I went on a run this morning, and instantly started to wonder if life was really worth it. I’m taking this as a subtle suggestion from my body to maybe try again later.
I had crashed last night on my bandmate’s succulent couch, and I will be doing so again for the next couple of days. Having a home base, even one as small as this, is the most comforting thing ever when you’re couchsurfing. This is a priority, people. You free yourself up the entire day, you have a place to bring leftovers (IMPORTANT), you have a roof over your head for when it gets rainy during the day, and most importantly, you have a shower. Let me say that again. I HAVE A FUCKING SHOWER.
It’s so weird that it’s been four days since college ended, and my opinions on hygiene have reached this point. Who knew that homelessness was a BETTER prompt for cleanliness than a university education with crippling debt?
Quick paragraph about the couch:
Wow. You guys, I thought I knew couches. Even before this dumb idea of an adventurous summer, I considered myself a couch expert. I’ve sat on leather, polyester, beanbag, you name it. Nothing can surprise me anymore. At least that’s what I thought until last night.
You guys know about those things at Brookstone where you drag them on your head? Head scratchers, probably? Well sleeping on this couch gave me that sensation, but ALL OVER MY GODDAMN BODY. This wasn’t just comfort, this was practically porn for my senses (don’t worry, I didn’t have sex on/with the couch, sickos). I’m beyond excited to crash on this beautiful thing for a few days; it’s like I’m sleeping in a quicksand of comfort.
So the other day I thought about making a mandate for myself: that every day, I would have to take the T (our subway, for you non-Bostonians) to the very end of one of the lines. After today, I’m not sure that’ll happen because it takes so amazingly long to journey on those suckers, and one tends to get hungry pretty easily.
But today, I went to Dorcester and Mattapan. And boy, was it something.
Let me tell you about my experience in race relations. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been raised in largely white suburban communities. Nothing totally homogenous; my high school did have a substantial Asian population, surrounding areas had black and Middle Eastern communities and there was a very large Hispanic presence mostly everywhere in the city (for the record, I grew up in San Diego). But for all intents and purposes, I had never experienced living in a community where my race wasn’t noticeably the most populous one on the street. My parents both came from urban communities on the east coast (my dad and his mother apparently ran a bowling alley in a bad part of New Jersey. They were protected by the mob and other gangs because all of their kids hung out there. How’s that for a parenthetical tangent?), and are the most level-headed and wise people I know when it comes to social matters like race. They’ve lived in New Jersey, Charlottesville, Boston, New York, St. Louis, and god knows how much they’re not telling me. Above all, they taught me that it doesn’t matter what color you are, it’s what you do and what you say that really make a difference, and all the stuff that parents are supposed to teach their kids (but in this case is actually one of the most important things to teach kids).
So spending time in Mattapan, a place that I knew going in was a mostly black community, wasn’t going to change my life or anything. I think going to Oakland, California with my dad a few years ago was the first time where I was old enough to realize that there was a difference from seeing the people walking on the street vs. those from home.
But this was special in that it was literally the first time that I’d ever stepped onto a packed subway as the only human with a Caucasian complexion. Nobody cared, of course. Nothing happened, really. But in my head, I was undergoing the coolest (and shortest) identity shock of all time. I am the different one here, I said to myself. And then I turned on some Bon Iver and unwittingly caused the Stereotype Gods to pound their fists in anger and rip off my semi-bearded headshot from their wall.
That’s a lie actually, something cool happened. A kid dropped a pencil, and when he went to get it (near my feet), he stopped, looked up at me and said (I shit you not), “these are some tasty-ass shoes, nigga.” The shoes in question were beat-up red and white Converse that had seen me through many a late-night walk in the strange areas of Boston, so of course they were tasty. I said thanks, and he went back to chatting with his friends. He couldn’t have been more than 12.
Oh yeah, once I got to Mattapan it was raining, and cold. I had some pizza, and walked around a bit. I remembered that there was a library I wanted to check out in Dorcester so I didn’t stay long, but it was really cool being down there.
Dorchester was aight. Cool library, surprisingly large Murakami selection.
I got lost after getting off at Downtown crossing, and made my way back using the time-honored technique honed by thousands of shitfaced BU students: FOLLOW THE PRU, AND IT WILL FOLLOW YOU.
And that was my day. Get some sleep, ya’ll. I got a date with a quicksand couch (not like that, sickos).
WALKING SONG OF THE DAY: “Beth/Rest” –Bon Iver
DAY 4 MEALS: pizza, cereal, strawberry crepe, 2 apples, banana, veggie sandwich, racial understanding, world peace
Marc is white, male, and does things.