The Art of Eavesdropping on an Awkward Date

I had every intention of doing a “postcards” style post of the favorite reading spots I’ve found in Boston, although that is probably interesting only to me because I read there and my mother because she gave birth to me and is forced to be interested in what I say. So instead, I am going to share with you a story about just how intrusive I can accidentally be.

Recently, on the eve of a rainy day, I made my way up to Harvard Square in order to acquire some rain boots from a nearby shop. As when I make any excursion to a new place, I hopped online beforehand to see if there were any good coffeeshops around there – during my unemployment period, I delighted in playing “America’s Next Top Coffeeshop” and trying out all the ones in my neighborhood, partly because I adore sitting in a cozy cafe reading and partly because it gave me a reason to leave the house. Lo and behold, I found a charming little place called Tealuxe around the corner.

I could go on and on about Tealuxe itself, a wonderful little teashop with a huge selection of teas, tea drawers stacked up to the ceiling, and the most wonderful aromas a tea-lover could ask for. But the real part of my experience was the possibly-a-couple on a possibly-a-date in the corner.

Let it be known that this is a tiny shop and they were speaking very loudly. One cannot help but overhear. To the best I could determine, they were either on a first date going really well or a second date — they clearly felt comfortable with each other and had good rapport, but were still trading pretty basic life information.

Popcorn

At first, their conversation was SO typically Harvard I actually rolled my eyes and thought, “HARVARD. Apparently not just clam bakes and trips to the Cape.” They were talking about, like, social darwinisms and the pros and cons of democratic republics and the current flaws in our governmental system or whatever. Either way, they knew how to sound lofty and important.

And then… it got a little weird. From social darwinism, they started talking about their own personalities (they are both introverts technically but consider themselves ambiverts) and different personality tests one can take to determine where you fall on the introvert-extravert scale. Still interesting but they kept going onnnn and onnnn.

And then, I don’t even know how, they fall into talking about various bodily ailments they have and, I kid you not, the woman said, “Yeah, I highly recommend custom orthopedic shoes, they really help me.”

Sheldon-No

I left before they did so unfortunately I cannot say how the date turned out, but if you feel comfortable enough throwing down the custom orthopedic line that early in a relationship, then more power to you, sister.

And in case anyone is wondering, I later went back and took that test to determine where fall on the introvert/extravert scale. I’m 45% an extravert/55% an introvert, which totally makes sense. Thank you, awkward daters, for introducing it to me.

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Top Things I Have Learned About Boston

Image via pintrest

Image via pintrest

So I recently moved to Boston for the foreseeable future for a real-person life and a real-person job, after living in DC for six years and then spending most of May 2012-June 2013 abroad or living with my parents (gents, form a line). Although I’ve visited the city as a tourist a few times and lived here for a month in the summer of 2012, my time thus far has taught me several important things about the Hub. And because I am selfless, I shall share with you.

  • The Red Sox are literally always playing a game at Fenway as I am on my way home from work. The T line I take from work to my house includes the stop for Fenway, one after where I get on. And it doesn’t matter what time of day I get on the train, from 4pm to 8pm — the Sox are inevitably playing 20 minutes later. Meaning that the train is CRAMMED full of sweaty fans in Sox gear. Why does the baseball season last from essentially April 1 – March 15?
  • I may be smart enough to keep my (negative) opinion of Boston sports teams to myself – mostly – but I shan’t be quiet any longer about Dunkins coffee. Guys, it sucks. Admittedly, I don’t drink coffee coffee, but I tried their latte and it was terrible. The best chain latte I’ve ever had? Panera, actually. Get down wit yo bad self.
  • Pretty much everyone hates the T, but those people have apparently not commuted much in DC. Yes, the lack of transfer points is infuriating (most of the lines intersect in downtown Boston and then extend to Cambridge in the north and then out to Brookline/Allston/Brighton in the west, where I live, but to transfer to another line you have to ride alllllll the way back in to Boston and allllll the way back out). So that’s annoying, but in my experience the train has been pretty prompt and speedy. Try getting down to a DC metro platform and being greeted by, “The next train will arrive in 25 minutes.” THAT is the pits.
  • Boston pride is a thing, and it’s awesome. Besides the pride in the sports teams, which is cult-like, the slogan of “Boston Strong” is everywhere, and I love it. Walk up and down Bolyston (where the bombings occurred) and you will see sign after sign — even “Public Library Strong.” Walk past neighborhood bars, and you see that they have a special collection for X victim going. Even street graffiti professes the Boston pride.  Image

