I’ve been falling in love with Boston since we arrived on Tuesday. Old buildings, museums where I’m getting yelled at for wanting to touch ALL THE STUFF, people, sights, smells, food, and the reasons keep going.
Then yesterday it started to drizzle and the 90 degree weather changed to a North Dakota fall climate in one night. As I walked to a Starbucks (because I’ll be damned trying to find a local coffee shop before 7:oo a.m.) I tried to greet people on the side walk. Most barely even noticed me, but I noticed them. The weather taking a toll on each of them in their own way; the morning itself part of the catalyst to keep your head down and move along.
I also noticed a few people that I would assume are homeless. I don’t know their story – could’ve been a great party the night before. But there was one person, curled up under a small wool blanket, red leather shoes sticking out as it was just not the right size for their fetal position.
My time here has been interesting. Great in so many ways with a healthy dosage of reflection. Personal as well as perceptional. After the past few weeks, and in all this year, this time away from work and home life is rejuvenating. I don’t have responsibility, I don’t have much of a schedule other than attend the conference, and I can eat whatever I want. The last part usually involves pasta or seafood. It’s also been a great time to reconnect with the Wife Unit. We get so busy with our weekly schedules that I sometimes lose sight of one of my greatest customers in the Lemonade Stand – It’s easy to create excuses and alibis when you both work hard and play hard as well. Walking over 10 miles a day allows us to have a conversation, easier when there’s no smart phone stuck in our hands. We’re getting to know each other again and experience something together.
A little less interesting is how much the rest of the world around us is not connecting. I can stop on any busy corner; between the number of faces staring into the depths of a screen while walking and collection of wires hanging out of people’s heads, it becomes a challenge to make eye contact even for a simple head nod or acknowledgement of who’s going to go right. It almost feels as though you have a game of sidewalk chicken – Are you going to turn first or are they? I feel more of a connection with the cement, mortar, and bricks around me than any of the people here.
And I realize how that looks back home in my living room and on my sidewalks…It’s not Boston that is the problem. We are not connecting with each other. This is why it’s so easy to dismiss people hurting around us, how easy it is to simply judge from our internet couches and never worry about real life getting to us.
Yesterday I started putting my phone away when I’m sitting outside and started having conversations. Pilot from France. Fierce Grandpa Steeler’s Fan. Jackson Mississippi. I’ll never see those people again, but for a brief moment I poked my head out from under the Android Rock and it wasn’t scary. And for those moments, I didn’t feel alone.