Dirty Water

I’ll never forget the moment I became a New Englander. It was October 28, 2004.  I know it was around lunchtime because I was buying a salad when I heard The Standells for the first time:

I'm gonna tell you a story
I'm gonna tell you about my town
I'm gonna tell you a big bad story, baby
Aww, it's all about my town

It was, of course, the day after the Sox had won the World Series. I’m not a baseball fan (actually, I’m not a fan of any sport) but my husband and I couldn’t help but watch the game on the tiny TV in our guest room and cheer on the local team.  I may have shed a tear when the game ended and the neighbors on our sleepy Newton street went outside to celebrate, but at the time I thought it was the pregnancy hormones taking over.

We went outside too, and I took a blurry picture of the blood-red lunar eclipse.

Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles
(Aw, that's what's happenin' baby)
That's where you'll find me
Along with lovers, fuggers, and thieves
(Aw, but they're cool people)

My newfound affection had very little to do with curses being broken.  By then we had been living here a little over two years, but we had spent a lot of that time discussing where in the world we would end up living - for real.  Vienna?  Miami?  London?  Rio?  What city would allow us to live the life we wanted?

Turns out we were already there.

Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home
(Oh, you're the Number One place)
Frustrated women
(I mean they're frustrated)

At first, I thought this town was boring and was frustrated because it wasn’t welcoming.  There's no street grid, so it takes years to learn your way around.  Driving a Honda Civic in 10 inches of snow is not fun.  I was a frustrated woman, indeed.

Until I got AWD and navigation, that is.

Have to be in by twelve o'clock
(Oh, that's a shame)
But I'm wishin' and a-hopin, oh
That just once those doors weren't locked
(I like to save time for my baby to walk around)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)

We had many hungry nights when we first moved here.  I was used to eating dinner after 9 pm, and I never, ever went to a restaurant before 10 pm.  Have you been in Boston after 10:30?  Ghost town!

Eventually, we adjusted our dining schedule.  Now I eat at 6 pm (sometimes 7!) like a real New Englander.

Because I love that dirty water
Oh, oh, Boston
You're my home (oh, yeah)

But you know, this town has a way of growing on you.  We love going for walks on the Charles River Esplanade (always keeping an eye out for thieves).  I love cannolli, and therefore the North End.  I’ve been on a duck tour, and it was corny and all sorts of awesome.

Well, I love that dirty water
(I love it, baby)

Canoeing to the playground in Auburndale park.  The Barking Crab.  Fenway Park.  Nantucket.  Tanglewood.  MassMoCa.

I love that dirty water
(I love Baw-stun)

I don’t have a Boston accent, but my son says “cah” and “beah” instead of “car” and “bear.”


I love that dirty water
(Have you heard about the Strangler)

I love the history and the scenery that has inspired countless artists: Walden Pond, Emily Dickinson, The House of the Seven Gables, Norman Rockwell.

I love that dirty water
(I'm the man, I'm the man)

I will never love the snow, but it makes me appreciate our gorgeous summers even more.

I love that dirty water
I love that dirty water
(Come on, come on)

I even love our simple black and beige colonial with its red door.  It's just a rectangular box with a gable roof, the kind of house a child would draw.  It screams New England.  It's home.