Yesterday I was unexpectedly possessed by a demon of unreasonableness — a sense of deep and profound tetchiness — a pervasive awareness of the myriad faults and crimes of others — and it snarled and writhed within me like a wild beast.
Unfortunately, I was already on my way to spend the day in Boston with a friend, and she — and the city — were stuck with me.
For hours, it was all I could do to merely curl my lip at the inanity of conversation, at the futility of human interaction, at the dubious nature of city living, with all its attendant filth and noise and crushing multitudes of people.
And then I managed to choke down a decent lunch and return my blood sugar levels to normal and I was somewhat myself again.
I shook off what remained of my malaise, looked around, and found myself strolling through Boston Common with a good friend in the bright sunshine, while various war protesters, soapbox evangelists, and Frisbee enthusiasts cavorted around us.
It was not, in fact, half bad.
After a little conversation, it emerged that we had both been in a funk all morning, but had been too busy shooting laser beams out of our pale, dry eye sockets to notice the other’s mood.
So there we were, two (somewhat misanthropic) country mice from Cape Cod up for a day in Boston. We headed off in search of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where the sheer weight of history, the overwhelming force of one remarkable woman’s personality, and the amazing jumble of stuff soothed us into a more cultured frame of mind.
Until that huge family trolled and lumbered in front of us on the third floor, elbowing their way malevolently in front of my sight lines until I became disoriented again and the urge to kill resurfaced.
Also, the urge to never procreate.
But the museum was delightful, in fact, and I might have to go back very soon to take the audio tour on my own. Perhaps on a Tuesday afternoon, when all the children are in school, and all the self-important grandmothers are at their dialysis appointments.
Afterwards, we made our way out to Brookline for dinner with an old friend from college who I hadn’t actually laid eyes on for over 10 years. She made us very welcome, and filled us with warm, aromatic vegetarian chili, served with the most deliciously salty corn chips and sweet corn bread I have ever tasted. I devoutly hope it will be less than 10 years before I share a meal with this charming soul again.
It started to rain just as we were descending the hill to catch our train back through the city and eventually back to our car in the parking garage south of town. It was raining harder as we drove through the night back to the quieter shores of Cape Cod, the remoteness of which can be such a trial sometimes.
But it was the most reassuring thing to drive my car back from my friend’s house, careful to take the winding back roads through silent villages, past bogs and shuttered ice cream shops and uninhabited summer homes, as the slushy frozen rain pelted my windshield.