There’s a Lot of That in Boston

First off, a heartfelt apology for the extended hiatus. I was in Japan in June, nannying in August, and in July I was…well, mostly sitting around and watching anime with my husband. In my defense, it was my last opportunity to spend time with him before I moved to Boston. Which I’ve done now. This will be my first post from my apartment near Boston University, where I’m pursuing my master’s in communication.

And what better way to kick off this chapter of my life than with a post about some of the things I’ve seen in my new hometown? Here goes nothing!


Pissed Off Moms
Every mom in Boston is extremely pissed off and isn’t ashamed to show it. Here are three of the conversations I’ve overheard between mothers and their offspring. For maximum effect, read each of them in a thick Boston accent.

“The sun’s bright as shit out here.”

“Toughen up!”

“Are you deaf?”
Then get in the freakin’ car!”

Having recently made my exodus from the heart of helicopter-parent, upper-middle-class yuppie-dom, I find a certain amount of firmness exhilarating. That said, such displays do make me worry–chiefly about the mothers’ blood pressure.


I’ll be straight with you: I don’t know what the hell mesclun is. I do know that it goes in salads. I also know that, no matter how I choose to pronounce it, it comes out sounding like “mescaline.” There is literally no way to say the word “mesclun” in a Northern Midwestern accent without sounding like there’s a Fear and Loathing situation unfolding at the salad bar. And yet everyone at Four Burger seems completely sober? It’s puzzling.

According to some poll, the source of which I jettisoned during an epic bout of source amnesia, Boston drivers are ranked worst in the country. I can’t really blame them, though. The roads here are a maddeningly Byzantine network of old cow paths overlaid with half a dozen freeways and the occasional set of trolley tracks. There are places in Boston where one-way streets abruptly become two-way at busy intersections, which means you halt at the light and are suddenly faced with three lanes of oncoming traffic. If you had to contend with something like that on your way to work, you’d probably drive like an asshole too.

People with Mental Illnesses
What do you think of when you hear the words “Cambridge, Massachusetts?” Harvard? M.I.T.? The guys from Car Talk? Unless you live in Cambridge, you probably wouldn’t say “mentally ill people.” And yet Central Square is awash with them. I don’t know to what we can attribute this unfortunate circumstance–unfortunate because it leads to some dicey situations, but also because these people obviously aren’t receiving the care they need–but it’s hard not to notice. Especially when a very erratic man stumbles up to you and your cousin, shouts “WHAT’S HAPPENING!!,” requests a one-night stand, and then wind-sprints toward the horizon, never to be seen again.

Oh well. We probably got off easy.


A Cemetery Next to a Grocery Store
There’s a cemetery next to a grocery store near my cousin’s place in Somerville. It’s a historic cemetery, too, which is why it looks extra weird nestled up against a Market Basket. I assume Market Basket bought that lot fair and square, without any legal tricks or old-eyed crones screaming at them to “leave this place.” But, man, it’s kind of creepy. I don’t need to be buying toilet paper while the ghost of Augustus Weevil III looms over my shoulder, criticizing my use of one-ply instead of two.

Stop calling me “poop fingers,” Augustus. We all have our own preferences, okay?


Haunted Squash
Because the Market Basket in Somerville sits next to a historic graveyard, many of the products there are haunted, especially the squash. Last time I was there, a two-pound butternut speaking with the voice of my deceased grandmother asked why I’d never finished medical school. The time before that, an acorn squash told me that there was Nazi gold hidden under my neighbor’s azaleas. Three shovels and a restraining order later, I’m still empty-handed.

Thanks a lot, Market Basket.


1 thought on “There’s a Lot of That in Boston

  1. Pingback: Tales from the Charnel House: A Return to King’s Burying Ground | Joanna Lesher

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