October 2005

A bedtime story, BostonI’ve been living in Boston for three weeks now. So far, I’ve spent most of my time hanging out in the apartment and in the college district nearby. I’ve been learning how save money and get by on as little as possible (such as stealing food in tupperware boxes at all-you-can-eat student cafeterias), and I’ve finally got into a routine of waking up in the afternoon. We have a mouse in our apartment, a cute little brown one who scurries across the floor at night to eat the leftovers from our plates. It’s been great so far, I feel like a student again. Sometimes I think back to Sophos life and laugh at the people still working there, complaining daily about their jobs while refusing to do anything about it.

I’ve been to a few gigs since I’ve been here. Boston has as many venues as London, but still the music scene doesn’t compare to Oxford’s. I saw Mono recently, and Broken Social Scene last week. Both gigs were good but not amazing, the support bands let down the night. The local supports here are nothing compared to those at the Wheatsheaf. Still there are some good out-of-town bands playing soon. Jackie O Motherfucker and Neptune are playing tonight for a Halloween show, so I might go to that, and Bright Eyes and Bell Orchestre are playing soon. Hella played here the other night but I only found out the following day. Gutted!

My first full day in the States, and I went to Vermont for the weekend, to visit Meghan’s aunt and uncle. It’s about 3 hours drive north from Boston. Their house – no, estate – is incredible. They own over 400 acres of land. When you look out the window across the rolling hills of Appalachia, they own as far as the eye can see. As Meghan put it, ”everything the light touches is theirs.” Their house has six bathrooms, two kitchens, and two or three living rooms. They have $12,000 paintings on the wall. It was a class of wealth I had never seen before. They’re upper-middle-class conservative Christians, who were very kind and generous, yet so different to the people who are usually in my life. On the first night we had dinner (Meghan’s parents were there too), Meghan’s aunt said, “Let’s say grace,” and everyone immediately put their hands together, shut their eyes and bowed their heads while Meghan’s cousin prayed, “Dear Lord, I thank you for putting this food on the table…” I had to bit my lip the whole time to stop myself from bursting out laughing. One half of me was in disbelief at what was happening around me, while the other half found it so funny because the only other time I’ve known people to say grace before dinner was the time Michael went to Plymouth, Indiana, and stayed with a family who said grace before eating a McDonald’s.

An after dinner anecdote, as told by Meghan’s aunt, was how much of a “nightmare” it was for her to decorate bathrooms in the house, because she said it was constant “shop shop shop.” She said, “One day I was at the checkout counter in a DIY store and I suddenly realised why I was so exhausted. So I said to the cashier, ‘You know what? I just realised why I’m so tired: I have nine bathrooms! No wonder I feel like I’m always shopping!’” I didn’t say anything. All I could think was: what was the cashier’s response?

Orchard in VermontThe scenic views in Vermont were beautiful, even though we arrived the weekend before all the leaves turn bright red and orange. All I knew about Vermont before I arrived was from the episode of Friends where Ross & Chandler go to stay in a hotel in Vermont and Ross gets addicted to the maple candy. So of course, I bought a box of this overpriced tourist attraction. It’s good, similar to Cornish fudge but not as creamy.