Five Places to Scream into the Void around Boston
Because that’s where we are right now.
It’s hard not to feel like life is teetering on the brink right now. Do I need to list the reasons? Considering that you likely found this article after doom-scrolling through your Twitter feed or between political arguments with your relatives and former high school classmates on Facebook, probably not. In fact, chances are you feel some mix of mad and utter despair about something. But we’re not here to rehash all the reasons why—no, we’re here for catharsis. Once you’ve exhausted your telehealth therapy options, sent a series of raging letters to your legislators, and neurotically checked your town’s latest COVID totals, there’s only one thing left to do: Scream. Now, screaming into the void is a time-honored tradition for dealing with the complexities of modern life (I prefer to look to this Revere resident for inspiration rather than the navel gazing of Garden State, but you do you). Still, there’s one simple rule: You must be sensitive to your surroundings. Don’t freak out fellow residents and don’t settle in next to some poor restaurant’s patio. Instead, try one of these locations, selected for their relative ambient volume or privacy.
The Arthur Fiedler Footbridge
While Arthur Fiedler enjoyed slightly more harmonic sound production, this footbridge is a nice place to do some yelling. There is a fair amount of foot traffic that you’ll want to try to avoid, but there’s probably a nice moment up there in between pedestrians. Or wait for a rainy day to match your mood, and then let loose at all the cars driving below on Storrow Drive. Think about all the moving trucks that have Storrowed over the years despite ample warning not to. Yell at those trucks, and all the clogged traffic they caused.
This is a popular beach, so please be sensitive to other beachgoers who are there to fly a kite or swim. Why this one, among all the beaches along the coast? Because of all the planes that fly by overhead on their way to Logan. This provides some nice sound cover, for starters, but also, did you have to cancel a vacation or a visit with friends or family because of COVID-19? I know I did! I was reminded of it when the airline in question texted me repeatedly the night I was supposed to leave to tell me my gate had changed while I sat on the couch in sweatpants for the 80th day in a row. Scream at some airplanes. They can’t hear you anyway, much like the people in the locations you were supposed to visit by plane.
Driving your car down the Ted Williams Tunnel
For a more private screaming experience, should you be so blessed as to own a car, point it towards the Ted Williams Tunnel, pump the volume on a chosen song up to 11, and scream all the way through. I like to use Mitski’s “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars” for this purpose, but your mileage (zing!) may vary. Not going anywhere that will take you to that particular tunnel? That’s the whole point! None of us is going anywhere, ever, except back to our own homes once more. Might as well scream at a section of the completed Big Dig, which bankrupted the T and encouraged people to drive more.
Book a room at Sound Museum in Allston
If you’ve got a little cash to burn, take your screaming to the next level and record the experience while simultaneously ensuring you’re really not bothering anyone. Sound Museum in Brighton offers hourly soundstage rentals (though with a three-hour minimum—get those vocal cords exercised!) for $30 to $40 per hour. Then at the end, you can listen to the sounds of your own existential despair. Even better, bring the electric guitar you haven’t practiced on once during quarantine and just play the Pixies song you learned when you were 16 as loud as humanly possible on repeat. No one can hear you! Unless you also book the sound man for $20 an hour.
Under the tunnel next to Target in Somerville
Now, this is definitely the location on this list that will most accurately match your mood. It’s an extremely grungy underpass that, under ordinary circumstances, people try to hustle right on through, because the whole thing gives off a very “pigeon home” vibe. It is, unfortunately, still the best pedestrian option for getting through that area, so before you begin screaming, ensure no other walkers are nearby. You can just let loose at the cars driving by if you want, but the true connoisseur has the patience to wait for a train to go by on the tracks overhead. When this happens, being on the pedestrian walkway underneath is a terrifying experience, filled with the rattles, roars, and squealing brakes of the train overhead, that generally makes the walker feel as though they’re in mortal peril. Unleash the scream of your life into this moment, and let the train carry it away.