Summary: Farmington, CT—————-Hartford, CT—————-Boston.

Sense Memories:
Smell: Fresh cut grass in the Boston Commons
Touch: Blisters on the bottom of my toes. 
Taste: Delicious, sugary, cherry flavored taste of a Screwball, and the faint taste of the wooden spoon.
Sound: The voices of Olympic commentators in the background of every room

 Memorable Moment(s):

-Who was it that was trapped inside the whale?  Was that Jonah?  Pinocchio?  Three days and three nights?  That’s how we felt upon driving into Hartford.  All the buildings were the color of an old brown carpet and, given the sticky 90+ degree heat, there was a smell like chopped fish left out in the sun.

Did you know that Hartford is “The Insurance Capital of the World”?  This explained why everything from paper pamphlets to art exhibits was sponsored by insurance companies.

But it ended up being a positive experience, one of our best so far.  The public library is GORGEOUS, fronted by huge glass windows, clean, full of light, and staffed with some of the friendliest people we’ve met so far.  I made a new friend:

We love you Hartford!  Can’t wait to read your postcards.  We’ll never forget!

**We arrived in Boston at 7pm Friday night, sunburnt on the western side of our faces and feeling morose after enduring traffic on the Mass Turnpike.  Our clothes were completely drenched in sweat…imagine the feeling when you get pushed into a pool with all your clothes on…then get out and every bit of cloth clings heavily to your skin…and you hear faint squish squish squish as you walk.  I wanted nothing more than to crumple in the nearest patch grass, take off my shoes and socks, and air out my blistered feet.

A long pee under the nearest highway overpass can cure just about anything, however.  We strode with renewed energy into the First Friday scene in the swanky SOWA district.

(Note: when I say “we” I’m referring to myself and Phil, the project’s Creative Director.)

You know when your car breaks down and you open the hood and wave away the cloud of steam and stare down at the engine…you pretend to be inspecting it very carefully, thoughtfully…as if you have ANY FRIGGIN CLUE what’s wrong with the complex, interconnect machinery before you?  This is the same way I feel when standing in front of an abstract painting.  I squint my eyes and fold my arms and try to appear very thoughtful – ah yes yes YES! – but really I’m thinking about how other people are perceiving me perceiving the painting.

This is one of the things I’ve become attuned to on the road…all these little social quirks we all know by heart but don’t verbalize…the unwritten rules that divide us from strangers.  They become more obvious when you’re doing a project like this…when you need to find a way to gracefully navigate around those social barriers and connect.

Every room has its own rules.  An art gallery is pretty pretty prohibitive, for instance.  Though you can be pretty sure that the finely scrubbed gentleman in boat shoes next to you appreciates that arts and would probably love the project, you’re constricted by the rules of the space.  For one, it’s a private space…someone has taken the time to create and hang this work…it is a violation to come into this space and “solicit.”  But also there is the right of the viewer to not be distracted from his viewing…you wouldn’t walk into a movie theater during the middle of the movie and try to talk to a stranger, would you?

The amazing thing is that these social rules are so deeply ingrained in us that you can just feel when it’s right or it’s wrong.  Walking from gallery to gallery with a stack of postcards in one hand (and a glass of free wine in the other), I could actually feel the burden of that social barrier upon my shoulders.

Back outside in the courtyard, however, that weight dissipated.  Here I was back in shared public space.  The sun had gone down.  People were sitting on benches and stone walls, just hanging out.  Sure, I still had to explain myself…I had to overcome their instinctive and totally-appropriate skepticism…but at least I felt like I had a fair chance…to be embraced or rejected…and whereas before I had taken that for granted, or maybe even feared it a little…now I was thankful for it.               

One response to “Days 5-6 – Boston”

  1. mindy says:

    Love the duct tape in the photo-fixes everyting.Had to use that to hold the the hood of my car on after having an encounter with a deer on Christmas Eve and needing to drive 300 miles home.My son pointed out that night that “reindeer really do fly”.Continued good wishes for a great trip.:)

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