In order to do some Very Important research on this topic, I also watched a couple of Boston-centric movies, aka ones with Ben Affleck. And the top thing I’ve noticed in those movies (besides the accents and, you know, the robbing-of-banks-ness) is the incredible amount of Boston pride. It’s not quite like anything I’ve experienced before. I have plenty of pride for my hometown in Virginia and my adopted hometown of DC, but Boston is such a tough little nut that people will always defend. And while I may have slung some choice curse words towards the Patriots just yesterday (okay, I may already be an un-fan of the Pats, but because of their STUPID pre-season game, JEOPARDY WASN’T ON!!! Unacceptable), I’m still excited to make Boston into my home and to wrap myself up in some Beantown spirit. 

Image via Boston Magazine

Image via Boston Magazine

How to finally nest (ish)

For someone who loves stability, I have been remarkably without a home for the past year+. I’ve thankfully always had a roof over my head and a bed(ish) to sleep in, but since I moved out of my last actual abode in May 2012, I’ve slept in – count em – twenty nine different beds/homes. The largest chunks of my time involved spending July 2012 in Boston (where I got to experience wonderful university housing beds – it was so uncomfortable I honestly had to go buy a foam padding thing from BBB the next day cause I’m a princess), August-December 2012 in London (another time spent in university housing, except I funnily enough had three single beds to call my own. I like to be crazy!), and April-July 2013 in the parental dwelling (where I stubbornly refused to give up my first comfy bed in a year unless it was to a worthy elder).

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to finally – FINALLY! – be able to unpack my bags for the final, foreseeable time, and unwrap my belongings that have been in storage since last May.

Alas and alack, we are not at that point yet. My first two months in Boston are consisting of me living with two very good friends of mine (it’s an awesome Three’s Company/Big Love kind of situation, except not actually) and then a month-long sublet with a rando who I literally agreed to live with because she laughed at my jokes and didn’t seem murdery. The person moving out (from whom I am subletting) has two cats and I was a inch away from saying, “…but can the cats stay?” I HAVE CAT NEEDS, PEOPLE.

How I inserted myself in with my friends/roomies/hosts, the married couple. I think they find me adorable

How I inserted myself in with my friends/roomies/hosts, the married couple. I think they find me adorable

Anyway. Come September 1, I have a home again! Where I actually live, and pay rent! And not sketchy back-alley rent but a rent attached to a lease! (At least, I think so. The property manager just scribbled out the name of my friend, since I’m taking over her lease, and handwrote mine in. I got panicked that the Boston Public Library wouldn’t accept that as a viable proof of residency and did some questionably-legal things to get that library card, but that’s a story for another day).

In the meantime, I have this whole nomadic thing down to a science. The basic rules:

  • When feeding off the teets of a friend’s generosity (yup), be sure to leave secret signs of yourself around the house. If you are staying with a married couple, even better! See above.
  • Never assume a plate is microwave-safe.
  • You haven’t really worn out your welcome until you’re accidentally blown the fuses in your nomadspot
  • There is no sadder thing than to excitedly unpack your backpack into a dresser of your week-long home, only to find that your three shirts don’t exactly need five drawers.
  • I like to believe I can sleep in most places, but I at least need a window. And wifi. And high standards of living. JUST KIDDING I really just need a window. Windowless rooms are the pits.
  • Laundry is for fancymen, and ain’t nobody got time for that. If it is not visibly dirty or have a five-foot-smell radius, it’s fine.
  • When you do have to get your laundry sent out since you don’t have a home and obviously don’t have a laundry machine, assume that something will get stolen/lost, and it will probably be the t-shirt present you got from your mom less than a month ago
  • Bedbugs aren’t that scary, you guys. Man up.
  • Most important one: you never realize how powerful your friendships are until you are in the wandering state of moving. I have relied on the kindness of several friends just to get me up to Boston, including and not limited to: a friend driving me to the airport, her wonderful parents taking my bags in their car since it wouldn’t fit in hers,  friends graciously hosting me immediately upon my arrival, a friend offering to lend me a sofa bed when I realized my August sublet option would only be an air mattress, and another friend sourcing a real bed for me to borrow and, without asking, volunteering to help me move it.

As much as I love traveling, I seriously can’t wait to stretch into a new joint and start nesting, y’all. Mainly because I picked up a blanket from the store that I proclaimed I loved more than my current hostess, and she threw it on the floor in anger. It’s a really good blanket.

(A week later, after she had accidentally had five limoncellos at dinner with her family, she came home and sheepishly told me the blanket was really good.)