No desert dweller should be so enamored with a New England shipping town.
My little brother Matt has been living in Boston and crushing it in the most “Schmidty from New Girl” sense imaginable for the last 6 years, encompassing an undergraduate career and his first job at a company that (in order to maintain some integrity I will not name* or endorse) has firmly grounded him and provided a chance to work hard and excel. He just accepted a promotion that’s going to move him out of Beantown, so I had to make it out one more time before his move.
*I also couldn’t begin to tell you what this company does. Something with banks? Hedge fund synergy? E-commerce upwardly integrative solutions? Scary how little I know about this other world.
An awe inspiring density of culture, world class seafood, snooty bars, craft brewery tours and that bonus weather were all fine and dandy, but they took a backseat during this trip. Priority number one was my first visit to that most sacred cathedral located at Yawkey Way and Van Ness Street just south of the Mass Pike.
I use the word cathedral with some gravity here. To know me is to know a skeptical, cynical, God-indifferent killjoy most closely aligned with the gospels of Dawkins and DeGrasse Tyson than anything else. But with a remaining amount of curiosity and a soft spot for baseball… man. I felt awash in glory and light sitting in the upper deck at Fenway. Matt had been there before, but was gracious enough to not try and talk too much or point out too many things. I was having a real moment. I don’t think I fully snapped out of it until Paul Goldschmidt hit a homerun in the fourth. Matt and I jumped out of our seats, and one other DBacks supporter was standing behind us, eagerly awaiting our obliging high five. It was finally a baseball game rather than a pilgrimage.
We were sitting in the upper deck with some of the drunkest chowder heads in the zip code, and we were sporting matching caps for the visiting team, our hometown Diamondbacks. And really, in retrospect, this is the only way to get the full flavor of the place. One of our row mates was a lobster fisherman and blueberry harvester from Maine, because of COURSE he was. What else would he have been? He showed up in about the third inning already well lubricated, and proceeded to totally disregard any personal space bubble rules that are either implicitly or explicitly enumerated by our society. He spilled a beer, in super slow motion, over himself and Matt’s shoes as he started to nod off in the sixth inning. He dropped a mustard covered pretzel on himself without noticing for a few minutes, then cleaning up after himself and consuming the remaining pretzel. He really, honestly wanted to go streaking, bringing it up several times over three half innings. He was only dissuaded when I mentioned how much of a fall from the upper seats we would be dealing with, and that not only would be be spending the night at Mass Gen, we’d probably be handcuffed to the bed.
The Diamondbacks lost, which was probably for the best. Blueberry/Lobster man was able to give us an enthusiastic middle finger and an accompanying “Go to your room, boys!” after a Saltalamacchia home run in the eighth put the game out of reach. But this was accompanied by an honest hug. We heartily sung along to Sweet Caroline. We saw a beauty of a sunset, reminiscent of our home state.
Well, based on the enthusiasm with which he describes the city and the sadness in his voice as he discusses the logistics of moving away, it is probably more accurate to say that Matt considers Boston another home. One with more adventurous weather, fewer poisonous snakes, and one Hell of a baseball stadium. And just so long as I don’t ever see Matt in a Red Sox cap, I can’t help but agree.