Thursday, May 29, 2008

Do Men Ever Visit Boston?*

When trying to figure out which medium-sized New England city would be the best place to move to, one of the deciding factors for Lowell was its proximity to Boston. I still stand by this major factor in the process -- Boston is just way more accessible from here than it is from, say, Worcester, Providence, or New Bedford. Boston offers tons of future possibilities for jobs, grad school (should I go that route), and cultural and sporting events. It's great to know how close it is.

But since I've moved to Lowell, you know how many times I've actually been there?


You know how many more trips there I'm planning?

At the moment, none.

Most of the stuff that I might want to do there I can already do here, only far more conveniently and far less expensively -- bars, restaurants, theater, sporting events, or whatever it is -- chances are, Lowell has it.

I do have a lot of loose-tie type of acquaintances (see the 'Being Lois Weisberg' entry, based off a chapter from the Tipping Point which was based off a New Yorker article) in Boston. All of them are wonderful people who I would love to see if I ran into (and presumably, vice versa). But you know what the chances are that any would come to Lowell? Not high. To a one, they are "totally down" for making plans, as long as those plans involve me traveling to and from their front door and making all other related effort.

That doesn't make them bad people, and I don't even mean it in a negative way. Far from it. I think part of maturing, for me, has been growing up out of a mindset inspired from too many GI Joe and He-Man cartoons during the formative years that divided everyone and everything into good/bad, friends/enemies. I've come to pretty much see all people in far more neutral terms. The more life experience I get, the more sense that makes to me.

But to reference my "Nice Guy Does Not = Tool" entry, I have no interest in maintaining absurdly asymmetrical relationships with anyone. Any interpersonal relationship that I've come to see as totally driven by my effort I've basically just backed off completely. I've found that a few have been resuscitated while some others have just sort of withered away. And that's not anyone's *fault,* or anything worth brooding over. That's actually a story as old as civilization itself.

I'd be happy to see any of those people again if I ran into them randomly. But especially given all the effort I'm putting into (and the returns coming back) on building a sense of community immediately around me, I don't need to exert wasted effort elsewhere.

So the funny thing is, I'm living like 20-something miles from a bunch of people I knew from college, grad school, or wherever, but I'll probably never see them, and I'm not quite sure that I care. The world keeps spinning, and my own trajectory -- right here -- keeps moving forward at a faster pace than I even could have guessed.

But back to Boston for a second. It's still great to know how close the city is. In a couple years, I'm either going to have to look for a full-time civilian job and/or figure out whether I ever want to go back to school. Boston offers tons of opportunities in both those realms.

And plenty of cool day trip possibilities in case Lowell ever starts to feel too small.

* This entry's title provides a handy mnemonic you can use if ever asked, under duress, to provide the royal court in order -- Duke, Marquis, Earl, Viscount, Baron.

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