Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Day In Boston For a Writer

I recently spent two days in Boston for my daughter's orientation at BU. I took along books to read, my B&N gift card since their college book store is B&N. But I left my computer at home and took only a notepad along to jot any information I might want to remember. Well, when you've already seen five previous children off to college, there's only so much a parent can get out of those parent sessions at orientation.  So I skipped out on a few and ended up sitting at an outside table at a cafe and people watching.  People watching is always a constructive exercise for a writer, especially when you're in a new place.
Boston University

I actually saw someone walking their dog, and they looked alike. I never believed people could look like their pets, but his man and his little terrier really did.  Now Boston University is home to lots of really bright people, and I have to say I saw lots of nerdy attire. Some of it was so stereotypical I'm sure the people dressed that way on purpose. And age had little to do with the clothing thing. Young and old had the look going but they all seemed comfortable in their skin and carried off their wardrobe selections with poise.

Boston has a lot of brick sidewalks and I noticed lots of people trying to walk only in the cemented parts running in patterns through the bricks. I understood completely. Those bricks are really uneven and they do hurt your feet after a while.

Another stylish item that ran a gamut of types was the different bags people carried their laptops, iPads, books, notebooks and folders in.  Vera Bradley made lots of appearances but so did some really cool leather bags and plain old backpacks. I noticed the bag styles because my daughter has been searching for just the right thing.

Ipods, smart phones and other electronics were in nearly every had. I actually saw a young man riding his bike in the bike lane right alongside three lanes of bumper to bumper traffic and using both his hands to text on his phone.  I was horrified and impressed.

The city was clean and exciting but the only wildlife I saw were the sparrows pecking around my feet in search of bread crumbs. I think I prefer my back deck where I see cardinals, blue jays, gold finches and an occasional bluebird as I write. I usually hear or see the female hawk who has nested in our little woodland for the past three years.  And early in the morning or in the evening I often can watch deer grazing beneath the shade treees and maybe a skunk scampering through. Rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks abound though they're only mariginally more welcome than the skunk.

I'm a country girl forever.  What about you? Does the city energize you or do you prefer small town or country life?  


  1. Every year we go to NYC and I love it. Central Park and all the city smells are an inspiration to write. Tel Aviv, London and Paris are three other places I love to write. Each one has a different feel. But all are invigorating.


  2. I love to visit my sister in Belmont-it's a short bus ride into Boston. I enjoyed your traveler's perspecive and observations. Especially the styles...and dogs! :)

    I love to visit cities, but I'm a country or seaside girl at heart.

  3. I'm not sure I know what you mean about dressing like a nerd. :/

    Awesome that you had time to people watch.

  4. Cities can be nice places to visit. Boston is the worse ever to drive in though.
    Nerd attire? Well, Tonja, I guess it's one of those things where you know it when you see it. LOL

  5. I grew up in the country with lots of space around me, and I live in Central London now! Quite a change. I love the space and the peacefulness of the country when I visit home, but the city is so energising.

  6. I was in Boston last weekend. I just went for the day, mainly to visit my favorite bakery in the North End.

    But I too am a country girl. I can visit a city of a couple of days but that's really about all I can take.

  7. People do look like their pets. I was always worried that I looked like my fat tabby Hobbes though.

    Give me the city anytime.

  8. I live in the country and love it, but also love going to large cities. There's definitely a different energy there, though I don't know if it might overwhelm me if I lived there. I'd love to for a few years, at least!
    My niece went to BU and loved it. Hope your daughter does too!

  9. I like the resources that big cities have but hate the pollution; small towns can be peaceful, yet a bit of an economic sinkhole if there isn't a strong agriculture industry (which there isn't anymore around where I live).

  10. We live in a small city and to me it's the best of all worlds. I love the small town feel and the number of activities available. :)