I hate you. I’ve always hated you. You’re full of traffic, and cranky New Englanders who don’t say “hello” on the street, and arrogant college kids who got big scholarships. Your public transportation doesn’t stay open all night, and your beer is over priced, and there are no jobs in the colleges and hospitals, even though your two industries are colleges and hospitals.
When I lived in Allston there was no place to park the moving truck. May apartment had mice, my view was a brick wall, and occasionally people threw up on my sidewalk.
When I lived in Brighton there was no place to park my car, the dumpster had rats (big ones) and the laundry in the building was broken more than it worked.
By all accounts, Boston, we have not been friends. I screened your calls. I cheated your systems. Often I got on the T in the back, without paying.
But last Monday I was driving out of town, on my way to my new life in Rochester, NY, and heard a crackly, barely understandable news report break through on the radio. I changed the channel. Nothing. I put it out of my mind. By the time I got to the next rest stop my phone had been ringing. I had 4 text messages, all asking if I was ok. I raced to the television, and scrambled to pull up a news report on my phone. Bombs at the marathon, several people down. From as far away as Chicago and California people reached out to make sure me and all my loved ones were safe. I didn’t know. I scrolled Facebook, adding up friends who were still in the city. As the day went on I kept tally, and thankfully by dinnertime I’d counted everyone. Not everyone could count everyone. At the end of that first day the list of injured was up to 170. Many people’s lives were touched.
As I followed the news this week I felt a swell of pride for Boston. Watching Neil Diamond sing Sweet Caroline at Fenway, hearing that unmistakeable accent as first-hand witnesses gave accounts on TV, and seeing that the Boston University Theatre Department lit up a neighboring building with the iconic Boston “B” and the word “love” gives me hope for this city that I hate. I feel confident that Boston will bounce back, that love will win, that the marathon will go on again, and that justice will be found for those that need it.
Do I still hate Boston? Yes. But will I still stand with Boston now, because she needs me? Absolutely.