I want to start off by saying that, when I was in my 20s, traversing the mean streets of the city didn’t faze me at all. Not that the streets where I lived werethat mean, but they were certainly meaner than the ones I’m used to now in the suburbs, which are not mean at all -- they’re like the Pat Boone of streets. They’re also empty after 8 o’clock at night, which is not a trait that streets in the "mean" category usually like to cultivate.
But despite my diversion into suburbia (like most suburbanites, it feels like one day I just woke up here, like a sailor who gets something funny in his rum and wakes up in the hold of a ship bound for China), I always felt that if I was dropped back into a city I’d regain my urban instincts, like domesticated animals who are returned to the wild and immediately start eating voles.
Which is why I was so surprised recently when my wife and I took my 5-year-old son on the train to see a show in Boston. When we walked into the T station, I was immediately disoriented -- where was the nice lady who sells the tokens? What were these glowing, high-tech card kiosks? I vaguely remembered hearing something about a new fare card system -- I recall seeing Gov. Romney on TV in a train station, looking like he wished something would flood or blow up -- but I had filed it in the back of my brain with all the other things that don’t affect me, like global warming.
For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.