Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mapping Boston

On a quest to find fabulous 60s dresses, Aimee and I went a'scootering all over town a couple weekends ago.  I had never been on a scooter before, but I was excited for the adventure.  It made me feel so European! 

I have to be honest, the first few moments were terrifying---Am I going to fall off the back?  And then in my head I see myself flying off into the windshield of the car behind us, no matter how illogical I know that would be.  If there was any danger of a second rider getting seriously hurt, we would have taken the T.  So.  Get over it.

Then of course you start worrying that you're suffocating the person in front of you.  And since it's me, I wore a skirt, a distinctly unwise decision regardless of the temperature.  At least I was wearing bike shorts.

What it reminded me of most was the really uncomfortable day I spent up at a cabin in Wisconsin with a former boyfriend's family and friends.  In a move par for the course, I wasn't informed of the possibility of swimming on this trip, so I didn't actually have a bathing suit.  And his younger sister, bless her heart, offered to loan me one of her bikinis.  (the younger sister who was six feet tall and willowy, totally toned from playing years and years of volleyball).  Ha.  Yeah right.  

So I was gamely swimming in the lake in a skirt and shirt, looking utterly ridiculous, I'm sure.  The next challenge was to go on a jetski, and I was plum terrified.  They go fast, they're loud...the sons and daughters of good Minnesota fishermen are taught to loathe these machines and their annoying accompaniments.  But I  was brave and went for it, clutching for dear life the. entire. time.  Seriously.  It was awful.  I felt like I had absolutely no control, I couldn't see ahead of me, I didn't know when we were going to turn --it was terrible.  

We went back to the dock eventually, and I got off looking shaken.  I tried to describe how I didn't really like feeling completely bereft of control, and one of his friends suggested that I just try going at it alone.  I protested, but he won me over.  And he was right, believe it or not.  When you know what's ahead of you---a quiet, glassy, lake, with no one in your way---going seventy miles an hour feels like you're flying.  And I loved it. 

And there's a component of that in being on a scooter, but in some ways it's a bit scarier, since there are other cars and people and lights and pedestrians.  Aimee, however, is a far less reckless driver, which put me at ease almost immediately.  As per the map above, we went from Cambridge and MIT towards Jamaica Plain, threading through Back Bay and Kenmore, hitting the South End and Roxbury.  From there, we went to Allston/Brighton through Brookline (it's own city, odd, eh?).  And then we headed back to Cambridge, a nice little loop.  It's kind of fun---I feel like I'm really learning these neighborhoods.  I almost feel like a local.

Maple lemonade in Jamaica Plain's City Feed and Supply.

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