In Boston, it’s difficult to get anywhere: the green line takes forever; we have some of the world’s most atrocious drivers; our streets are insanely disorganized; parking is pretty difficult, and once you find a spot, you’d better have enough quarters for the one-quarter-for-twelve-minutes-of-parking rate; there are so many one-way streets you start to wonder if it’s a conspiracy; heck, three words: THE BIG DIG. It takes a lot of expletive-yelling, GPS-ing, searching for quarters in couch cushions and between car seats, asking for directions, paying parking tickets, standing pressed against strangers on crowded Ts… to finally get to your destination.
But… we find a way to get through: we celebrate the fact that the T is the oldest subway system in the US; chit-chat with fellow passengers; sip on our Dunkin Donuts coffees; intellectualize the disorganization of the roads by explaining that they were built over cow tracks; laugh and say, “Oh Boston.” In the end, we – doctors, waiters, teachers, finance workers, bartenders, students, nurses, baristas, construction workers – get to where we need to be and once there, we WORK IT.
And once a year, on Patriots Day, the same streets that drive us a little mad become the venue for the Boston Marathon, the happiest event of the year here. The streets shut down to all vehicles so that we can take time out of our busy, hectic lives to come together to celebrate Boston and each other.
Yet despite the utter joy of the occasion, a grave tragedy occurred at this year’s Marathon Monday, resulting in the loss of three lives and hundreds of injuries. The joyous cheering transformed into a crescendo of screams and sirens and noises from helicopters. The people of Boston went from a state of celebration to one of mourning, of pain.
Now lemme tell ya: this is BOSTON, for crying out loud. As someone who has been in Boston for ten years and whose family is from Somerville, I know that Bostonians are some of the most epically no-nonsense, tough, loyal sonofaguns (heck, the lullabies they sing to their toddlers are about Carl Yastrzemski and “trotting to Lynn”). We may not say “poor baby” and there may be some road blocks and road bumps and dead ends and one-way streets along the way, but we won’t stop getting through: picking each other up off the ground, holding onto each other, asking for and giving direction, sipping our Dunkin’ Donuts coffees, chit-chatting with our fellow “passengers,” celebrating our city, finding a way. With grit, personality, perseverance, a sense of give-and-take, and maybe a little humor, we’ll get to where we need to be… as we always do.
And when we get there, we’ll keep on workin’ it… stronger than ever.