Saying 'So Long' to Summer

I’ve never had a particular interest in kissing the cobblestone sidewalks of Boston’s South End (or any sidewalk or other form of masonry for that matter), and, yet, this is exactly how I feel during a security check before a flight from Washington, D.C., to Boston last week. It’s the last leg of a journey that originated in Seattle via Salt Lake City, via being stranded on the West Coast for several days by Hurricane Irene. While my fellow Bostonians, along with the rest of the Eastern seaboard, hunkered down, hurricane-partied, and went surfing, I passed time in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by sunny skies, majestic mountains, and lots and lots of Starbucks coffee.

Friends back home kept telling me to enjoy it. The weather was gorgeous. The people are friendly. It was better than sitting around in the dark playing Trivial Pursuit by candlelight.

But I wasn’t so sure. I’m a Boston resident and a native of Cape Cod. And in both of these communities, inclement weather is a point of hearty New England pride. I felt like I was missing out. I recalled Hurricanes Gloria and Bob and the Halloween Nor’easter of 1991, which inspired local author Sebastian Junger’s Perfect Storm and, later, became a film starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

I liked Seattle well enough, but I found a few things unsettling. There’s no humidity, for starters. Once my clean wardrobe ran out, I laundered some clothes by hand and laid them out in the aforementioned sunshine. They were dry within hours. That’s at least two days sooner than what I’m accustomed to in Boston. I could never fold and put things away that fast.

Everyone is also very nice in the Evergreen state, and this is worrisome to me. You may have heard that Boston was recently dubbed one of the rudest cities in America and the least stylish to boot. I’m not sure how one can feel a deep affection for people who are rude and poorly dressed, except if they are the people you love. This is my excuse. (It’s worth noting that I believe my loved ones are kind and infinitely tasteful as I’m sure you do, too. However, deductive reasoning — by the “experts” who collect these statistics — tells us this cannot be true. If we are an unstylish city, some of us must love or be among these unstylish souls). We are an ornery and unfashionable lot in the eyes of people we do not know, who hail from cities whose sports teams we regularly trounce. You can tell this upsets me deeply.

In addition to being nice, Seattleites are over-caffienated. Delightfully so! I never felt bashful about my gripping black tea addiction or lost for conversation with the locals. People love to chat in Seattle. You would, too, if you drank espresso year-round the way Southie drinks Guinness on St. Paddy’s Day.

There was also a Red Sox/Yankees series on the horizon. The Cape was beckoning me for Labor Day weekend. The city would soon be littered by discarded furniture for Moving Day at Boston-area universities. How could I miss this?

I couldn’t. So, I switched airlines. I woke up ridiculously early. I endured a circuitous day of travel when it should have taken me a mere six hours. But Boston awaited. And as the wheels of the airplane kissed down on the tarmac at Logan on Tuesday night, a broad smile crept across this ornery Bostonian’s face.

I wheeled my luggage over the cobblestone South End sidewalks and up to my front door right around the same time the first pitch of the Sox/Yankees game traveled over home plate. I was quick to unpack and, once again, do laundry, but I decided to leave my suitcase out, making it easier to pack for a final summer weekend on the Cape. After all, it was Labor Day weekend, and nothing could keep me away.


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