Thursday, September 10, 2009

My City of Ruins

I have split the last 5 years living in Cambridge and Boston. College towns if there ever were. In these five years I have seen The Change that takes place every May (and working at a college certainly helps.) That's when all the students, literally thousands of residents, leave in a matter of days. Suddenly, the trains are empty, the streets are bare, and the bars are filled with adults who are more capable of holding their liquor. It's an amazing thing, really. With the changing of the season come a new era every year. It's like Christmas, and it lasts for three whole months.

And now, as a new school year begins and the days grow colder, all the students return. It's not all that bad, really. As someone who helps register about 700 incoming freshmen every year, it's fun to see their doughy faces as they start this new chapter. It's fun to see the moving vans, and the parents who are dropping off their children and have no idea where they are going, yet they want to be in charge of that situation. There is life to the city again. And I usually wish I had stock in U-Haul.

Then the moving vans gum up traffic, and there is old furniture and garbage in front of every apartment building. And the trains are packed with loud people. Worst of all, the bars are full of kids, buying their cheap beer and vodka and Red Bulls. "Why are they invading my city?" I always ask. I never get an answer.

Maybe I noticed it more this year, or there were just more people moving, or maybe riding my bike around the city made me more observant, but The Change seemed different this year. More moving vans. More old furniture. More clueless parents. Maybe it's because I feel like a veteran now, or maybe this summer just went by too fast before I could appreciate it, but I was not ready for it. And I cursed those vans.

Like I said, I make my living at a university (two of them, actually), so I'm not complaining. In fact, I see it as a changing of the seasons, and often wonder how people who don't live in a place like this deal with the monotony. It's like living in a different city for three months, and for those months, it's a city where every citizen knows where they are going and how to get there (Well, most of the time.) It's like living in San Diego; Sure, they have the best weather in the world, but it literally never changes. It's 70 degrees every day. Does it get boring?

So, despite the vodka and Red Bulls, I love this place. I've lived here and worked here for so long, I wonder if I could do it anywhere else. Sure, I've thought about trying something new once in awhile, but really, this is where I've wanted to be since I was a freshman in college all those years ago. And here I am. Sure, the rent is high, the T is loud and the drivers are obnoxious (myself included), but this is my city, and I've wanted to live here for a long time. I ain't leaving now.

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