Yesterday the little one and I ventured downtown. One might assume I started slow, perhaps a trip down Newbury Street or through the North End. Maybe even Fanueil Hall. But no. For our first trip to the big, bad city, Samara and I went to downtown crossing. Or, as her Auntie K said: "Basically, you took her to Beirut."
We took the subway and within five second of arriving, I was already being forced to accept help from a large man with sleeved tattoos, 45 facial piercings and no hair. He was a lifesaver when I discovered that there was NO elevator at the station (at least none that was actually accessible). I mean, how do disabled people get around this city? It makes me nuts.
After I had ascended the 532 steps from the red line platform, I soon found that there was no escape. Indeed, the handicap exit was blocked by big, orange cones and a fluorescent "Maintenance" sign. I asked someone how to get to an elevator to get to the street level. He explained that I had to cross the green line tracks with my stroller. Safe, eh? But I did. The elevator was blocked. So cross the tracks again I did. For a while we stood, watching people sans strollers exit and enter with ease. Finally a kindly T worker took pity on me and moved the maintenance sign so that Samara and I could actually exit the station. Beirut indeed.
We should have stayed below. Once on the street, the chaos and insanity that is downtown crossing soon enveloped us. All around there was noise, people pushing and shoving. I finally found my friend standing in front of the bagel store. My stroller that seems so practical in the Ville suddenly seemed massive. We were like a hummer in Italy, dodging the people handing out porno fliers, snaking around the roasted nuts vendors. It was not pretty.
Then came lunch...Ever try nursing in the window-filled Finagle a Bagel across from Boston Common? Apparently we had set up shop two feet from the most popular restroom in the city and the official restroom of those who call the Common home. I spent much of my snack and coffee time trying to keep my hooter hider tight around me while men came out of the restroom behind me. I felt like a sideshow in the old Combat Zone.
I was relieved to get on the train back home. It was fun to show Samara a bit of downtown, shake things up a bit for her. I figure she gets bored of staring at my face all day and pooping. Still, as we rounded the corner and I saw our garbage-strewn street where 35 barefoot, shirtless children were kicking a soccer ball at cars and shouting in Portuguese I realized Samara might not have even known we left. I think for a real anthropological journey, I will have to take her to Lexington. Although, let's face it, she may be frightened by the idea that there are actually receptacles for trash and more than two feet between houses. I don't want to overwhelm the kid.