Continuing a tradition started by our sister site, We Love DC, our authors are going to be introducing themselves by explaining what it is about Boston that drives their passion about the city. Join us throughout our first weeks as we admit Why We Love Boston.
In the spring of 2010, three years or so after I moved to the region following grad school, I wrote a brief essay on Why I Loved Washington, D.C. Maybe it’s clear to me because I wrote it, or because I’m thinking about it again, but this piece is going to sound fairly similar to that one (I’m not quoting Thoreau again, even though I’m now significantly closer to Walden Pond). I feel like it’s pretty evident: You see, the reason I loved DC was because that it was a safe place to feel like I wasn’t cheating on my Boston roots.
Boston has this way of moving with you wherever you go. You can sarcastically or authentically call it charm, Red Sox Nation or New England colonialism, but the diaspora runs deep in every corner of this country. That’s why, even spending some of my middle and high school years in the Phoenix area, I never truly let go. Sample Evidence? The “Save Fenway Park” bumper sticker that was on my Arizona-plated Ford Explorer from 1999-2002.
Of course, since that time, Fenway has been saved, renovated umpteen times and turned into a place where World Champions have hung out for a little bit. And I’ve grown into an adult who has not only returned to Boston, but went away for five years before coming back again.
The thing is, I don’t think I ever truly left, which is a very Boston thing. You can find a little bit of Boston everywhere you go. And it’s what I love the most about this place we call Beantown.
There’s a story in the post I wrote on Why I Love DC about life and softball, and here’s a great point to showcase how the sentiment is one and the same. Playing under the Washington Monument with a collection of Boston College alums who all ended up in the region is one of those moments where worlds do in fact collide.
It was DC and what I loved about living there, but at the same time, very Boston and very seemingly home. See, as a crew, we weren’t having long-winded debates over the best spots in Adams Morgan – we were still arguing about Pino’s versus Presto’s and which bars on Harvard Ave were our haunts. Some of them had been gone for a decade. It didn’t matter. We connected about the Old Towne in New England we all had called home.
I was one of those Bostonians who liked to let people know, wherever I showed up, that I bled Dirty Water – my license plate from the state of Virginia was 4BSTN, after all. It was decently easy to find ex-pats who also fit that description, we tend to stand out – ok, we volunteer it. But that made being a nomad for the last 20 or so years a little bit easier.
Coming back to Boston for college, and now on my second return trip, I spent plenty of time fighting for this town when I was away from it.
- In upstate New York for grad school, I refused to trade my Mass. plates in to become a New York resident, mainly out of principle.
- I can make fun of the woes of my Boston Red Sox, but curse you if you out of towners give us hell. They’re our burden and I will defend to the death that I cheered against the Yankees in 2001, not for the Diamondbacks, while in Phoenix for that magical Game 7 win. I have gotten in fights with the We Love DC editors about this during this June’s series with the Nationals.
- The same goes with my blind loyalty to the T. Even if I don’t fully believe it, I will spend most of my time on the Washington Metro convincing you that I enjoy the creaky nostalgia of the MBTA over your big trains, carpeted cars and digital “Time Until Next Train” signs. It’s ours to complain about and you can take your fancy “turn of this century not the last one” systems and stick it.
I seek out Boston when I’m not in Boston. It’s manifest destiny. Or manifest a place to call home. Either way, both aren’t bad things to have.