things i miss about boston

we had our first kansas snow yesterday…well, it snowed a few weeks ago, but it melted in like an hour. this snow has stuck with us because it was about 15 degrees all day today. it looked pretty:

i should probably move my bike to the basement if i don't want it to get all rusty, huh?

but it was a real pain in the ass when it came to walking. i went downtown to run a few errands & pick up some fancy british chocolate (what?), & even in my wonderful, insulated, waterproof, rubber traction sorels, i was slipping & sliding on the ice. it didn’t snow much–maybe two or three inches, but it was so cold that there were big icy petrified footprints everywhere from people tramping down the snow & making slush, which immediately flash-froze.

shit like this makes me reflect on all the stuff i did not properly appreciate about boston during the eight years that i lived there. i think i need to start a list:

1) generally, sidewalks got shoveled pretty quickly & thoroughly. at least in high-traffic, commercial areas (ie, downtown). it almost certainly snows more in boston than it does in kansas, & in boston, you can count on at least a couple of serious snowstorms in any given winter, which dump a good six inches (at least) on to the city, & it accumulates & doesn’t melt until sometime in april. it’s definitely disgusting & horrible in many ways, but at least an effort was made to scrape snow & ice off the sidewalks. the sidewalks were then curtailed by mountains of slushy black discard snow overflowing the gutters, leaving but a narrow pathway, impractical for two-way foot traffic, but STILL. i couldn’t believe the ice patches left all over downtown lawrence. maybe kansans aren’t that litigious? maybe if they get knocked in the head by big pointy icicles & then wipe out on icy patches outside the noodle restaurant, they’re not so quick to sue. plus, it seems like snow & ice here melts before long, because winter is a rollercoaster of absurd temperature differentials. why invest in a bag of salt & a strapping young person to clear your walk when it’ll all melt in two days anyway?

this is the tree that taps on the living room window all day...every day...

2) bob slate stationers. i knew it was awesome to have a locally-owned, well-stocked office supply store. i appreciated the shit out of bob slate. i visited it at least three times a week for the entire eight years i lived in boston, & spent literally thousands of dollars there. but i was not prepared to move to lawrence & find that my preferred brand of pen (extra-fine point black stylists) don’t seem to exist here. there’s a far inferior locally-owned office supply store here, but they only carry blue stylists. a blue pen? what am i, an animal? i am not going to write with a blue pen, i’m sorry. i intend to visit bob slate when jared & i are in boston during the xmas holiday & buy an entire 50-count box of black stylists. & also a 100-count box of white 9.5″ by 7.5″ envelopes. the inferior office supply store in lawrence has envelopes that size, but only the manila ones with the metal tab, which are not recyclable. i am overcome with guilt every time i use one. it’s almost 2010! why are non-recyclable envelopes even still being manufactured?!

3) great places to eat breakfast, lunch, & dinner. i haven’t found one restaurant in lawrence that i can actually say i like. jared & i have gone to milton’s for breakfast a few times, & they’re not bad, but i wish their menu was bigger. what if i want chocolate chip pancakes instead of regular pancakes? not a problem at sorella’s or steve’s, my two favorite breakfast places in boston. sorella’s also has just about any kind of omelette you can possibly imagine, & both places are dirt cheap. for lunch, you can get a chicken ceaser wrap at the blue shirt cafe, or super-cheap indian food at punjabi dhaba, or a burrito as big as your head at picante, or a falafel sandwich at falafel palace, or a plate of rice & beans & whipped garlic at the middle east, or enormous slices of pizza at same old place. excellent coffee is available at JP licks & 1369, so you never have to venture into a starbucks. i never did, for the entire time i lived in boston. for dinner, you have have great indian food in a fancy tablecloth environment at india palace, or partake of the hipster ambiance & cheap burgers at charlie’s, or eat an entire plate of fried clams at cinderella’s (don’t judge me, they are delicious), or snack on a massive plate of nachos or fish & chips at james’s gate with beers. there’s no place in lawrence that holds even one of those pathetic, easily-melted birthday cake candles to boston!

so i have learned how to make my own delicious pizza from scratch!

4) shop at places where you can actually try clothes on. if you’re okay with your entire wardrobe coming from the gap, old navy, target, & hippie incense dens with names like “third planet,” where all the clothes have obnoxious bells sewn to the hems, then you can build a wardrobe of clothes that fit you in lawrence. & certainly i appreciate the variety of thrift goods available at the arizona trading company. but if you want anything especially on-trend &/or unique, you’re going to have to resort to mail order & i really do not like to shop for clothes via mail order. it’s fine for slim folks with mannequin-style proportions, but i really prefer to try shit on. what looks great on the hanger does not always button over my rack, & i’ve had unpleasant experiences with jeans that fit everywhere except in the waist, where they gap & start to fall off. i’m not saying that i love to shop or could even afford a lot of the hip little designer boutiques that speckle boston like so much piegon crap on the roof of jackson square T stop. i’m just saying that i didn’t realize how awesome it was to be able to swing by H&M & try on some sweaters whenever i wanted.

5) the scrumbler. okay, this is not a real thing. jared had this friend in boston who decided that it would be awesome if this hotel in salem offered its patrons a pie that was comprised of one slice from eight different varieties of pie: like, pumpkin, apple, mincemeat, key lime, pecan, chocolate cream, lemon meringue, cherry…he called it “the scrumbler” in a really over-the-top kennedy-style accent. he found the scrumbler concept unspeakably hilarious. i am not going to claim that i ever “got it”. i think he thought making the scrumbler would be incredibly complicated, because he was envisioning a baker actually making a pie that somehow is one slice of all these different pies, so every time someone orders one, the baker is like, “dear god, why? i hate my life!” it seemed obvious to me that you’d just make eight different pies, cut them into slices, & build a scrumbler with one slice of each pie. a pain in the ass, but not that big a deal for a professional chef. also, what hotel patron orders an entire pie with a meal, just for themselves?

but anyway, this is where lawrence was actually kind of cool. the british import store where i bought my fancy candy bar has a french sister store right next door. i stopped in there to see what kinds of french stuff was being sold to kansans. there were lots of floofy soaps & re-useable shopping bags & fanciful gift wrapping & such forth. as i was leaving, i saw this flyer on the door:

can i interest you in...the scruuummmblllleeer?

see? kansas could be a lot worse.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Sadako says:

    Mmmm, chocolate chip pancakes.

    I feel you on the clothes though I kinda want some bells.

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