Sunday, June 15, 2008

Acting Out in New England

Last night, the Shangri-Lowell crowd hoofed it up to Major's for the JAMBRA block party thing on Jackson Street. The combination of a live band, DJ, light drizzle, and cups of Stella Artois led to a good time for all.

One of the most interesting points of the night (besides a friend of mine donning the 'Dr. Doolittle' mantle and convincing strangers he could read their pets' thoughts) came at last call.

Right at 1:30, the Major's staff threw the lights on and started moving the crowd away from the back of the bar towards the door.

Just as this was happening, the entire crowd still inside burst into a loud and vigorous "Beat L.A." cheer -- all at once, and without any visible catalyst to prompt it. It wasn't belligerent, it wasn't really directed at anyone in particular, but it was just a collective bellowing of the patrons' shared desire to see the Celtics win Game 5 tonight.

Never one to waste the opportunity for good-natured banter, I jumped right into the cheer -- all the way out the door and back onto Jackson Street.

It reminded me of something I've tried to explain to people when comparing American regions -- the reason I love New England is because this is the one place I've ever been where people aren't afraid to *act out* and get boisterous in public.

If you haven't lived in some of the blander, cookie-cutter, Sun Belt-ish parts of America, you might take this 'public spiritedness' for granted. If you have, I know you appreciate the difference here.

Because I can assure you that (major college towns excepted) a spontaneous, collective outburst like that just wouldn't happen in the strip-mall-and-subdivisions Southeast, or in the mostly antiseptic and culturally void freeway mazes elsewhere.

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