June 20, 2017 (Tuesday)

by Yule Heibel on June 19, 2018

Heavy, wet, low skies in the wake of overnight storms. Cold bathwater instead of warm. Air that’s hard to breathe because it has so much water in it. Some actual clouds are trying to differentiate themselves near the horizon – Zephyr is busy – but overall, all is drably, uniformly weltering in submarine gray. Water, water, everywhere.

Yesterday I tried to understand – “feel” my way into understanding – why I feel so mulish about not pursuing a social life here. I took a walk into town after being holed up in A/C all day (it was so so, so humid) and it had cooled off enough to be quite pleasant. And I felt a kind of generousness of acceptance towards the place, thinking, “Oh, if only it were like this most of the time vs the other way around, I could like it here much more.” With that feeling came another pang, though, around social capital, and it made me aware of how tightly knit the two are for me.

This emotional see-sawing is symptomatic, it seems to me, of one who has unlearned how to build, to create. But then again, I look outside today at this murk, this fugly bathwater weather (not unusual for summer), and I think, “Are you surprised?” Is it not legitimate to dislike a climate, as well as the kind of urban and social structures created by our land use policies, which in turn place the all-ruling automobile in absolute charge of our communities? That is, weather on the one hand, social structure on the other: now clap those hands! Boom.

So when you live in a country where everything that’s authentic is geared around and structured by the car (meetups, getting together, visiting) because often enough public transportation is subpar – and I’m leaving out nostalgic little custom-built throwbacks à la “New Urbanism”: these are fig leaves for the well-to-do – is it not legitimate to feel out of one’s element if driving all the time to absolutely everywhere goes against one’s sense of well-being and lived experience?

Yesterday, the traffic noise on E.-Street was especially bad. Trucks, cars, motorcycles of the loud Harley-Davidson type… It impinged on our conversation when W. and I walked to the station, it intruded through closed windows and seemed to rumble my desk. And I kept thinking, “This is wrong, this just isn’t right,” and wondered if, like Back Bay Inman, I would off myself as he did when the construction of Storrow Drive destroyed his peaceful experience of the Esplanade…

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: